Maxime D'Arpino is in his second season with KV Oostende. He has grown into an undisputed base player and strongman. We spoke to him about his ambitions, the end of the season and his imminent fatherhood.

Maxime, first of all congratulations. You are going to be a father.

Thank you, my wife and I are waiting impatiently. It is a very special moment for me. It is our first child. Normally due for this summer, so just a little longer.

Sportingly, the match against Cercle Brugge was an important three-point win for KVO. You scored the only goal of the match after a great free kick, how did you get such a good kick technique?

In Lyon, where I received my training, they worked a lot on technique. Since childhood I also regularly watch videos of good free kickers on YouTube. I also train extra on it. That goal was certainly no coincidence.

Yves Vanderhaeghe has been a coach for a few weeks now, how is the collaboration going?

Very positive, it is a huge advantage that the coach speaks French. That ensures that the communication between us runs smoothly. Blessin and Vanderhaeghe do have the same mentality when it comes to the way they play. That ensures that the adjustment was not so big for us. With Yves, we train more with the ball than physically, which is of course what you prefer to do as a soccer player.

Saturday is against Club Brugge, for many supporters the match of the year. what do you expect from the match?

Club Brugge is a strong team that is in a good flow right now. They have won twelve out of twelve in the last games. This ensures that it will be a difficult match, but we are certainly not without a chance. If you look at the fact that we played well in the first half against Anderlecht, why shouldn't we be able to do the same against Club Brugge in a full house? We have a hard time playing and scoring on potential chances. We train hard on that too. Hopefully all the hard work in training will pay off in the next matches. The whole group knows the importance of the match against Club Brugge, and we're all very focused on training. We'll do everything we can to give the fans a good game.

What is the biggest difference between last season and this season?

This season we are playing with a lot of young guys. They need time to adjust. The goal for this season is not to get relegated, and that's looking good. Those young guys have now had a whole season to play at the highest level, so they have had time to adapt to the level. This is only positive with a view to next season. I'm also very happy with the playing time I got this season.

What do you do in addition to soccer?

I am here in Belgium together with my wife. We go hiking a lot and we also like to visit a Belgian city once in a while. And now of course we are mainly busy buying baby stuff. I also like to watch soccer. For example, tonight Porto plays against Lyon. That is a match I certainly do not want to miss. I played my whole youth at Lyon. That's why I follow those matches extra.

If you could choose any league, which is your favorite?

All the big leagues have something special. If I still had to choose a league, it would be Spain or Italy. It's a dream to play there one day. Of course, the French league appeals to me a lot because I am French. But I wouldn't say no to the Premier League either (laughs).

You know Belgium a bit by now, do you have a favorite Belgian dish?

I love shrimp croquettes. I could eat that every day. When we went to shoot a valentine video at Ixina Kitchens with some of the players on the team, I got lucky. We got shrimp croquettes from Brassi restaurant at the Casino. They were very tasty.

How do you look forward to next season?

I am still under contract with KV Oostende until 2024. After the season we will sit together and see what the options are. I'm now focusing on the matches that are still to come. Starting Saturday against Club Brugge.