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Gerzino Nyamsi: “I needed to emancipate myself” – Season 2022-2023: resumption of Ligue 1

Ligue 1. RC Strasbourg – AS Monaco, this Saturday (5 p.m.)

How did you experience the first full season of your career, with Strasbourg?

Very well ! I had a sense of accomplishment. Before, I had not had the opportunity to chain the matches and to be able to perform. It was my personal goal for the start of the season, and I achieved it. I was happy, but it makes you want to continue. We play for that: to know the victories, the defeats, and to be an integral part of the adventure. When you play very little, even if you know that you are part of the group, you have this feeling of not really contributing your stone to the building.

A year back, did you think you would be able to impose yourself so much?

My mentality, already long before, when I was 21 or 22, was to tell myself that I had to play. At one point, I was very frustrated. So when I arrived here, I didn’t want to let go for a minute, I had this objective to play everything. I had spoken with the coach, but he didn’t promise anything. You had to prove your worth in training.

How do you explain that the mayonnaise took so quickly, when you had just arrived?

Exactly, it plays! When you are brought from another club, logically, it is that you are given importance. Me, I had done everything in Rennes, I had been at the club since I was six, so it’s different, it may have a link. I may not have seen it at the time, but maybe I wasn’t mature enough, seasoned enough. There were also the choices of coaches, who preferred someone else to me. I’ve always respected those choices, but I wanted to leave, to look elsewhere.

Did you need to get out of your comfort zone, to do violence to yourself?

No, it didn’t happen that way. To be honest, I’ve wanted to leave Rennes for a long time. It’s not that I don’t like this club, on the contrary, it’s my favorite club. But I said to myself that, for my career, if I didn’t have playing time, I had to look for it elsewhere. The workforce meant that I had to stay, to be in the rotation. I was happy to play there. But I needed to emancipate myself.

What do you notice that is different at RC Strasbourg?

I am from Rennes, I spent 24 years there, including 18 years at Stade Rennais. I had only known that. There, it’s another environment, the city is different… I was ready for that, so I took it in the best possible way. I arrived at a family club, with a good atmosphere in the locker room, the players welcomed me very well. And inevitably, I found working methods, a coach and a staff that I knew. I very quickly melted into the decor and adapted. And the first games I played here really got me into the mood. The atmosphere was “phew”, we were winning, I had played well.

The man flourishes as much as the player, in this new city?

Yes, it is a beautiful city! It reminds me a bit of Rennes, only bigger. I like the architecture, there are really nice little places. There is attractiveness, linked to the fact that it is a border town: there are Germans, Belgians… The people are quite simple, so I feel good.

I have a good relationship with him. He tells me things when there is a need to do so, whether they are good or not so good. And for my part, I think I can afford to tell him what I felt at times, while staying in my place. As we have known each other for a long time and I had him in U17 and U19, there is a real relationship of trust.

Do you measure the contribution of playing alongside experienced defenders like Djiku or Le Marchand?

Of course it brings. You have to analyze and learn from others all the time. So obviously, playing with Ligue 1 regulars helped me. But as I had just arrived, I had to prove my worth. And as I get on well with them, these are elements that pull up, so it’s beneficial.

Become the “rock” of a top L1 table team, did you know you were capable of it?

I am an ambitious person. I don’t talk a lot, I don’t reveal my ambitions all the time, but I’ve always thought about it. When we played the Champions League in Rennes, I told myself that I would also like to play it elsewhere. I wanted to make my career, too, that’s just it! Playing at the top of the table in Strasbourg, even if we didn’t expect it at the start of the season, that didn’t necessarily surprise me. And that was a goal.

The season starts this Saturday for you, against Monaco (5 p.m.). What goals are you setting?

I stayed in the dynamic of last season: that the collective and I make good matches. We have to perform. But personally, in addition to the other daily objectives, I would add scoring goals, even if it’s not what I’m asked first. I’m big, there’s a way to score a few goals.

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