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Hugo Lloris signs $350,000 contract with Los Angeles club after Tottenham departure

After 12 years at Tottenham Hotspur, most of it as captain, Hugo Lloris has agreed a one-year contract with the Los Angeles club worth $350,000 (£277,000), after months of being rejected by Saudi Arabia and Europe.

Under these terms, he will receive less money than 23 guards in the American League earned last season. At Tottenham, he was getting his now-annual Major League Soccer salary in less than 3 weeks. However, a change of scenery and the opportunity for a new challenge made this a straightforward decision.

The 37-year-old told The Athletic: “I have now reached a stage in my career where I feel free to determine my project and my next destination, and I liked everything about the American Football League.” “They had a budget for the goalkeeping position, and they couldn’t go over it because the rules were different, so there wasn’t even a question about salary. This shows how much I want to join!” He added: “I no longer have a national team because I retired a year ago, so this was an opportunity to discover a new continent with my family. “California is a wonderful place.”

“I received a very warm welcome from everyone at the club,” says Lloris. “I can feel that relationships are very natural and simple, and everything is easy – I appreciate this environment. It is very easy to talk to the players and share what is happening on and off the field. Step by step, I find my place.

For much of the past decade, Lloris’ status as the No. 1 goalkeeper has been cemented. He left the north London club with the record number of Premier League appearances with 361, and played 20 World Cup matches for France, more than anyone else. In 2018, he fulfilled every footballer’s greatest ambition and won the World Cup as captain. Following the defeat in the 2022 World Cup final against Argentina, he retired from international football after a 14-year career during which he played 145 international matches.

He was appointed permanent captain in August 2012 by Didier Deschamps, and wore the armband until his final match more than 10 years later. At Tottenham, his exit from the starting lineup was less celebratory. Lloris was replaced at half-time after conceding five goals during a 6-1 defeat away to Newcastle United last April, and he was not seen again in a Tottenham shirt.

As the club entered a new era under coach Ange Postecoglou, they signed Guglielmo Vicario from Empoli last summer as a replacement for Lloris. At the same time, the Frenchman announced his desire to find a new club, describing it as “the end of an era” with “the desire to find other things.” Meanwhile, Lloris trained daily alongside first-team goalkeepers Vicario, Fraser Forster, Brandon Austin and Alfie Whiteman without any opportunity to play.

Taking a back seat role was not easy. However, it has provided the opportunity to develop in different areas. “Let’s be honest, it’s been a difficult period over the last six months,” Lloris said. “When you are a professional footballer, you wake up in the morning, set goals and objectives. For the past six months, I have been training every day without a proper goal, and I missed competing so much. At the same time, I was trying to deal with it positively. I spent more time with my family, and organized my life for the future, and I did not want to waste time because I suffered two injuries in the first half of 2023, so I trained well.” “It was really interesting to be inside the new Tottenham. I was part of every training session and analysis before and after the match. As for my knowledge of football, there was a lot I could add. “Ange has his own vision and approach to football, and it was really interesting to see him up close.”

Postecoglou, Tottenham coach (Reuters)

After largely unsuccessful spells under Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and Antonio Conte, Tottenham finished eighth last season, 11 points off the top four, and were in need of an upgrade. So why the frustration? Why couldn’t he enjoy the same amount of success at Tottenham as Pochettino? “I don’t like to compare managers because there are different visions, styles and types of management,” says Lloris. The only thing I can say is that it was completely different. But we’re talking about big names and managers who are used to winning – it works. But his management style is completely different.”

Tottenham needed a revamp, and felt Postecoglou was the man who could provide it. With the help of new signings Vicario, James Maddison and Micky van de Ven, as well as the return of Son Heung-min and Richarlison, among others, Postecoglou has led the team to a new level of activity, and his bold and all-round attacking style has been praised by the fanbase and players, despite last weekend’s defeat. Against Wolverhampton, they are very ambitious in order to obtain Champions League positions again.

