On Thursday, Lucas Tousart took a seat in Hertha BSC’s media room with a big smile on his face. "I’m sorry I can’t speak to you all in German yet, but hopefully I’ll be able to get up to scratch soon," said the midfielder as he greeted the press in French. With an interpreter on hand to translate, he began to answer the questions of all those present. Among other things, Lucas Tousart spoke about…
... his first impressions of Berlin and his motivation after a long break: I am really looking forward to living here and getting to know the city one step at a time. After playing in Lyon for a long time and having had a great time there, it’s exciting to start out somewhere new! It’s been a complicated time for me of late: For weeks on end I was only able to train and keep fit at home and in the garden. This makes it all the more satisfying to finally be back on a real pitch, playing football. I love this game and I’m happy to be back playing it with my teammates – I really missed it!
... reasons for moving to Berlin and his aims with Hertha: In the last few years, I was able to gain experiences in Europe with Lyon – but that wouldn’t have been possible next year. For this reason, I felt it was the right time to make a change, find a new club, a new league, a new country and grow both as a person and as a footballer. I want us to have a good year in the Bundesliga, finishing higher than last season and ideally qualifying for Europe. Personally, I want to play as much as possible and enjoy my football.
""For weeks on end I was only able to train at home, so it’s all the more satisfying to now be back on a real pitch, playing football. I really missed it!""
... his qualities and his favourite position: Despite my young age, I have a lot of domestic and international experience with the French youth teams and with Olympique Lyon. I would describe myself as an intelligent player, my position requires strategic thinking and quick reactions in the modern game. I’m also very physical, I win a lot of balls back for my team and I often find solutions on the pitch when combining with my teammates. I can play in a central role and in a more defensive midfield position, the latter is where I feel most comfortable.
... his impression of the Bundesliga and the differences from Ligue 1: It’s a competition with lots of good teams, a top level and high intensity. I think this suits a player like me and, as a young player, it’s exciting to get to know a new league. I find the football that gets played here very interesting – the players are unbelievably meticulous and play with such intensity. I had the chance to play against Hoffenheim and Leipzig with Lyon, those were exciting games. There is also a fantastic atmosphere at the grounds in this league, which is always nice for a player and I hope that we can all experience that again soon.
... the media comparing him to Franck Ribéry and his personal football idols: Comparing me to him is a bit tricky, not just because we play in different positions (smirks). Ribéry was a huge player for Bayern and the Bundesliga, scoring lots of goals and winning lots of titles – I admire him! Personally it was obviously Zinédine Zidane who inspired my generation in France. I do hope, however, that I will one day have better memories of the Olympiastadion than him (smiles). Other players who have influenced my game and impressed me are Casemiro and Marco Verratti.
... talking to compatriots who’ve already played in Germany: I spoke to a lot of people who are already playing in the Bundesliga before moving – I know Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konaté and Mainz’s Moussa Niakhaté and Jean-Philippe Mateta from the French youth teams. They had a lot of good things to say about the league, which has given countless young French players the chance to take the next step in their careers.
…his first impressions of Bruno Labbadia: We spoke a few times on the phone while I was still in isolation in France and then again when I arrived here and was looking for a flat. You can tell how much experience he has in the Bundesliga and that he has exact ideas of how he wants his teams to play football. We get on well with one another and I’m looking forward to working with him.
… the importance of learning German to understand his teammates: There is obviously a universal football language on the pitch, but it’s still important that I learn German quickly. That’s the least you can do when you move to a new country as a professional footballer. It’s important so that I can converse with my teammates and understand the instructions of the coaching team. I will start learning German as soon as possible. The lads who can speak French and English are helping me integrate at the moment.
… dreaming of playing for France: Obviously every French player dreams of playing for the national team. That’s not my priority right now though, because there is so much competition. I am simply concentrating on settling in at Hertha and playing well here.
… the meaning of his shirt number 29: Firstly, my birthday is 29th April. It’s also a number I have had for the past few years of my career.
… his living situation and his hobbies: My girlfriend has come with me. We are really happy that we have found a nice flat in a really nice district. We have already started to settle in. My partner is currently exploring our new area on her own a lot, as I’m often at the training ground. We are looking forward to be able to explore things together when I have the time. In my free time, I like to relax at home and I enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and my family. Spending time with them and recharging my batteries is very important to me. It’s obviously complicated right now, but my parents will come and visit me in Berlin soon, which will be nice. I also like watching films or TV series.