Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, known best as ‘Auba’, is one of the happiest characters in the game and a fan-favourite whenever he enters the pitch. This winter’s cover star is a long-standing client and friend of SWM and perhaps one of the most iconic footballers of the 21st century. As 2019 draws to a close, we spent the day at the Sanderson Hotel in London to learn more about the man behind the spotlight.
Auba on: Football, Fashion, Lifestyle.
Congratulations on being handed the captaincy at Arsenal. How does it feel to lead your club and country on the pitch?
I’m really proud to be the captain of both as I feel like people have trust in me. It’s a big responsibility, but it’s also a real pleasure.
You are considered one of the best forwards in the world, known for your pace, finishing, and off-ball movement, but we want to find out more about you as a person. Tell us what you like to do away from football.
Easy… I love driving cars; everybody knows that, but I also like to listen to music loud and chill. I enjoy shopping and playing on the PlayStation too but above all, my family. It’s good to know they are always there for me. I always feel their presence with me, and that’s no better feeling in the world. I would also say I’m the guy who, when someone has a problem at home with their computers, phones or tablets, I have to repair it [laughs], and I’m really good at it.
Tell us about your upbringing; your father was a professional footballer too?
My father was my first role model, he made me want to play football.
I always used to go to his games with my mum, and I loved it.
Who was your footballing idol when growing up?
My Idol was Ronaldo R9. For me, he changed the game with his skills and pace; he was so good! I had the chance to train with him at AC Milan, and that was an amazing experience; I didn’t know what to say. I was starstruck.
You always seem to be laughing and having fun both on and off the pitch…
I’m very grateful for the life I have. I do what I had always dreamt about as a child, so I make sure that I enjoy every day. I’m just not happy when I lose; even if it’s not football, I admit that I am a bad loser. I’m certainly not laughing at all when my alarm is ringing first thing in the morning. Those are the two things which I hate in my life… [laughs]
You are one of only a handful of players in the world who has developed yourself as a brand off the field. Why do you feel this is important?
I think that’s so important because it can open doors to opportunities to do a lot of things outside of football. Whether it’s a business, for example, no one will do things exactly the way you would want them, so who else is better to do it than yourself?
Tell us more about the special relationship you have with your brother and father.
The relationship I have with my brother and father is really special. My father was hard on us because he wanted us to succeed. I mean, he was hard with his words; he didn’t like to speak a lot when we were younger, but when he did, it was always to look out for us as he wanted the best for all of us.
When I was thirteen, I started to leave home with my brothers in Milan, and I was so happy as we grew up together, working hard. I think my two older brothers, Cati and Willy, were more talented than me, but I was the guy who had two amazing role models in front of me. I also had a third, my father, so I was able to take great advice and integrity from all of them.
When I first started to play football, my father was different, but in a good way. He was always really positive and started to talk more with me about life and everything. We started to be like real friends, and he always said that union is what is powerful, so that’s why my brothers and I are like this. No matter who succeeds in the family, we always push him to the top; that is our education.
Tell us more about your love for fashion and your favourite brands.
My favourite brands are Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Gucci, Dior, Givenchy, Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana and Louboutin.
You seem to get a lot of custom-made clothing and sneakers. Tell us about some of your favourite custom pieces.
My favourite sneakers are the Louboutins. I have a lot of pairs, and I’m currently doing a custom design on a pair with the same colour as my car: holographic. I also have a few jackets that I customised. My last one was a leather jacket with half of my face and half of the Black Panther mask hand-painted on the back; it was so sick. I love to be different.
We know you love your cars. What cars do you own, and which are your favourite?
Lamborghini Urus, Aventador, Huracan, La Ferrari. But my favourite is the Aventador with the Lambo doors.
How has the power of Instagram impacted your career and media profile?
It’s impacted my career a lot as it allowed me to express myself. I can share what people don’t or can’t see every day when we are at the training ground, for example. I think that’s important for the fans as I think they like to see how life is for a football player off the pitch. It’s quite funny as people can interact with you, so it’s cool, even if sometimes you have negative people, that’s life.
Some players chose to be private about their lifestyle on social media, whereas you chose to be very open about what you are up to and how you spend your money.
Everybody can do whatever they want.
I do it for people that like it, especially my fans. I do it for myself, too, as I want to inspire young people to show them that if you like the life I represent, just follow your dreams, work hard and try and you will succeed. About my money, I know that a lot of people think that I waste my money buying cars, but for me, cars are just bonuses. I have some businesses, and I spend my money buying properties as well as a lot of projects for the future. That is more private, and I keep those things to myself. I like to say don’t show and speak too much before you have reached what you wanted to achieve, and your success will make noise for you.
What is the best private jet you have flown on?
G650 when I won the African best player in 2015. That was amazing. His excellency, the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, sent me his private jet… It was pretty sick.
Tell us about your wife, Alysha Behague. You have been together for a long time now, and she has supported you whilst you have played in Germany, Italy and France before arriving here in the Premier League.
It’s going to be ten years since we have been together next March. She’s always supporting me even though I know that it’s not always easy, and I’m so grateful for her. I think she made me better. She has always been frank with me, keeps my feet on the ground, and above all, she gave me two unbelievable children.
What are your plans for life after football?
I will drink some Caipirinhas in the sun…
"I love to watch your Instagram stories about houses. Seriously you guys are good at what you are doing; you are quick and effective. Oh yes… I forgot I have another car that I would like to buy thanks to your services. But this one doesn’t need to be mentioned in the interview [laughs]."