Hugo Lloris wears two armbands — one for club as captain of Tottenham Hotspur, and the other for country, as captain of France’s national team. He’s had an outstanding and laudable career in goal for both teams, helping take Spurs to the Champions League final last May and lifting the World Cup trophy with France the previous summer.
But while goalkeepers age differently than outfield players, Lloris is now 32 years old and can see that the end of his professional career is significantly closer than the start. In very interesting comments reported in France Football and the Evening Standard, Hugo understands this and says he’s unlikely to finish his career where he’s spent the previous seven seasons — at Tottenham.
“You have to know how to say stop at the right time, but I’m not against the idea of discovering something new. It can be the United States for example. I don’t know.
“I always had trouble looking at the medium term. I am more focused on the short term. In football, things are changing so fast. We are here, tomorrow, we are elsewhere. You have to be careful with the answers. After that, I can finish there too. We’ll see.
“I never really opened the doors [to the idea of leaving Tottenham] because I felt like I was happy where I was. It’s not a lack of ambition on my part, it’s just that I’m part of a project and every year I’ve seen the progress to reinforce my decision.
“If tomorrow I felt there was a regression, certainly I’d then ask the question [about leaving].”
As football fans we don’t like thinking about our favorite players leaving for new challenges or opportunities. Tottenham fans know this all too well as most of us spent the majority of this summer expecting Christian Eriksen to depart the club for Spain. That particular can has merely been kicked down the road.
But for Hugo, the time will come when it will be time for Spurs to find his permanent replacement. Likely that will come when he’s in his mid-30s, when he’s maybe lost a degree of reaction time, or a little bit of height on his jumps. And frankly, as an American fan it’s a little exciting to think about the possibility of Hugo playing football in the United States to close out his career — he would almost certainly be a designated player-caliber talent for any MLS club.
Thankfully, the day that Hugo leaves Spurs is still down the road a ways, and he says that he’s still happy at Spurs, his relationship with Mauricio Pochettino, and what the club is accomplishing under his leadership.
“I have a strong relationship with [Pochettino]. On the human level too. And that does not distort the professional relationship at all. We make the difference. The current is going the right away. I like his football ideas, I like his personality. We move together. I am very proud to be part of his team.
“The thing that has to change for us is to win a major trophy. We had this opportunity in the Champions League, we were also not far in the Premier League a few years ago. But there is regularity, the club is competitive. I can tell the difference between the state of the club from the day I arrived to today. The club has evolved at incredible speed.
“With humility and honesty, it’s worth noting that Tottenham does not have this club profile to claim to win the Champions League every year. So, we can not speak of this defeat as a failure. Far from it. It’s a big win for the club, a big step forward.”