Jérémy Mathieu completed a switch from Barcelona to Sporting Lisbon in the summer and spoke to Portuguese daily Récord about the next phase of his career. Mathieu, 33, formerly represented Valencia in LaLiga and Toulouse and Sochaux in Ligue 1 and retired from international duty in 2016 after earning five caps with France.
“I feel really good,” Mathieu said of his move to Lisbon. “Here my head is clear. There isn’t the same pressure as in Spain. It is demanding but it’s not like Barcelona. You’re also treated differently here. The Spanish press put a lot of pressure on us when was had a bad game. It’s difficult to manage those moments.”
Mathieu also said that he has overcome the physical issues he had last season and that he at the disposal of Jorge Jesus to play as much as possible. “If I don’t get injured I’m ready to play every week. I look after myself before and after training and games. I’m not as quick as I used to be but I still have good acceleration. I think that’s an attribute a defender should have. And now I complement that with positioning.”
Mathieu: "What matters is how I play and represent my club"
The defender also spoke about the fact that he is a smoker, and remains unapologetic about it: “I’m someone who always tells the truth, I have no problem with that. I’m not the first player to smoke and I won’t be the last but when the fans watch me on the pitch they are happy with me. That’s what is important to me. People can think what they think, I’m not bothered. What matters is how I play on the pitch and how I represent my club and nobody can complain about that.”