Amel Majri, the defender of French football who never stops climbing

Amel Majri, August 12, 2016, during the quarter-finals of the Rio Olympics.
Amel Majri, August 12, 2016, during the quarter-finals of the Rio Olympics. Nelson Antoine / AP

On December 7, 2018, the Guardian publishes the ranking of the 100 best female football players on the planet, an honor reserved for these gentlemen before. Cocorico! Three French women appear in the top ten places (Eugénie Le Sommer is 5e, Amandine Henry, 6e, and Wendie Renard, 8e).

Amel Majri, she points to the 22e instead, perhaps better for the new end-of-year delivery. "She continued to be regular and influential with both Lyon and the national team. If France wants to win its World Cup in 2019, it could be more important than anyonewrites the British daily about the Olympique Lyonnais player with 42 caps.

At just 25, Amel Majri won last season a fourth Champions League, an eighth national title and finished 13e of the first Golden Ball, won by teammate Ada Hegerberg. Accustomed to the high level, she will have the opportunity to rub the absolute reference with the reception of the United States, triple world champions, in a friendly match this Saturday, January 19 at the Océane Stadium in Le Havre.

Before the World Cup (June 7 to July 7), this poster is a new opportunity for Majri to show the wide range of his qualities on a field. Defend, attack, pass, dribble or score, this left knows how to do everything. His versatility is a joy for his coaches, who do not hesitate to use it. Still in his left lane, Majri can also evolve in defense as offensive midfielder.

During the 2015-2016 season, she was even voted best player of the championship of France by evolving in a rearguard to five. A performance impossible to imagine in his classmates in Ligue 1, Christophe Jallet, Juan Bernat or Jordan Amavi can testify ...

"Even babysitter, I'll be ready ..."

This season, Amel Majri is thrilling the championship counters with 13 goals in 17 games in all competitions. His best total (11 goals in 2014-2015) is already exceeded. The explanation is simple: "I found my favorite post. The club was waiting for me to be decisive. I had to score and score to justify my more offensive position ", explains the player positioned in midfield with OL.

This preference, already claimed publicly, Majri puts it aside when she puts on the blue jersey. The coach, Corinne Deacon, uses it most often in a defense to four. "Even in this system, I can still go up. Then, it's the France team, I want to play. Even babysitter, I'll be ready ... ", she defused in October 2018 before a match against Cameroon.

"Amel does not play the position she wants in number 1 but the coach gives him a lot of freedom offensively", extends his teammate Sarah Bouhaddi, guardian of the Blue. No matter where, Amel Majri has become a must in selection since its debut in 2016.

It is the coach of OL, Patrice Lair, who has campaigned for this young talent born in Tunisia does not slip through the fingers of French football. "I warned Philippe Bergeroo as early as 2013 that he could call a nugget that would quickly become a member of his team. " The risk existed since she had worn twice the under-20 Tunisian jersey.

Minguettes child

Born in Monastir, Amel Majri was 1 year old when her family moved to Les Minguettes, a famous district located in Vénissieux, in the southern suburbs of Lyon, popularized in the 1980s by another son of immigrants, Luis Fernandez, the child of Tarifa, Spain. But for Amel, love at first sight with football takes place at the "bled", the scene of summer family holidays.

"It's my uncle who brought me a balloon. I was 4 years old. I did not want to stop typing anymore and it continued on my way back she tells World. I was just playing, playing and still playing with the pals. " In an interview in 2017 at Paris Matchshe said: "I was a real tomboy! You should not be afraid of blows. "

In the company of her twin sister Rachida, she skims the city stages before taking a license at AS Minguettes at 12, where she puts the crampons against the boys for two years before being recruited by the women's section of the OL.

"I did not go through Clairefontaine [Centre national de formation et d’entraînement] like so many others. I have a path a little atypical, marked by a strong anchorage. I stayed at my parents' house until I was 20 "adds the one who passed her baccalaureate in 2015 on the fourth attempt.

Umtiti's advice

In France team, everything is much faster. That same year, she played in the World Cup, including a quarterfinal match against Germany, completed by a cruel elimination on penalties.

In 2017, Majri is already installed as a member of Olivier Echouafni's team, but misses the Euro. Blame it on "A little stupidity", according to the coach of the time, to talk about a very preventable ankle injury during the vacation of the player.

But, as for his baccalaureate, Amel Majri does not stop at the first failure. The curse of the quarter-finals (four successive eliminations at this stage for the Blue ones)? She does not even want to hear about it.

"We say that it is repeated but it is by saying that we may not be able to move on to something elseshe asserts. All of this is behind us. Some have retired. It's up to us to take up the torch and try to win a title. "

And to imitate the boys one year after their world title, the Lyonnaise has retained the advice of his friend and world champion Samuel Umtiti (former OL House): "Sam told me that to go far in such a competition, the group was paramount. Moreover, in their videos, we felt a positive atmosphere that was perfectly on the ground. "

If the group wins, the big victories are also based on individualities. "Amel Majri is happy and fulfilled. We will have to count with her. Amel is the future », Judge Sarah Bouhaddi. And the future is now.

Anthony Hernandez

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