Le Beau Jeu Podcast

EXCLUSIVE - Hoarau: 'Eh, Zlatan, give me five minutes please!'

Publish on 22/05/2020 at 11h29 - D. CROSSAN


Speaking exclusively to Le Beau Jeu, the official Ligue 1 podcast, ex-Paris Saint-Germain striker Guillaume Hoarau explained how the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic spelt the beginning of the end of his French capital dream.

Signed from Le Havre in 2008 after top scoring in Ligue 2, the tall striker from the Indian Ocean island of La Réunion had a stellar debut campaign at PSG, plundering 17 Ligue 1 goals. French international honours followed but when QSI took over in 2011 things began to change. Coach Antoine Kombouaré was sacked during the 2011-2012 winter break, replaced by Carlo Ancelotti. And in the summer of 2012 Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined from AC Milan, casting a giant Swedish shadow over Hoarau.

LISTEN: Guillaume Hoarau's Le Beau Jeu exclusive interview

Speaking to Robbie Thomson, Hoarau takes up the story from the moment the Qatari investment arrived: "At the beginning we were excited because we were like, oh, the big team is coming and - wow - that's nice. They told me it would be a big team and I'd be part of it so without any promises I said to myself I'd do what I always do and fight for my position. Nobody has a certain place on the pitch. Then when they bought Ibrahimovic I said 'hmm, that will be difficult you know' because there was Ibrahimovic, (Kévin) Gameiro, Jérémy Ménez, a lot of strikers.

"I was fighting for my position"

"(Carlo) Ancelotti when he arrived we were first in the table and they fired (Antoine) Kombouaré for Ancelotti. We said there won't be any gifts to anyone, no privileges and Leonardo told us 'Look, the new ship is cruising and you have a choice to either you keep strong and you jump on the boat and fight for your position (or not)'. So I said to myself that I'd stay and try my best. Ancelotti was one of the best coaches I ever had with his human side and knowing how to talk with the players. I was fighting for my position and I was always in the squad, on the bench, and I was waiting for my minutes.


"That's what was hard at the beginning because you lose your position in the starting eleven and then you go on the bench and then you say 'Ok, Ibrahimovic is playing so it's normal you know' but he was playing every game and sometimes I was joking with him and saying 'Eh, Zlatan, give me five minutes please' and he'd look at me like 'No'. This guy is crazy and I really had a lot of pleasure training with him. But after that when you know that even on the bench there is no more space you start to wonder what you should do now.

"When they bought Beckham I understood it was more than just a club"

"And then when they bought David Beckham I understood it was more than just a club that they wanted to reach the world. I understood how the business works and Beckham was for the image of the club. I understood I didn't have my place there anymore. Where would I sit? There was no more space on the bench. Sitting in the stands for one or two games is nice but then after that, then what? So I said to myself that I'd finish the season and then see for next year.

Watch "Paname", Hoarau's new music video


"How can I leave Paris to go to another club in France?"

"During the Christmas break the Chinese called me and the Chinese are crazy, they just give you a cheque with a lot of zeroes on it. I said to myself 'How can I leave Paris to go to another club in France? That's just impossible'. I just took my opportunity because I started my career late so I knew that it was a lot of money and I still had my music dream, so everything was planned out in my head. I knew if I took the risk then I wouldn't regret it. That's why I went to China, other clubs were talking but there was nothing serious because the salary was too high or blah blah. I went to China and that was a mistake because it was a real mess there but you just know it when it happens to you. After this I came back and five years later I'm in Switzerland still!"

Since 2014 Hoarau has been prolific for Young Boys in Switzerland, regularly playing Champions League football and winning the Swiss league in 2018 and 2019. His musical career has gone from strength to strength too with "Paname" released during lockdown.