After the unimaginable highs of the World Cup, where Hugo Lloris was the first of his France team-mates to clasp his fingers around the most coveted trophy in football, the return to regularity was always going to present a unique challenge. Where do you go, after all, once you have reached the pinnacle of the game?
The literal answer to that question is straightforward enough: you go home, and you celebrate the World Cup victory with your country. On a psychological level, though, it is not so easy. Lloris is a markedly level-headed character, a goalkeeper who does not get carried away with the highs or too debilitated by the lows, but even he found himself flattened by the emotional turbulence of winning football’s ultimate prize.
“After the World Cup, the next two or three days there is a lot of celebration, a lot of obligation, towards the country, towards the French Federation, towards the fans,” he says. “And then, after that, you feel so empty. Mentally and physically. It’s a long tournament, it demands a lot of energy and a lot of emotion.
“I remember I needed one day to stay in bed and just stop, to disconnect a little bit because I was completely empty in my body and my mind. And then you just have time to try to enjoy your holiday and then the new season appears. It’s like this, no?”