EXCLUDED RMC SPORT – With a Premier League trophy in his luggage, Aymeric Laporte went to Agen, his birthplace, on Friday, where a stadium now bears his name. On this occasion, the Spanish international from Manchester City took a look at his season, his future and La Roja.
RMC Sport: You said in front of your relatives that your career had forced you to make choices. But your ties are in Agen?
Aymeric Laporte: I have my whole family here, it’s already a great chance. I spent more than half my life here. I was born here, it all started here. I’m happy to go back to basics.
Having a stadium named after him is unreal, isn’t it?
Yes, it’s levels to cross, let’s say. I’m glad the town hall of Agen thought of that. I did not expect it, but I take it with pleasure. Happy to enjoy with my family and all the public.
“I still have three years of contract, I’m happy”
To talk about the sportsman, you are coming off a successful season on a personal level with a fourth Premier League title in five seasons at Manchester City…
Four league trophies yes, but that’s eleven in all. It’s not just the Premier League. It’s very good for the club and for me. I’m happy to benefit people here too by bringing the Premier League trophy. It had never happened. So I’m super happy with this season that I’ve had, despite an injury at the end of the season. I was able to hold on until the end.
You feel fulfilled at Manchester City. Are you staying there next season?
Yes, I’m super happy and fit. The team too. There remains only the common objective, the Champions League, but we will do everything to get it this year.
This Champions League… Does the incredible elimination against Real Madrid in the semi-finals still stick in your throat?
We have it in mind, but it will help us to win it, to improve, to improve our end of the match and to realize the difficulty of winning this competition. I hope we will do better and win it this year.
You said Manchester was your future. But do you see yourself playing in Ligue 1 one day?
For now, that’s not the goal. I still have three years of contract. I’m happy and the club too. I played a lot of minutes: I am the central defender who had the most. I am a reference and I am very happy that the coach and Manchester City have confidence in me. So why not go on for a long time.
To talk about Ligue 1, the appointment of Christophe Galtier as coach of Paris Saint-Germain, is it credible in England?
Any coach is credible to arrive at PSG or in a major European team. There is always a little trick, something to be wary of. We, as City, have to watch our performance and no one can beat us.
A recurring adversary of City is Paris despite everything. Was it a surprise for you to see Kylian Mbappé stay at PSG?
It was a surprise to everyone, I think. As a player, we don’t follow the transfer window too much. We are aware, but we will analyze the opponents in each match.
Deschamps and the Blues, “it’s in the past”
You, supporter of the Girondins since childhood, how do you live the situation of Bordeaux?
It’s sad. I also showed my support on the networks this year for the Girondins. It’s a legendary club in Ligue 1 and my club since childhood. I’m quite touched by what happened. But that’s football. I just hope one thing is that they return to the front of the stage in France, but also in Europe.
To talk about the France team, you faced Zinédine Zidane as Real Madrid coach. How would you see his appointment as head of the Blues if that were to happen? Would you regret not playing for France under Zidane?
Yes, that would have been good… He’s a person I appreciate on a human level. As a coach, we have seen his results… There is nothing to say, he is very strong. He also brought a lot to France as a player. The quality he had, it was magic… These are very good memories for me and for my family. I wish him the best for his next steps.
But it is still Didier Deschamps at the head of the Blues. What does this mean to you? Resentment, regret?
It’s from the past.
“Gavi, doing what he does at 17, I’ve never seen that”
How do you feel in the Spanish selection, semi-finalist of the Euro?
Very good. Spain welcomes players very well, it’s a magnificent mentality. The players are very young. I’m almost already one of the veterans of the group. I try to help them, and they also try to help me.
There are young people like Gavi… Is it a phenomenon for you?
He’s magical, he’s amazing. Doing what he does at 17, I’ve never seen that. At that age, I went to the training center very young to kick a ball without thinking that one day I would play in the national team. He imposed himself. He is thoroughly. It’s very good for him and for the team.
What are Spain’s goals at the World Cup, where they are in a tough group (Germany, Japan, Costa Rica)?
Like all great countries: get as far as possible, pass the group stages. In football, you never know what can happen, like losing against the worst and winning against the best. We’ll see.
It’s very hypothetical, but would meeting France at the World Cup excite you or make you nervous?
It has already happened in the League of Nations. It’s true that it does a little something, but you have to stay professional. Football remains a game that we play every day. I should rather think about the game more than the feelings. This will be the most important.
How are you perceived by the media and the Spanish public?
Very well. We had some very good matches, and that helps a lot.
In this transfer window, Manchester City notably recruited Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez…
We made some good recruits. Haaland will bring us space, speed and impact in attack. Something we’ve been missing in recent years, as we were playing without a striker with Pep’s style of play. It will be much better and we hope for more titles.
Can Haaland adapt to Guardiola’s style? Some doubt it…
No idea. But people speak without knowing.
Finally, Benzema Ballon d’Or, is that also your opinion?
Yes, I think Benzema deserves it. He’s been doing great performances for years. He deserves it.