Jeff Reine-Adélaïde :"I could have cheated but I had goals" (Part One)
Jeff, can you tell us about that evening in December when you hurt yourself?
It was a very unique moment. At first, we did not think that this injury was so serious. But it turned out that it was more serious than expected. It was painful at the time. We had to accept that this injury was what it was to move on as quickly as possible. That’s what I did and I got to work. It's part of a footballer's life. There are ups and downs. It’s sometimes hard to accept but you have to be stronger than that and there are much more serious issues in life. My family was very important in helping me to stay in good spirits, especially after the operation. It’s difficult times when you’re in bed, in pain. I was also very well supported by the staff.
How has your rehabilitation been going?
Everything is fine. I started in Lyon. The day after the operation, I resumed work with one of the physiotherapists. It was very difficult, very trying. I then went to Clairefontaine to have another perspective. It’s really hard to watch your teammates practice and to stay on the sidelines. I went on vacation for two weeks to Martinique too. It helped me a lot. I was able to feel recharged when I came back. I could have resumed training with the rest of the team a month ago. It’s hard work. One can't relax; sometimes it's hard, sometimes you don't want to do the exercises. I could have cheated but I had goals in mind. Objectives are also useful for that, to not relax. There was a lot of physical and mental fatigue that accumulated. I was able to manage it, thanks to the medical staff and my family who were very beneficial for me.
How has this period changed you?
It brought me maturity. One becomes aware of certain things. I only thought about football before this injury, I had nothing else in mind. I still think about it a lot, but today I have a more open mind. I discovered other things. I asserted myself, I learned about myself, my loved ones, my friends. We have more time for others if we don't focus only on ourselves.
The competition will be very strong at your position. Is there a little worry over your place?
No. There is no pressure to be had. I know the player I am, I know my qualities. We have a large group with a lot of quality. Competition does not hurt; this is how we recognize good players.