It’s quite telling that, the day after Hugo Lloris’ heroics in goal helped ensure Tottenham Hotspur earned an impressive Champions League point against Real Madrid, reports emerged in the media linking him with a summertime move to the very same club he played against.
Lloris hasn’t always had the best relationship with Tottenham Hotspur, especially just after Andre Villas-Boas was sacked from the club in 2013. He has since admitted that he was considering a move away from the club after Tim Sherwood’s brief tenure in north London. But in the past year, Lloris has said repeatedly that he is committed to Tottenham Hotspur, and more specifically, to Mauricio Pochettino.
Tuesday night’s result at the Bernabeu only confirmed his belief.
“From the first moment I believed in Pochettino, and that's it. I don't need that to say yes, I was right at the time. It was my feeling when I met him. Now I just enjoy the football we play. There is a great potential in the squad, a great project in our club, and I am looking forward to see this development. I try my best to help the team and the club to develop too.”
Lloris had seven saves against the Madridistas, at least two of which should be considered world-class stops: the diving reaction stop of Karim Benzema’s point-blank header, and a reaction tip of a stunningly powerful blast from Cristiano Ronaldo. As impressive as Spurs were overall, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t think Lloris was the best player on the pitch in Madrid.
That sentiment was echoed by Pochettino, who lavished his starting keeper with praise.
"I think Hugo was fantastic. The performance of Hugo today is one that deserves praise from everyone.
"Sometimes in the Premier League we were talking, myself telling you that Hugo Lloris is one of the best and today you got to see why I told you a lot of times Hugo Lloris is one of the best in the world.”
For Hugo, the point at the Bernabeu was just confirmation that Tottenham are heading in the right direction, and that Pochettino is the man to take the club even further. Not only that, Lloris sees the club growing in front of his eyes, and he likes what he sees.
"This is what I said to them, to my team-mates: Don't forget that three years ago we were still in the Europa League. Last season we discovered the Champions League. But we were very disappointed with the performances that we had. And I think we built a strong confidence from the start of this competition, with a good win against Dortmund, we confirmed that win in Nicosia, and you can see Dortmund drew [there] so it's not an easy place to go."
“The most important thing in football is to stay up there, the next game will be more important, and even more the other game, and we can expect a very tough game in Wembley against Madrid. We can enjoy now, but then we switch off and turn our minds to the next game."
Spurs are in the middle of a brutal stretch of matches. This Sunday, they host top-four rivals Liverpool at Wembley Stadium before hosting West Ham in the League Cup, traveling to Manchester United, and hosting Real Madrid in the return fixture on November 1. A home match against Crystal Palace is then prelude to the first North London Derby at the Emirates on November 18. If they are to progress strongly out of this series of fixtures, they will need Hugo, and his belief in the Tottenham project.