Whether Les Bleus captain Hugo Lloris announced his retirement now or after the upcoming UEFA European Championship it was no secret that his time with the French national team was coming to an end. In an interview with L’Équipe, he spoke about how he came to the decision to end his international career.
The Nice-born goalkeeper spoke about his retirement stating, “It’s not easy to announce that, but after fourteen years defending this jersey, which I wore with great pleasure, with pride, duty, and a sense of responsibility, I believe I have reached the end. I decided to end my international career, with the feeling of having given everything. I think it’s important to announce it now, two and a half months before the start of qualifying for the Euro, out of respect for the coach and the players, to let them start off the right way.”
Now the most capped player in Les Bleus history it is no easy task to come to such a difficult decision. One that does not happen overnight. Lloris spoke about when the idea of ending his run with France began explaining, “I have a real reflection on the subject since the end of the World Cup. But there was something deep inside me, for a few months, which grew stronger throughout the competition, and which led me to make this choice. What has really pushed me in recent months has been the World Cup, the selection record, because when you have the opportunity to break such a record, you have to seize this chance, and, above all, the idea of defending our title of world champion. What will have kept me going, too, is the idea of living one last adventure, with my teammates, with the coach, with the staff, pushing our limits. A World Cup, mentally, you prepare so long before.”
Yet, the goalkeeper’s performance in the World Cup was as it has always been, strong. With the Euros only a short time away he spoke about why he decided not to wait until after the competition, “No. Whether it’s in eighteen months, or a little less, or a little more, I think I’ve reached the end. And it’s time for the France team to continue its evolution through a new generation. The team is ready to continue without me, it’s important, and the renewal is a natural evolution. I was lucky with my generation to have marked the history of French football and that cannot be taken away from me.”
In the end, the decision was made with his family, “I started talking about it after the final, after the holidays. In the final, I had almost everyone around me, except my sister, but my brother was there (Gautier, defender of Le Havre), and after the match, already, I said to him: ‘I think that I played my last game.’ It might have been on the spur of the moment, but that’s how I felt. I spoke about it with my father, with my wife, but this decision is mine. I know that for them it’s hard, too, because they are my first supporters, but I think they understand perfectly, and they understand it is not forever (smiles).
Even his choice to step down from the national team was that of a captain. With that decision, he goes down as one of the greatest French goalkeepers of all time and a World Cup champion. When speaking about his efforts with Les Bleus he possibly summed up the timing of his retirement best, “I have the feeling of having given everything, of having still taken my part in the adventure, but I don’t want to wait for the moment when I will start to do a little less. I prefer to go out still on top, after having helped the French team to reach the World Cup final.”
GFFN | Tony DesRois