Happy birthday to… Hugo Lloris

Hugo Lloris, the luminary French goalkeeper, turns 37 today. In a rather remarkable career, he has secured more awards with his national team than he has with his club.

Starting his bright journey with France, Lloris was part of the team that won the U19 European Championship in 2005. This platform was the stepping stone to a prosperous career which brought him tantalizingly close to reaching the 900-match milestone. His crowning glory came when he lifted the World Cup trophy in Russia in 2018 and narrowly missed out on another in Qatar four years later. To add to his national team accolades, under the managing prowess of Didier Deschamps, Lloris also clinched the Nations League title in 2021.

A significant note in Lloris’s illustrious career was his record-setting 145 appearances for France, a legendary feat in itself. After the penalty shootout loss to Argentina in the final, Lloris announced his retirement from international football to French publication L’Equipe on January 9, 2023, acknowledging his belief in successor Mike Maignan. He was quoted as saying, “There comes a time when you have to know how to pass the baton. I do not want to monopolize the role, as I have always said, France does not belong to anyone, and we all have a way of seeing that it rings true.”

However, Lloris’s club career saw fewer triumphs, with a French Cup and French Super Cup title to his name from his Lyon days, 11 years ago. Despite having no silverware to show for his decade-long tenure with Tottenham, there’s no denying that the London-based club has grown significantly, even reaching the significant milestone of a Champions League final, only to falter against Liverpool.

In spite of being labelled as “one of the best goalkeepers in the world” by his manager Antonio Conte, as reported to Nice Matin, the recent months have been anything but smooth for the veteran keeper. With his contract secured till 2024, the arrival of Guglielmo Vicario and a chat with coach Ange Postecoglu led Lloris to sense the “end of an era.”

While there were rumours of a move to Saudi Arabia, this was vehemently rejected, with Lloris stating, “You can’t go from a successful World Cup to being a mediocre player in a few months”. Nor was Llrois lured by the possibility of joining Lazio, despite pressure from Lotito on Sarri to bring in someone of Lloris’ caliber.

An offer from Nice was also turned down, where the timing of the proposal, right at the last minute of the transfer deadline, left Lloris feeling slighted. He explained, “Nice fans and the team deserve better than a split-second decision based on a phone call without a clear sporting project, coming at an hour from the transfer window closing when I least expected it.”

This standstill has resulted in Lloris becoming somewhat of a forgotten man at Tottenham. He continues to train but is excluded from matchday squads. Despite still having the number 1 jersey and being listed in the squad on the club’s official website, all eyes are now on the opening of the January transfer window to see what the future holds for him.

Reflecting on his career, Lloris stated, “As a kid, I was a huge fan of Buffon, he was my idol along with Casillas. I tried to emulate them in my career.”

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