July 30, 2020
Rony Lopes: ‘An ambitious project’
Rony Lopes, the sixth summer signing for OGC Nice was presented to the media on Thursday. Accompanied by Chairman Jean-Pierre Rivère and head coach Patrick Vieira, the new man spoke of his choice, the club and his relationship with the 1998 World Cup winner who coached him in the youth ranks at Manchester City.
“An enthusiastic player, always the first to arrive at training and the last to leave, a player that loves football and will work as hard as it takes to succeed.” Patrick Vieira heralded the arrival of his former captain at Manchester City. Five years after working together in the north of England, the pair are reunited on the Côte d’Azur. But Lopes has changed, according to the Gym coach: “He has moved around a lot and is more mature today. Now he needs to grow in confidence and experience in a team with which he can fulfil his potential. It’s a pleasure to have him with us.”
The Portugal international echoed those thoughts, delighted to be joining “a club with an ambitious project and a team that wants to win,” exactly what he “was looking for” after a season in which he learnt a lot in Seville. “I keep a very positive view of Seville. It was a good experience. Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t. It didn’t work out for me there. It’s behind me and now I’m focused on Nice and I want to give it everything.”
Having played for Lille and Monaco, Rony Lopes has good memories of the Côte d’Azur derbies between Le Gym and ASM: “I know that Nice’s fans are always behind the team. When we played them with Monaco they always gave it everything.”
Concerning his deployment on the pitch, the former City academy graduate is “ready to play any position,” and Patrick Vieira spoke of his new player’s versatility: “He is used to playing on the wing, but at City, he also played attacking through the middle and also in central midfield. He is very good one on one and he can score goals and provide assists.” If he doesn’t play this Saturday against FC Dac (kick-off at 18:00), the Portugal international could make his debut in Rouge et Noir on 8 August against RB Salzburg (kick-off at 16:00): “He has to work hard to get back to his best,” admits Patrick Vieira, “we will give him the time to work hard so he can be ready for the first Ligue 1 match of the season against Lens. There’s a good chance he will play a few minutes against Salzburg.”