Hamari Traoré

Hamari Traoré: From Ligue 1 to the Champions League

Hamari Traoré: From Ligue 1 to the Champions League

Publish on 02/14 at 05:30 - E. RAZO


Hamari Traoré will return to France with the aim of causing disruption for Paris Saint-Germain, the only Ligue 1 team remaining in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage. The 32-year-old had a lengthy tenure in Ligue 1 but moved to the Spanish side last summer.

Real Sociedad will take on Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie. While Traoré hails from Mali, this match holds a special significance akin to a homecoming, given his extensive career spent in France.

Before breaking through in Ligue 1, the veteran defender had spent most of his career in France, having first tried to make a name for himself with Paris FC during the club's time in the Championnat National, where he made 15 appearances for the senior squad. 

Following a three-year stint in Belgium, he then moved to Stade de Reims during their tenure in Ligue 1. He remained committed to the club even after their relegation to Ligue 2 in 2016. Traoré returned to Ligue 1 the following year after signing with Stade Rennais, and his career flourished.

During his time with Rennes, Traoré was considered one of the best right backs in Ligue 1. In a 2022 interview with Onze Mondial, the former Rennes player noted what it meant to be among the best at his position in the league.

"It's nice. I always had this goal in mind: to be recognized as one of the best. The hardest part is staying there (at that level). Today, I am among the best, and it is up to me to continue to progress and move forward to remain among the best because there are plenty of good full-backs in Ligue 1."


"... Being named as one of the best makes me happy. It means that my work is recognized. It's up to me to continue this momentum and do even more."

The now Real Sociedad defender also credits Rennes with helping him mature as a player. He understood the importance of being an all-around right-back rather than one who is only known for his offensive traits.

"At the beginning, I was just an offensive player; I had many defensive shortcomings. I have made enormous progress on all defensive aspects; I am better in duels and in my positioning in particular. I have also matured; I handle situations better; I am calmer; I handle game situations better; I am less often angry; I stay in my bubble."

"Offensively, I have found the right way to play; I have improved a lot. I am more decisive than before, yet I had the same opportunities back then. I am managing the balance between attack and defense better. All this is also thanks to the staff of Stade Rennais, who have helped me a lot, especially with all the video work."

Traoré made 239 appearances for Rennes across all competitions during his six seasons with the Brittany-based club. He also won the only trophy of his career with Rennes, winning the 2019 Coupe de France on penalty kicks over PSG. Traoré now intends to once more be a constant nuisance to PSG throughout the two legs.



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