Earlier than enjoying one final match earlier than the break in opposition to Toulouse, and flying off to the 2022 World Cup which he’ll play with Croatia, Lovro Majer spoke with Stade Rennais On-line to take inventory of greater than a yr spent on the SRFC, the place he lately prolonged. His adaptation to Rennes, his improvement, the expectations regarding him, all in impeccable French, the primary a part of the interview with the silky midfielder.
Lovro, it has now been a yr and two months because you joined Stade Rennes. How do you’re feeling ?
I really feel actually, actually good. Since I arrived, I really feel good. Nothing has modified, I simply improved my French. I additionally really feel significantly better in my private life, within the metropolis, with the followers, within the locker room, with the gamers, with the employees, and everybody who works on the membership.
After spending your entire life in a single metropolis, Zagreb, how was your first yr away from residence?
Earlier than leaving Zagreb, I assumed rather a lot. I heard the opposite gamers who had performed overseas, they advised me that the language could possibly be tough, that it was tough to search out the actual pals who will assist you. If you’re at residence, it is easy as a result of you’ve got the household, and you may speak to them. Overseas, you’ll be able to solely depend on your self. More often than not, you do not have your loved ones. You may name them sure, however it’s tougher than for those who play at residence. However for me it did not occur that means. From the primary day, I actually felt superb. It could have been because of the gamers right here, the individuals who work right here. I wanted to alter golf equipment, and it was the right time. It could not have gone higher for me.
Have you ever ever had moments of doubt?
Actually the primary 5 days. However perhaps due to the language. I then skilled a tough state of affairs once I acquired injured. However on the time, all of the folks helped me rather a lot. A day earlier than my medical go to, I performed a Champions League match with Dinamo Zagreb (in opposition to FC Sheriff, August 25, 2021, 0-0, editor’s notice), I used to be very drained. I keep in mind, throughout the go to, the physician touched me (he factors to his knee) and requested me if I used to be okay. I stated “sure it is excellent”, however it wasn’t okay as a result of I used to be useless (laughs). The gamers weren’t there as a result of they had been enjoying at Rosenborg (August 26, 2021, 1-3 victory, editor’s notice). There should have been 3-4 gamers right here, and the physios. It was a bit bizarre however it was fantastic.
Throughout these first 5 days, how was it going at residence?
I used to be with my mom the primary two days on the resort. It is by no means the very best, however it was good. You need to reside with that whenever you play soccer. After I suppose again to that, I inform myself that these are additionally good issues, good instances.
“The very first thing I wished to do was study French”
Was studying the language a precedence?
Sure in fact. Soccer was the precedence, to proceed to progress, however since I arrived, I advised myself that the very first thing I wished to do was study French. It was vital to me. I believe that to be as open as doable, talking one other language is known as a good factor.
Feeling good in Rennes, did that assist you too?
Sure it is positive. I’ve been on the resort for a month and a half. I used to be in search of flats within the metropolis middle. I used to be fortunate to discover a very good one. It is vital for me to be ok with it. It is near right here (to La Piverdière), and to the stadium.
What do you love to do in Rennes?
The town is calm. The Bretons right here have been very nice, since day one. The followers have been supporting me since day one, it is actually superb. I wish to stroll downtown, go to eating places, do issues like that. However more often than not, I come to the coaching middle to enhance.
You arrived in a brand new nation, you additionally needed to impose your self within the crew, and also you injured your hip entry. How did you overcome that?
I used these moments to develop, to see the membership and life right here by the eyes of others. Possibly that was factor. It is by no means good to not play since you’re injured, however I used this time to enhance in different areas. I labored rather a lot indoors, I ready myself in addition to doable to be prepared for the season.
You come again from damage and also you begin in opposition to Mura (November 4, 2021, 1-0), then particularly in opposition to Lyon (November 7, 2021, 4-1) three days later. Is that this among the best matches you’ve got participated in?
Sure. It was among the best video games for me right here. After I look now, I am actually proud of my recreation, the match I made. I progressed mentally and bodily.
Was this week a set off for you?
Sure I can say that. Much more Lyon, as a result of we all know what an awesome membership Lyon is. Particularly in Croatia, everybody is aware of Lyon. After this match, I might see that I might play at this stage. I confirmed my qualities, and it was an vital second for me.
Have been you stunned by your adaptation?
No, not stunned, as a result of I do know my qualities, and I understand how I work to be able to play a match. Earlier than arriving right here, everybody advised me that it might be regular to wish not less than 6 months to adapt. I did not give it some thought, however when it is repeated to you, you retain it in thoughts. I used the very best of what now we have right here: the physiotherapists, the bodily trainers, the coach. With their assist, I progressed sooner.
“After I’m not overthinking, I am the very best model of myself”
You then step by step settled into the crew. Do you suppose your recreation has modified because you arrived in Rennes?
It hasn’t modified in model, approach or magnificence. I turned a greater, sooner participant. I’m going sooner in my choices, I’m stronger, tougher in duels. I began operating smarter. I acquired higher at ways too.
What do you suppose you’ve got improved probably the most on?
(He thinks). It is laborious to say one factor, however I might say defensively, in successful the ball. However in all areas, too.
You additionally take plenty of hits on the pitch, since your arrival and this season particularly.
Sure, it is true, way more than final yr. However in Croatia too I took plenty of beatings. I do not know the way to work on that (laughs).
How do you reside the notably dense calendar of this season?
I’ve at all times stated, and I actually imply it, that I really feel nice bodily and mentally. I am not drained, I am actually trying ahead to enjoying all of the matches. I am hungry. Hungry to attain, to present assists, to play each recreation. Everybody says there are too many matches. Possibly that is true as a result of there are plenty of accidents too. However I prefer it, as a result of you’ll be able to play each 3-4 days, and that is excellent for a participant.
You might be some of the standard gamers on the crew among the many followers. Do you’re feeling it?
I have no idea. If that is true, nice. It may be the very best factor you’ll be able to hear as a participant. I simply attempt to be pure. I play my soccer, I benefit from the match. That is how I believe is greatest for the crew, for me and for the followers. I do not take into consideration that a lot. After I’m not overthinking, I am the very best model of myself.
You may have lengthy been introduced in Croatia as the brand new Luka Modric, because you had been little. Have not you by some means gotten used to this expectation of you?
Sure it is true, I acquired used to it. I by no means considered being, or needing to be, the brand new Modric, or anybody else. It isn’t a great way to do it, since you put stress on your self, and it is laborious to get pleasure from issues. I simply tried to study one thing from him, from different gamers who’ve expertise in choice. Solely that.
Was final season the very best of your profession?
Sure in fact. A season earlier than, I believe I am having an excellent season at Dinamo Zagreb too, individually and collectively. Final season, I additionally had an excellent season however at a better stage. So sure, it is the very best.
Interview by Thomas Rassouli.
Discover Half 2 of our interview with Lovro Majer, tomorrow, on Stade Rennais On-line.