While he has just extended his contract with Troyes, international central defender Adil Rami spoke at length on Thursday at the microphone of BFM Côte d’Azur. All smiles, the world champion does not skip any subject and gives himself up without filter.
Adil Rami, why did you choose to extend to Troyes?
Ligue 1 is a very good brand. As my friend Kylian (Mbappé) would say, football has changed. I wanted to see it again this year. It is an honor and a pride to show my longevity, to last. It’s something strong. When you start a career at 16-17, everyone talks about it. But continuing to play at 36-37-38 is a source of pride. I haven’t had the chance to start my career early but I’m lucky to finish it late.
The fact that your first season at Troyes went well played a part in your decision…
Of course, I got to know the city, the club, the team members. I took more time to make up my mind because I needed to respect the institution, Estac, and football. When I was sure that I could return to combat for a year, they could count on me. After discussions, we decided that we could go back for a year.
You’ve played the top and bottom of the board in your career. What’s the hardest?
Today I would answer maintenance. I’m not 20 anymore. I play against boys who are 16-17 years old. It’s much quicker and faster than before. I am almost 37 years old. Physically, it’s hard. Playing the maintenance knowing that you can make people sad, it’s hard.
You pushed several rants against the arbitration last season. What is the problem?
There is no problem. Referees are part of our passion. We are all in the same bag. Just because I mess with my brother doesn’t mean I don’t love him. But there are small adjustments to be made. For the rants, I take advantage of my little notoriety to make myself heard. We play the maintenance. Every point is important. VAR is not always checked. This is the small remark that I made to them. And I don’t know why we don’t put the microphones on so that everyone can hear the dialogue between players and referees, in order to set an example for all the young people who are watching us.
You have faced Messi, Neymar and Mbappé. Are you afraid of them?
Neymar and Messi, I played them when they were at their peak. And when I was at my peak. It’s not now that we’re all 35 that I’m going to fear them (laughs). You play football to meet players like that. For me, it’s an honor to play against this type of players.
How do you judge the level of Ligue 1?
Stronger than before. Very powerful. In terms of players, I think we have one of the strongest leagues in the world. Everyone comes to pick from us. The Germans, the Spaniards, the Italians, the English, they come to pick from the French. Today, we have a very good brand. We should highlight it even more.
Are you worried about the Blues in view of the World Cup?
Worried, we always are. We still have the title. There are adjustments to be made. It’s going to be complicated. There are a lot of young people. It’s a new era. We will have to adapt to the opponent. Everyone wants to hit the world champions. The guys opposite are not going to let go. Above all, we must not forget what made us win four years ago. Talent is one thing but you will have to accept suffering and fight for each other. If we forget that, we won’t get there.
What does Karim Benzema’s return to the Blues inspire in you?
I talked about it very often because I had the impression of being an accomplice of a legend. For me, the story of Karim Benzema who does not return to the France team, it was going to become a legend. I didn’t want to be complicit in any of this. I know Karim as a teammate and also as an opponent. I can say that it is really the best number 9 in the world. I was saying this long before everything is happening now. The problem is that everyone is going their way these days and there are a lot of hypocrites. I’m glad to see him happy. I see him flourishing. He is a super important leader for the next World Cup. We will have to rely on guys like him, like Paul (Pogba), Hugo (Lloris), Raphaël (Varane).
Are there any causes that are close to your heart?
Sure ! There is cyberbullying. And the cause of battered women. It’s something that is close to my heart and that I will never let go of. It’s in me.
Can you tell us about the Bodyguard app…
Oh you know her? It is an application against cyber harassment that is close to my heart. You can see me on Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook… Sometimes I watch thousands of French people who don’t know that I’m watching them. I see a lot of sad young people. That saddens me. All these bad guys – I call them bad guys – don’t yet know that with Bodyguard, we’ll be there to put them out. Behind a screen, you can do a lot of harm. Those who create fake accounts feel like they are protected. Well no. With Bodyguard, we will be able to find them. It is very important to talk about it.
Do you know what you will do after your career?
In my head I am an American. In France, you are put in a box. A player has to be a coach, a consultant… It’s the easiest path I could choose. But in my head it’s Mad Max, it’s going all over the place. I will see later. I have dreams that I will not reveal.
A word about OM, your former club. Were you surprised by Sampaoli’s departure?
No. On the other hand, the departure of Steve Mandanda, a legend from Olympique de Marseille, my friend, surprised me. I wish him all the best in Rennes. It was this departure that shocked me the most.
How do you view OM’s season?
Great season in terms of the rankings. They finished second. I had the chance to play them back and forth. They didn’t impress me that much. The most important thing is that they qualified for the Champions League. I’m happy for the players, the club. We will see what they are capable of doing in the Champions League. I always support them.
Are OM armed enough in the Champions League?
Not today. They need a little more people, experience. I think they lack a little aggressiveness.
What can we wish you?
A lot of things because there will be four descents this season. We’re all going to be on fire… it’s going to be complicated. The objective is to keep Troyes in Ligue 1.