Profile : Veteran Benjamin Stambouli raring to go with Reims

Profile : Veteran Benjamin Stambouli raring to go with Reims

Publish on 02/08 at 16:54 - G. BOXALL


Coming from a family steeped in French footballing history, double Ligue 1 champion Benjamin Stambouli found his own way with PSG and Montpellier. After stints in the Premier League, Bundesliga, and most recently in Turkey ; the veteran midfielder is now back for more in Ligue 1 with Reims.

It was a busy deadline day in the Champagne region after a mostly quiet January for Stade de Reims: after signing Almeria’s Sergio Akieme, the club announced the signing of experienced defensive midfielder Benjamin Stambouli on a free transfer. The former PSG man became available to Will Still’s side after terminating his contract with Turkish Süper Lig side Adana Demirspor, where he joined in 2021 and was club captain this season.

Stambouli: a family steeped in French football history

“I’ve always had a desire to pass on my experience,” said the veteran midfielder on signing for Reims last week. “My father, my uncle, and my grandfather were coaches and trainers. I have a pedagogical approach within me.”

For many followers of Ligue 1, Benjamin Stambouli is a familiar face. The Stambouli name is also recognisable. Benjamin’s father, Henri Stambouli, was a notable manager of Olympique de Marseille in the 1994-1995 season after winning the Champions League as an assistant coach with Les Olympiens in 1993. His grandfather even managed Monaco, Strasbourg and was an assistant coach for Les Bleus at international level.

Born into this French football family, Benjamin signed his first professional contract and made his debut for Montpellier in 2010-11. His journey with the Hérault side would see him help the club clinch their first-ever Ligue 1 title in the following season, with the midfielder playing 26 league games on the way to becoming French champions. Stambouli would continue with Montpellier for another two years, where he became vice captain of the club, before joining the Premier League and Tottenham Hotspur in 2014.

The Premier League, Bundesliga and return to Ligue 1

After only making 12 appearances for Spurs, Stambouli would return to Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain. He made a total of 40 appearances for the club, clinching all four domestic trophies (including a second Ligue 1 title) before making the move to Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga.

"Each Championship has its own particularities, but I'd say that Ligue 1 is by far the most tactically demanding,” said the Frenchman on his second return to French football. “I think it's evolved quite a bit, particularly in terms of physical fitness. It's also become more competitive, and today we're able to retain a little more talent than we used to.”

It’s been a busy start to life at Reims, with Stambouli making his debut in a goal-crazy 3-2 loss last weekend to Toulouse at Stade Auguste Delaune. Reims will travel to Brittany to face relegation-battling Lorient this Sunday (15:00 CET).

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