Captain for more than ten years and 2018 world champion with the Blues, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is a big name in French and international football. At 35 and 137 selections with the France team, he is getting closer and closer to the record, held by Lilian Thuram (142). He answers questions from journalist and editorialist for Europe 1 Jacques Vendroux, as well as Cyrille de la Morinerie. An interview broadcast this Saturday, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Europe 1 Sport with Lionel Rosso.
Combining confidences and revelations, Hugo Lloris confides for nearly half an hour on the highlights of his career, on the news of international football and his club Tottenham. The former Lyon goalkeeper speaks in particular about Antonio Conte, whom some see taking over the PSG bench in the event of the departure of Mauricio Pochettino or even about his place in the hierarchy of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of football.
The Cedac de Cimiez: “My first dives”
“It’s my first amateur license. It’s in one of the northern districts of Nice and that’s where I started to do my first dives, a stone’s throw from the Ray stadium. The training ground was just next door. At the time, it was Régis Bruneton (professional footballer of the 60s) the main educator, former player. It brings back very good memories.
Why be a goalkeeper? “Want to go in the feet of friends”
“So, for the record, I started with tennis. And it was in the tennis club that I started to take my first dives. Don’t ask me why, I wanted to go in the goal and to go in the feet of the friends, to go to counter the balls with the head forward. And the boss of the restaurant, who was also a former amateur goalkeeper, immediately said to me ‘you , you have to go and play football’ and that’s how it happened.”
The origin of his arrival in Nice: “Baratelli pushed for me to come”
“In the summer, there were football camps at OGC Nice and my grandparents lived a hundred meters from the OGC Nice training center. My grandmother still lives there. My grandfather m brought him to do this camp. It was small matches organized by the club and there was also a specific session for goalkeepers with Dominique Baratelli (former goalkeeper for the France team, editor’s note). Suddenly, the following year, he pushed for me to come and I came the year after.”
Lloris and his tennis debut: “My very first steps, I had a racket in my hand”
“I started with the little yellow ball. But from there to imagine myself having a career, I was very far from it, but a choice had to be made at the age of ten. The constraints of training, in particular football where I was asked to practice four to five times a week, plus games on the weekends, so it made things complicated after school. And I chose this path. But tennis is is something that is still with me. And I grew up watching my father play. My grandmother also played tennis for a very long time. And then me, when I started to walk, my very first steps, I I had a tennis racket in my hand. My main idol is Pete Sampras. He’s the only athlete I’ve had one posted in my room and I was a huge fan. A profile of very particular game, very specific, an attacking player with his legendary volley serve. I try to do it once a year when I’m on vacation, to watch a little the condition, I hit the ball a bit.”
His story with Tottenham: “It’s always a pleasure”
“The club has a fairly rich history, even if it is a little less known in France than other clubs. But it has a fairly important history. I’ve been there for 10 years and it’s still a pleasure. We make choices in a career and we always ask ourselves the right questions. But when I had this opportunity, after four years spent in Lyon (from 2008 to 2012), I wanted to go out a little comfort, to challenge myself and to face new challenges. That’s what I found in the Premier League.”
His season with Tottenham: “We are taking a step”
“Yes, I extended my contract a month and a half ago now, in continuity. Things were done quite quickly with the leaders, with a lot of respect and consideration. Now it’s been two years and demi that there are a few ups and downs, a little irregularity in terms of results. But since the arrival of Antonio Conte, we feel a real progression. We feel a real direction and even if we have experienced some difficulties in February, we have the feeling that we are reaching a new level as a team and I think we will be ready for the final sprint, to seek European places.”
On Antonio Conte, announced at PSG: The greatest coaches are associated with PSG
“I believe that all the greatest coaches are associated with PSG since they are looking for the elite and they are looking for a victory in the Champions League. And for that they try to trust the best . So we know the football industry. All these rumours, all these speculations. We are in our bubble and we are doing the maximum for our club.”
His relationship with his coaches: “A lot of things to learn from them”
“I learned from everyone. I built myself as a player, but also as a man, through his men and his coaches. I believe that Frédéric Antonetti (his coach at OGC Nice) was a quite different relationship because I was very young and there was this kind of respect. There was also this paternal side because he always, wherever he went, trusted young players. He threw some enormously. Perhaps he is not recognized enough. He is a very high quality coach. Then, I had my time in Lyon with Claude Puel, whom I met several times on the English pitches. I also have experience with Rémi Garde during my fourth year with Lyon, I had important ties with him since he was the one who picked me up in Nice at the time, in the OGC offices. Nice. My first visits to the city of Lyon were made with Rémi Garde. So there is this equally important link. At Tottenham, I had the André Villas-Boas experience. Next, a very short experience with Tim Sherwood. And above all, there was this experience with Mauricio Pochettino. For me, it goes beyond the framework of football, there is a relationship of friendship that has been created. Even if we were able to make sense of things, I learned a lot by his side. There have also been José Mourinho and Antonio Conte now. There are many things to learn from them. And then there are also the coaches. Raymond Domenech, Laurent Blanc and especially Didier Deschamps, with whom we have shared our responsibilities with the France team for many years.”
The selection record for the France team: “Never been an obsession”
“Records are made to be broken, but it’s never been an obsession. I’m more demanding and focused on the game, on the competition and that’s what has guided me on a daily basis for many years. But another times, we get closer, with always so much pride, with so many honors. But the priority and the very specific objective is this World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year.
The role of goalkeeper: “The main thing is to be effective as a goalkeeper”
“I think it’s the evolution of the game that leads the goalkeeper to be more complete than in the past. We had to work. The demand for a goalkeeper was different 15 years ago, when I only started today. But by dint of hard work, adapting to the demands of our coaches, things are going well. And even if we are never safe from a mistake because that’s part of the life of a goalkeeper, we must also not forget that the main thing is to be effective as a goalkeeper. foot, being the first receiver and having this responsibility to break the first pressing lines of the opponent with the pass. Fabien (Barthez), already in his time, had this little different thing. He was very comfortable on foot. He played very high. We saw him intervene a lot outside his penalty area, with his foot, with his head sometimes. I learned a lot in the r looking to play younger. And he is a legend of the post in France and a great reference also with Joël Bats. I have a lot of admiration for him.”
On his role as captain: “We are here to liven up the locker room”
“It’s been a few years now. Again, it has never been a very specific objective. The armband, we are entrusted with it. When we have this responsibility, we try to do everything possible to respond favorably to expectations. coaches and selectors. Afterwards, I have always liked natural relationships with a lot of passion too. Because football is above all a sport that requires a lot of passion but also natural and simple exchanges with teammates. Competition guides all of this. There is a defined framework and then the responsibility. Of course, it does not only depend on one man. There is the captain but there are also four, five players who are part of the framework. We are there to animate this locker room, to convey the right values and strong messages. And then, we also have this responsibility of leaders in the field by responding present through performance. So, there is this presence in the vesti area, in group life but once again, the most important thing is the green rectangle and the performance.”
Hugo Lloris, one of the greatest goalkeepers in history? “It’s important to mark your passage”
“We don’t think about these things. We all live through our generations. I try to give the best of myself first and foremost for myself, to make my loved ones, my family, my friends proud and then, for my teams, for my teammates. After all, it’s literature. I have no claims. I’m here to take as much pleasure as possible, to give it and to perform. I still believe that it’s important to mark one’s passage, to be recognized. To make a hierarchy, to make a list, it is not my role. On the other hand, like like any sportsman, when one embarks on a professional career, one wants to mark the shot and I am very proud to have been able to do it with the jersey of the Blues.