Former Lorient, Marseille and Lyon defender Jérémy Morel has announced that he has decided to call time on a glittering career that has seen the Malagasy international rack up over 400 Ligue 1 Uber Eats appearances.
Morel, now 38, has announced the end of a long and storied career in France's top flight following an injury-plagued final season with boyhood club Lorient. The left-back/central defender spent the summer training with National side Concarneau, but a recurrence of his injury left him little choice and now the story has come to an end.
"Frankly, I thought it would be much harder than this. Last season, I was constantly injured, I would get injured, come back and get injured again. Without the reward at the end - that is to say being on the field. I've always liked putting my body on the line, but this time it was a but too complicated [laughs]. And then I said to myself that I was 38 years old, that I had been lucky enough to play the last three matches and to achieve the goal of helping the side stay in the league. That was the moment. Looking back, if someone had told me that I would have the career I've had, I wouldn't have believed it for a second."
In his almost 20 seasons at the highest level, with Lorient, Marseille, Lyon and Rennes, Morel made 425 top flight appearances (ten goals) and claimed one Trophée des Champions (OM, 2011) and one Coupe de la Ligue (OM, 2012).
'I pushed my limits'
"I'm just happy to have been able to do this job, which was a hobby at the start," he smiled. "Football has given me a lot, not only in sporting terms, but also in human terms. Sometimes, I discovered unsuspected qualities like that first season in Marseille where I was very heavily criticised. I already knew that I was mentally tough but I think I pushed my limits that year. What I learned in this environment is that if you are not ready to suffer, to roll with the punches, then you will not progress."
And what did his time at the top bring?
"Pride, of course, and the possibility of playing in incredible competitions like the Champions League," he explained. "What is most gratifying is to have succeeded in imposing myself each time, to have made a place for myself, whereas I was never seen as a winner at the start."
Morel, a full Madagascar international (11 caps, one goal) who helped his nation on their sensational run to the AFCON quarter-finals in 2019, made his senior debut with Lorient - where he joined the youth academy aged just ten - all the way back in 2003.