A family man from the cages

Half-time in Salzburg with Dijon Kameri

Dijon Kameri grew up virtually in the shadow of the Red Bull Arena with a ball at his feet. He appeared destined to start for us in many ways, especially given the family background of the Taxham trickster.

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How quickly Olivier Giroud, Rafael Leao and Sandro Tonali replaced the faces of the Austrian second tier. While Dijon Kameri was playing against First Vienna FC in the ADMIRAL second league in August, weeks later he was playing for our Red Bulls in the Champions League. The exceptional talent started our opening 1-1 group stage draw against the Rossoneri, who later made the semi-finals. Kameri put in a great display of his talent.

I was definitely surprised, as I was very young and had only made a few appearances for FC Red Bull Salzburg. The coach told us the line-up the day before the match. It was an incredible feeling and really awesome to be able to start in the Champions League. Just to be out there myself and hear the anthem was something quite incredible for me!

The second-youngest Austrian (after David Alaba) to start in the Champions League is full of positivity on the past season.

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It was a very good season for me personally. I played a lot of matches in the cup and in the league - and there were so many incredible moments for me, which makes me very proud. As for making my Champions League debut - that's the greatest stage in club football.

The only dampeners on an otherwise impressive first season in the ADMIRAL Bundesliga have been his two injuries. Dijon's experienced shoulder problems, and then a knee complaint, which kept him out for months. The 19-year-old said: "What I was missing the most was the ball." That is no surprise, when you consider his life to date.

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I got a football as a present on my third birthday. My mother told me that I always had a ball at my feet. It was a really nice childhood, and I had so much fun. The little Dijon loved football - it was my life.

Scouts noticed his talent at a kindergarten tournament, and he has played for our side since the U7 age level. He has played for the Red Bull Football Academy from the U11s. The midfield magician remembers his beginnings there well. 

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It was incredible to first go to the academy. Everything was so huge, new and modern. It was amazing. You have everything you need to make it here.

While the Austrian U21 international is talking, one old acquaintance after another crosses his path to greet him.

At home in a cage

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Taxham is the Salzburg suburb that has been the focal point of his footballing life. He spent huge chunks of his free time as a youngster in the football cage on the Red Bull Arena grounds.

I would wake up at 8:00, have breakfast and cycle there straight away. I would play with my friends there until around 19:00 –that was an incredible time.

Football is not the be all and end all for Dijon, as he is a family man first and foremost.

I spend loads of time with my family. My parents are the most important people in the world for me, and my two siblings also. I have so much to thank them for! They supported me so much, were at every tournament and training session and always drove me to training. I would like to give something back to them now.

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After a training camp for Austria U21 this week, Kameri is to spend two weeks visiting his grandmother and other relatives in Kosovo - his usual summer spot. When he is around Salzburg, he spends a lot of time with friends, getting on particularly well with Sammy Baidoo and Amankwah Forson.

With my friends sometimes I'm the funny one, cracking all the jokes and everything. I'm a family person too. There's not much else about me, but yeah, I love football.

That sums him up well. As we thank Dijon for his time he tells us he is off to eat an ice cream with his mother. A humble family-orientated lad with a glittering future in the game.