June 25, 2020
A si reveire Gautier
OGC Nice and AJ Auxerre have agreed terms for the transfer of Gautier Lloris to the Yonne-based club. The central defender, who joined Le Gym at just 11 years of age and climbed up through the academy ranks all the way to the professional first team, leaves the club after 13 years in Rouge et Noir. “I have great memories of my time in the academy. I won the U17 championship and the Gambardella Cup in 2012. I also helped win promotion to CFA (now the N2 fourth division),” he reminisced emotionally as his career takes him to a new club.
A regular member of the first team squad, Gautier has fond memories of his first preseason with the first team: “Suddenly being with the first team, training with players I was used to watching on television was very overwhelming. After 13 years here, it’s hard to pick out just one moment, but that remains a standout memory for me.”
He hasn’t forgotten his first call-up either: “I received a phone call in the afternoon from Fred Gioria who told me that Didier Digard was sick and that I had to come to the stadium. I didn’t have a car and it was too late to catch a bus. A friend came and picked me up on his moped. We travelled on the tram tracks to avoid the traffic jams! When I got to the Stade du Ray, the players had already started the warm-up. It was a great night because we eliminated Lyon 3-1 and the next day I went back to school!”
That call up came on 31 October 2012, at just 17 years of age and he had to wait until 4 January 2016 to make his debut against Rennes in the Coupe de France (loss 9-8 on penalties). On 15 January that same year, the brother of fellow Nice academy graduate and World Cup winner Hugo, made his Ligue 1 debut in a 2-1 win over Angers.
Hampered by injuries, the tall defender continued his apprenticeship in Ligue 2 with Gazélec Ajaccio in the 2017/18 campaign: “I grew up a lot there, became more mature and confident. I returned to Nice to cement my place in the first squad only for a back injury to ruin everything.” Gautier returned to top flight football early in the 2019/20 season, starting the 2-1 win over Rennes: “It’s one of my best memories with Le Gym. Winning in Ligue 1 with your hometown club, especially after the tough time I’d been through….”
In the starting line-up three times this season and confronted with stiff competition for places, Gautier Lloris has decided it’s time to leave the Côte d’Azur: “I asked coach Vieira to leave last winter but he said he needed me for another six months before letting me go to develop my potential.” At AJ Auxerre he will join up with another former Aiglon: “I spoke to Micka Le Bihan on the phone. It was he that called me to tell me they were interested. Coach Furlan really wanted me and it was my first choice.” Maybe he will be back to play his old club one day: “Julien Fournier wants me to come back and play against Le Gym one day. I hope it happens. But not in the Cup. That would mean that Auxerre were back in Ligue 1. But of course it will be special match.” As he leaves the nest, he has a special thought for all his coaches along the way.
Proud to have accompanied Gautier throughout his football career and give him his professional debut, OGC Nice wishes him every success with his new club.
M.S. et F.H.