Scorer and author of a very good match, Hamari Traoré shone this Sunday evening against PSG. In the absence of Benjamin Bourigeaud, he recalled that he too already occupied a place of choice in the history of Stade Rennes, which he could leave at the end of his contract in June after six good years.
He’s not the first one you think of when you have to mention the major players at Stade Rennes, where attackers and technicians have been having a blast for a year and a half, but his importance in Bruno Genesio’s team is no longer to demonstrate. In the absence of Martin Terrier, injured for many months, and Benjamin Bourigeaud, suspended after his red received in Clermont, captain Hamari Traoré became the headliner of the new blockbuster produced by the Bretons, this Sunday evening, against PSG. The right-back turned into a scorer to don the superhero costume, usually intended for others, in a meeting during which he did everything well. In Rennes, the star remains the team and the collective, it’s true, but under the downpour, it was also a great evening to remember that Traoré already has his place in the warmth of the legend of the Breton club. .
“Hamari is like a big brother to us. He helps us a lot, he advises us and he has a very important leadership. » Lesley Ugochukwu, younger brother
The locker room big brother
In the new system proposed by his coach against Paris, the Malian international delivered an XXL match in a piston role made for his qualities. He multiplied the races in his lane, and the efforts to return to give a helping hand to the defense on the Parisian transitions. Shortly after the hour mark, Traoré still had the juice to find himself in an attacking position in the area, after yet another sprint, in order to transform the offering of Adrien Truffert, his counterpart on the left, by slamming a shot unstoppable crossover for Gianluigi Donnarumma. “It is symbolic that it is he who scoresrejoiced Genesio after the game. Firstly because he is the captain of the team, and he is someone who, in difficulty, always maintains a positive attitude towards him, the other players and the staff. » A scene, too, to tell the state of mind of the 30-year-old defender: this chest-to-chest congratulation with Arthur Theate against the Rennes kop, after a final head save by Traoré in front of Kylian Mbappé in added time.
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In the game and in attitudes, Traoré was a benchmark, a model for the courageous and diligent Rouge et Noir. It’s no coincidence that the Malian is part of Genesio’s Council of Elders, a small group of executives the coach can talk to on different topics over the course of a season. “Hamari was one of those I consulted for this system changerevealed the Breton technician, who had spoken individually to several players this week to probe them. He immediately said to me: “Coach is great, we can do it, we have the characteristics to do it, we follow you.” It’s very important because we have a young group, he’s one of the oldest and you need to have relays like him and others, who keep a positive attitude and bring the others along. » Appointed captain in the summer of 2021 after the departure of Damien Da Silva, Traoré is an essential element in the Rennes locker room, where he is a bridge between the youngest, his “little ones” as he likes to call them, and the old ones. After celebrating his goal, he crossed the field horizontally to share a moment and a hug with Guela Doué and Jeanuel Belocian, two young defenders who remained on the Rennes bench. The second was also the first to come and hug him at the final liberating whistle. “Hamari is like a big brother to us, confirmed Lesley Ugochukwu, 18, in the mixed zone. He helps us a lot, he advises us and he has a very important leadership. »
“The club has a policy to follow and it is not because Hamari does not extend that I will be disappointed. There is a cause for everything, and an end for everything too. » Hamari Traoré last month
In the legend and towards the exit?
June 14, 2017 can be a date to mark with a white menhir for the SRFC: that day, Benjamin Bourigeaud and Hamari Traoré had signed up for four years with the Breton club, still far from being a regular candidate for the podium and a regular in the European Cup. Like the Northerner, the former Reims, where he arrived against just over two million euros, has been a major player in the growth of Stade Rennes over the past five years. The two men are also the last survivors of the Coupe de France 2019 and therefore, in a sense, the guarantors of this special memory. With 225 matches played under the red and black tunic (6 goals, 21 assists), Traoré is the 15e most capped player in the history of Rennes, and he will even rise to 13e in two games, passing Daniel Rodighiero and Jacques Poulain.
Only, Traoré may have been living in Rennes for the past few months since he is now free to engage with the club of his choice, his lease ending next June and Lorenz Assignon, 22, biding his time. Last summer, the right side for whom the Rennes leaders had not received any concrete offer did not see the proposal of a contract extension either, unlike Bourigeaud, who returned for three years. additional with a very nice revaluation to the key. In any case, this is what the player, annoyed by the reminders about his future, suggested at a press conference at the end of December: “I want to talk about this once and for all to be clear: I haven’t spoken with anyone, I haven’t had any discussions with anyone. I only spoke with the coach who wanted to know how things are going. We said things clearly. Today, the most important thing is football (…)The club has a policy to follow and it is not because Hamari does not extend that I will be disappointed. There is a cause for everything, and an end for everything too. » This Sunday evening, when asked if it would be a shame to see the captain leave the ship next summer, Genesio replied with a simple ” yes ” in a smile. The story may not be over yet, but whatever happens, it will have been beautiful.
By Clément Gavard, at Roazhon Park
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