Anthony Lopes : "I dream of writing my name in the club's history."
"At the end of August, you experienced two pivotal moments in your career: you played your 300th match -- in all competitions -- with OL and you extended your contract with your boyhood club thereafter..."
I couldn't be more proud. Since I was little, I have dreamt of putting my name in the history of the club. Having signed a long-term contract will allow me to move up the ranking of the most-capped players. It took a long time to materialize but it happened and I have extended my contract until 2023. It's to my happiness and that of the fans. I had no doubt. We took our time to do things right. It has been long, maybe a little too much, but in the end we will be able to continue working together.
Speak to us a little bit about the history of your love for Lyon…
When I was a kid, I dreamed of this. OL is the club of my heart. I have always wanted to play as long as possible under these colors. We do not know what we can expect over a career but, for now, I am really satisfied. I am fulfilling the goals I set for myself when I was small and I hope this will continue as well.
Did the unfailing support of the fans as you negotiated your extension have an impact on your decision?
Yes. It is a great pleasure to know you are loved and supported in this way. It was nice of them to do all this for me. It is a beautiful mark of confidence. I will never be able to thank them as much as I would like ... I like having this relationship with them. When I enter the field to warm up, underneath the virage, when I celebrate a goal with them ... all these moments will remain forever in my head.
What motivated you to extend your contract?
The sporting aspect was decisive. OL is a club that has to play every season at the highest level. These goals correspond to what I am looking for. To play here, you have to show a certain character and be ready at any time. The role of the president has also been very important. He took the matter of my extension personally. It was necessary to sit around a table to discuss matters. It was friendly, familial, and very pleasant. This led to my signature and I am very happy.
The opinion of your family was also essential in your decision making…They are always there for me. They put me in the best possible situations so that I can live my life as a professional footballer. It allows me to train and play calmly. They bring me a lot, even if they do not necessarily realize it. I thank them for everything they give me.
The subject of your extension being closed, you can now concentrate on the sporting side of things. On this matter, what do you think of your start to the season?
We started very well. We scored nine goals in two games without conceding one. But the other two games were very complicated. We attack very quickly, but it leaves space for our opponents and they have been able to profit from that. When you end up outnumbered on the counter, and lose close encounters, the collective takes a hit.
Despite sluggish results, we can feel Sylvinho's influence on the game. What have you seen from him in the day-to-day?
The coach has arrived with new ideas but it still takes time for all this to be put into place. In the first two games, it worked very well, so I do not worry about what happens next. We are very concerned and focused. Everyone has realized that seriousness is paramount and that we must all work together, both defensively and offensively.
In you we see an unconditional love for OL, what do you think about the return of Juninho, who is considered a living legend by the supporters?
He brings a lot of things, especially in his communication. I think he is very fulfilled in his role. He talks a lot with the players. He is very complementary to Sylvinho. His experiences, what he has acquired through his career, his advice can serve us well. Everyone listens to him when he speaks. This is a good omen for the future.
There is another OL legend who has been alongside your for the last year-and-a-half...
With Greg, we're improving in all areas. As you train, you discover new things. We are very invested and we see that it's paying off. We are all appreciative of his work.
Since the beginning of last season, one senses a change in your demeanor on the pitch. You seem more calm, more composed…
I think everyone was waiting for me to turn a corner. I proved that I had the will and the character to restore my image. I think that shows and I intend to continue in his way. The image that I now show is more like what I really am: a quiet guy, who also loves to mess around, but doesn't make a fuss. This change also reflects my life within the squad. I live fully and I feel good about it. And as I have a fairly easy demeanor, I get on very well with everyone, including the youngest ones. I speak with everyone.
What are your goals for the season?
When you play at the highest level, you want to go as far as possible in all competitions. The Champions League is the ultimate focus, but we also want to win trophies, whether the championship or the cups. We all hope to celebrate something at the end of the season, but that means working everyday. We will take stock at the end of the season but we must earn the titles, because at the end of our career, it is the titles that remain. "