“With the change of managers (after the departure of Mauricio Pochettino in 2019), the club also changed the way football is played,” Lloris says. “The fans were not happy with the way we used to play, but by including Ange, we can see that there is a real positive impact. Not only because of the results, but also because the fans enjoy the way the team plays. “This is what the fans demand, it is attractive football, full of danger, aggression and dominating possession.” When you look at how the team has changed in 3 years, it’s completely different. Tottenham are now young with legs and character. Everyone enjoys watching Tottenham, thanks to Ange.”

Young people have become more present in Tottenham’s ranks (Reuters)

While Lloris left for the United States as a veteran, he joined Tottenham in 2012 as one of Europe’s most sought-after goalkeepers. As he developed from prodigious talent to club legend over the course of 11 years as a consistent regular, Tottenham established themselves as a member of the ‘Big Six’ and an occasional contender for the biggest trophies.

Under Pochettino, Tottenham’s second-place finish with 86 points in the 2016-17 season was the best in the Premier League era. The season before that, they pushed Leicester City to the title, but the failure to convert draws into victories left them 11 points behind. If Tottenham had added some stars to this side, in Lloris’ opinion, they would have come all the way. Under Pochettino, you could see progress year after year, and we were very competitive. We were close to winning. I think at that time, we were missing two or three more players to compete for success and to win trophies. “Progress was very rapid for the club because at that time their focus was on the new stadium. They did not have the financial reserves that they do now. “At that time, we needed to add a few more players and replenish this group of players.”

As the club prepared to move to the 62,850-capacity Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, they played their home matches in the 2017–18 season, and much of the 2018–19 season at Wembley Stadium. The England national team’s headquarters are located in northwest London, about 10 miles from White Hart Lane stadium. Tottenham initially struggled to adapt, and did not achieve any wins in their first 3 matches.

“When I felt we were more capable of winning the title, we had to move to Wembley,” Lloris says. “The previous year at White Hart Lane, we finished the season unbeaten. We won 17 matches, and drew two; It was a big record. At the time, we thought if we stayed at White Hart Lane, we could match the same number of points, “but we moved to Wembley – a different environment and stadium. We had to deal with that for a year and a half. Even so, we managed to reach the top four.”

They were unable to match their second-place finish in 2017, and a year later they finished 23 points behind eventual champions Manchester City. Reaching the Champions League final in 2019, where they lost to Liverpool, marked an abrupt end to Tottenham’s era of battling for the top spot in domestic and European football.

However, Lloris is careful not to place blame on any specific moment, player or person. This includes club president Daniel Levy, who was protested by Tottenham fans on several occasions last season, including a ‘Levy Out’ balloon display when they lost 3-1 to Brentford in their final home game. “In the last few years, my energy has been lower than it was in the past,” Loris says. Because we pushed every day, year after year, and we never got the reward.” “It was like we had arrived, and we were still trying to push, but we didn’t have the same energy we had before to push forward. “Every time we faced this difficulty as a club, it was as if we were suffering.” “It’s easy from the outside or as a player to say (Levi) should do this or do that. The reality is different. “When you are at the top of the club, you are always interested in trying to make the best decisions.” “When you blame him because we didn’t win titles, well, he brought in some big names, and it didn’t work out. Then you look at the last two or three transfer markets, the club is very active. “At the moment, the club is in a strong position.”

Although he left on terms that may seem harsh, his emotional first-half farewell in the 3-1 win over Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve ended the era with happy memories. His focus is now on continuing Gareth Bale’s achievements in bringing the AFL Cup back to Los Angeles, after managing director John Thorrington sold the project. “(Farewell) was the best way to end the chapter,” Lloris says. He added: “This shows that you belong to the club’s history, and you have completed that through your career. You never remember your last. I’ll always remember my first game, but my last doesn’t matter to me. The important thing is that we shake hands with respect. “My family and I will always be Tottenham members.”

2024-02-23 21:43:57

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