Mathieu Bodmer: “If I hadn’t played in Paris, I would have messed up my career”

Mathieu Bodmer, 37, announced his departure from sport on Tuesday. He returned to the highlights of his career during a press conference in Paris.

It’s a turning page. After a rich career as a professional footballer and 17 seasons in the elite, Mathieu Bodmer, 37, decided to hang on the rails. His last club was Amiens, relegated at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Passed by PSG from Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the beginning of the QSI era, or OL by Juninho and LOSC by Claude Puel, the midfielder will now turn to other projects, and the requests are not missing because he does not want too far from football.

Was it a difficult decision to make?

Mathieu Bodmer: It has been a while since I thought about it very sincerely considering the situation in my club (Amiens), the various injuries and aging happening. I was hoping to continue a little longer so that we could end the season. But the containment was going to upset my plans. I had many requests outside, still in football but off the field. And upon arrival, I made the decision to move on. I think it’s time.

Don’t you have a little bit of bitterness to end like this without a last game and an applause?

Yes good. But we have all seen the situation in the country in recent months. We invested in other projects, for those who saw what we did for Evreux. Although I would have had an excursion in front of my wife, my children and my friends, we do not always choose.

If Amiens had stayed in Ligue 1, would it have driven you to extend with a season?

I think it would have been easier. For me it was from the beginning Amiens or nothing. I didn’t see myself leaving anywhere else. We talked to the club, but it couldn’t be done for a variety of reasons. It’s a shame for me as for them.

“I loved Zlatan, both character and player. He’s a UFO”

In twenty years of career you have never developed abroad. Why?

Football consists of opportunities. When I leave Lille, Lyon is a very big club in Europe. I have calls abroad, but it is not Manchester United or Real Madrid. With Lyon, I have the chance to win my first title. My dream is to play PSG. And when that happens I go. I went up to Paris, I didn’t train for a week, I took a fine. And when President Jean-Michel Aulas called me, I told him “it’s PSG or I quit football”. My father is a PSG supporter, he almost signed for PSG when he was young. If I hadn’t played in Paris, I would have ruined my career.

Some people think it is easier to stop at 37, because you say you have reached the end of the road, that your career has been long enough. It’s wrong. For the passionate person I am, retirement is like a small death. A moment when everything falls back after 20 years of emotion, each more intense than the other. ⁣ ⁣ I go back to my start at Évreux 1988, my first pro match with Caen in July 2000, the discovery of the Champions League with Lille, the double Cup / Championship with the OL, a semi-final in C1 against Bayern, the discovery of clubs steeped in history as Saint-Etienne and Nice, without forgetting Guingamp and Amiens, two war clubs, warm and family. ⁣ ⁣ But none of this can match the pride of having played for my heart club: Paris Saint-Germain. In 2010, the planets seem finally adapted to complete my transfer to PSG. At that time, I would have been able to reject all offers, regardless of whether they came from the best clubs in Europe. I wanted Paris, it was my childhood dream. Today I have a special thought for Alain Roche and Antoine Kombouaré, who made it possible. Mer ⁣ After more than 600 professional matches, after finishing on the pitch, it is inevitably a bitter taste. 20 years of travel, extraordinary meetings – whether players, coaches, leaders, supporters – would have deserved a better ending. I think back to Mohamed El Kharraze, who came to pick me up in my area of ​​Évreux. To Nasser Larguet, then manager of the training center SM Caen, who got me to sign my first contract and took me up as a professional team. To Claude Puel, who trained me for 9 years, at LOSC, OL or even in Nice. ⁣ ⁣ 3 months after the end of the forced season, I already feel nostalgic. But I will be able to spend more time with my wife and my daughters and support my sons, young soccer players at HAC and Caen. The ball lover that I am is not yet ready to distance myself, far from it. There are many professional projects connected to football, the desire to accomplish is enormous. ⁣ See you very soon, ⁣ ieu Mathieu Bodmer

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What memories do you have of a Zlatan Ibrahimovic on PSG?

It’s a UFO. I loved the character, I loved the player. We had some friends in common and everything went well from the start. He is a fantastic player, a good guy, who has brought a lot to the club. You can say that he is arrogant, but he has got many things moving in the right direction.

Can you have played in Marseille?

Never (Laughing) !

“Hatem, you have to know how to talk to him. He may be too sincere for football”

Which coach impressed you the most?

There are many, but I have to quote Claude Puel. He had me for nine years, in three different clubs. We have had our ups and downs, but there has always been a lot of respect and good memories in Lille, Lyon and Nice. He came to pick me up in Caen, and he made me develop a lot. Afterwards, tactically speaking, is the strongest Lucien Favre. What he does is genius. You have to see what he offers, how he lives football, how he thinks. With him, the placement is within ten centimeters. Everyone has seen Dortmund lately. He is very passionate, almost sick.

And the strongest player?

Hatem (Ben Arfa), obviously. Everybody knows it. It’s special. He does what he likes, what he wants to do and what inspires him. He can log into a club just because he likes the coach, the president, even because he likes the color of the shirt. You need to know how to talk to him. He may be too sincere for football.

What are you going to do now?

I don’t close any doors. As long as it’s in football I’m interested. Clubs call me for recruitment. I have had proposals from agencies, but that is not a priority at the moment. I hope to stay closer to the field. What I will miss is the adrenaline.

Interview by Benjamin Quarez in Paris.