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In order to find the Blues and have a chance to defend his title at the World Cup-2022, Djibril Sidibé knows that he must shine with Monaco, especially in the Europa League, starting with Thursday against Real Sociedad, in San Sebastián ( 6:45 p.m.).
“When I remember his return last season and see him today, he’s a totally transformed player. Like a butterfly!” launches Niko Kovac, the Monegasque coach, who is full of praise for his defender.
It must be said that in September 2020, upon his return from his loan from Everton, the right-back was no longer the player who had asserted himself during the 2016-2017 season. Monaco then became champion of France, semi-finalist of the Champions League, and Sidibé had found a starting place in the French team.
The English club did not exercise the purchase option for a player who was living his “dream of playing in the Premier League”. But without an excellent physical level, sur does not exist across the Channel.
Since then, Sidibé has done a lot of work on himself. Beyond a better invisible training, he was especially forced, at 29, to find a physique in line with that of the player he wants to become again.
– “Always prove” –
“I started to play early in professional life and to do a lot of very high level matches, he explains. As soon as the coach calls on me, I try to be present. I know it.”
Under contract with Monaco until June, he knows he is playing his future in the coming months. He, who saw his companions in the 2017 title engage in the biggest European clubs, remained docked in the Principality.
Despite great requests further afield, including Atlético Madrid, despite this loan from one to Everton, he never managed to seduce a club of higher standing. It is therefore now or never for the “uncle”, as the young people in the locker room call him.
Under the orders of Kovac, Sidibé therefore woke up and relaunched. “Physically, tactically, it was difficult to understand at the beginning, remembering the player. We took six months to do it. From last January, we all understood everything. Now, despite the rout against Shakhtar (in C1 dams), it takes a notch individually and collectively. I hope to respond to what the coach wants now. And above all, to continue to progress. “
Injured in the adductors on August 26 in Karkhiv against Shakhtar in extra time, while he was in great shape and performing a very good performance, he was established against Nice, upon his return a month later.
– “Bring my fighting spirit” –
“+ Djibo + is a very important player for his experience but also his development. If he is ready, he has no reason not to play,” said his coach.
“I did not expect to start, recalls Sidibé. It was a derby. The coach asked me if I was ready. With the medical staff, we took the necessary time and were very careful because it ‘was muscular. I was physically ready. And it was itching to be able to play because it was so long. ”
Since then, Sidibé continues. A complicated half-time against Saint-Etienne (3-1) and a solid match in Clermont (3-1), he gradually picked up the pace. At the same time as Monaco returns to victory.
“I must bring my experience, my fighting spirit, reassure my partners with my presence”, confides the world champion, invested. “But I am not alone. Monaco is a collective. It is what made our strength last season and what must still be our trademark.”
In the den of the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastián, where Monaco lost 2-1 in a pre-season friendly, he and his family have a great opportunity to meet that deeds validate the ambitions found.
© 2021 AFP