August 9, 2017
St-Maximin: 'learn and improve'
Last one in, first one out. After his first training session with the Gym, Allan Saint-Maximin faced the media in his first press conference as an Aiglon. The new number 7 talked about his arrival with maturity.
Allan, how did your arrival at the club happen?
It was a very complicated situation. The first meeting happened seven months ago, and I have wanted to sign here from the start. It's been long and often when it is finalised, it's a great relief. Now, I am really happy to be here, I think you can see that on my face. I have a lot of ambition, and want to work alongside a coach who is going to give me a chance to improve, that's the most important thing.
Why decide to leave Monaco, the reigning French champions?
I didn't turn my back on Monaco. Everyone knows that OGC Nice are developing, I am too. I'm here to learn and improve. I had to take a decision, my entourage and I thought about it. Since the start of my career, I have been a bit of a carrier pigeon. With my family, we needed stability and me, I need to establish myself long-term at a club. I don't have the answers to everything, but I'm convinced I have made the right choice. All the experiences I have had have been very enriching. I have learned a lot and matured with the arrival of my two little girls. For me, it's a fresh start.
In Bastia, you had your first full season as you felt good off the pitch. Do you need that to be able to express yourself?
I was fortunate to go there, and I would like to thank Bastia. I am very grateful, it's in large part to them that I'm here today. They gave me my chance last season. At Nice, I'm also lucky to be at a family club that really wanted me. The situation at Bastia? It touches me and affects me, because I have friends there. It's a very complicated situation, but I'm at OGC Nice, and I'm focussed on my club.
Mario Balotelli, Wesley Sneijder and Dante are key elements...
Everyone knows Sneijder is an exceptional player. For me, he had a great chance to be Ballon d'Or, Mario too. Dante is exemplary…You need to take inspiration from players like that, it's a real pleasure to train alongside them.
'I LOVE FOOTBALL, SO MY POSITION DOESN'T MATTER'
Physically, how do you feel?
I have done all the pre-season with Monaco, so I'm ready.
Which post would you like to play in particular?
Where I feel best is left midfield. Afterwards, there is no place where I want to play. It's a decision that belongs entirely to the coach. If I give the best of myself, I will give myself a chance of being in the starting line-up. I love football, so my position doesn't matter. Apart from goalkeeper…
Do you feel the squad can spring a surprise against Napoli?
Anything is possible in football. We'll have to give everything to qualify. We're working well, as we did again today, we've just had a 2.5-hour session. We're all motivated and ready to work to get the win. But there is a game beforehand, Friday against Troyes, which is also important.
Quite, on Friday you could make your first appearnce for the Gym at the Allianz….
I played there with Bastia last season, I remember the eagle. We know the Gym is a club with a lot of fans and passion. It's very important, it helps you go beyond your limits.
Jean-Pierre Rivère: "I'd like to thank Vadim [Vasilyev, Monaco vice-president]. He played along, in time to qualify him for the Napoli game, even though it was a player he didn't want to lose. I liked his attitude. He allowed us to get that done by speeding up the process."
In 2016/17, Allan St-Maximin enjoyed the most successul dribbles in L1 (142). In Europe, only Neymar (168) and Eden Hazard (143) did better last season.