Stade de Reims defender Yunis Abdelhamid with teammate Keito Nakamura after his side's win over Olympique de Marseille

Yunis Abdelhamid: Saying Goodbye to a Legend

Yunis Abdelhamid: Saying Goodbye to a Legend

Publish on 05/22 at 02:00 - E. DEVIN


Stade de Reims bid goodbye to stalwart central defender Yunis Abdelhamid on style on Sunday evening.

A veteran of more than 250 appearances with Stade de Reims since his arrival in 2017, defender and club captain Yunis Abdelhamid celebrated the end of his seven seasons in Champagne in style on Sunday night, scoring from the penalty spot in a win over Stade Rennais to bring down the curtain on a momentous spell that has seen him help the club win promotion, return to European football and become a regular for Morocco.

Having revealed his impending departure in an interview with l’Équipe in February, he underscored  that he still feels ready to play, and perhaps aims to extend his career in Ligue 1 Uber Eats in the fashion of legends like Dante or Vitorino Hilton, both of whom continued their spells in the French top flight past their 40th birthdays.

“As long as I’m enjoying training and playing, I’m not putting any limits on myself. I still have the fire in me, and the chance to be at a club where the last few years have gone well. It helps. We haven't had a bad season; we’ve been consistent.”


The stakes on Sunday were low, as Reims took on a Rennes side who had, like themselves, long secured their safety, but were also too far from the European places to reel in the likes of Lens and Lyon Pre-match, a massive tifo of Abdelhamid was unveiled at the Stade Auguste-Delaune, and when a penalty was awarded just after the break, the captain stepped up to give his side the league, capping a wholly successful spell in eastern France.

Born in Montpellier, Abdelhamid had spent several years in Ligue 2 with first Arles-Avignon and then Valenciennes before joining Dijon in the top flight in 2016 on a free transfer. After struggling for playing time amid a nervy campaign in which the team barely avoided relegation, he dropped back down to the second tier to join an ambitious Reims side for the 2017/18 season.

With just 24 goals conceded, Reims won Ligue 2 by fifteen points, and have been a mainstay in Ligue 1 ever since. In the COVID-19-shortened 2019/20 season, the club even finished sixth, qualifying for the UEFA Europa Conference League. Last season, under Will Still, the team reeled off an incredible nineteen-match unbeaten run to comfortably avoid relegation, jockeying for a return to Europe.

The current campaign has been less thrilling, but Abdelhamid featured in every match save those when he was away at AFCON, showing he still has what it takes to succeed. Wherever he heads next, though, his time at Reims will be fondly remembered, assuring his status as a legend of the club.