On December 23 against Amiens (1-1), Jimmy Briand played his 400th match in Ligue 1. With 89 goals, the Bordeaux striker is the second best scorer in the championship in activity, behind Edinson Cavani. His best goal, his ugliest, the one he dreams of scoring, his favorite victim: the striker born 33 years ago in Vitry-sur-Seine (94) pours out before moving his team to Nice this Saturday night (8 pm).
400 games in Ligue 1, what is it?
JIMMY BRIAND. Being a professional footballer was a child's dream. When you are a young person from the Paris region like me, or elsewhere, we all have this dream in mind, but I managed to achieve it. I was talking about it again at Christmas with my friends. So to cross this barrier of 400 matches, it can only be pride. This shows the journey accomplished. But I'm trying to go higher now.
You are the second highest scorer in activity in the championship …
It is also a great pride. My friend Bafé Gomis and also Alex Lacazette were in this ranking but they left. It shows that I have lasted and it is the hardest in football. I have often been criticized for not being strong enough in my career, being too selfless. So yes, I could have put more, yes I missed a lot of opportunities. But when I see my stats, I think I helped my teammates win. The striker is an important player, but the team is even more important.
What is your best goal?
I hesitate between two. The first of my career against Montpellier was important. I'm 18 and he throws me. It's a great memory. But hey, the most beautiful is with Lyon against Nancy (Editor's note: February 18, 2011). We lead 3-0, we turn the ball. Bastos shifts Réveillère which centers at the second post. It's an aerial ball and I try a complicated gesture, a return acrobatic and it returns. The action is beautiful.
What do we feel about the moment?
I tell myself that I am still alive! Because at the time, I did not play too much. This gesture shows that I do not doubt because otherwise I never try it! On the spot, I do not think about the beauty of the gesture, but with hindsight yes because it was a sacred goal. And at the time, we talked about it because Wayne Rooney had written one like that at about the same time (Editor's note: against Manchester City, February 10).
And the ugliest of your career?
It's this season against Saint-Etienne. My shot is totally missed but I hit the ball enough to score. This is an important goal because we open the score (Editor's note: 3-2 for Bordeaux). You know, I often look at other attackers since I started. And when I saw how Pipo Inzaghi celebrated his goals, which were often not very pretty, I quickly understood. You have to celebrate every goal, beautiful or ugly, as if it were the best of your career. Because they all count so much.
What is your first sensation when you score?
It depends on the context. If it's a classic match, I see it as a reward for the team. That's why we always meet around the scorer. And if it's a goal that wins an important match, the feeling is even more enjoyable. There is the sound of nets, but it is not always heard, and especially the joy of the public. Make people happy, it's priceless.
What is your favorite gesture?
The most efficient. I often try to anticipate the goalkeeper's reaction to play against the foot. Since I do not have a big shot, I often try to place. I prefer the dish of the foot because one has a better control. In one against one, it's a little psychological war. I know what I'm going to do and the guard knows where he wants to take me. We have the advantage because we have the ball but we must make the right choice. And always questioning because everyone knows my characteristics.
What is your favorite victim in the guards?
When he was living in Nice and Lyon, it was Hugo Lloris. He was very successful and I scored a lot against him. But when we played together at OL, I never told him about it (smile). When you see his career and the guardian he has become, I'm proud to have been his hangman at one time.
And whoever succeeds you the least?
It's Ben (Ed. Benoît Costil, the goalkeeper of the Girondins). He often made me miseries. When I arrived in Bordeaux, he chambered me from day one. Because last season, he stopped my penalty. So I'm happy to play with him now!
What is your scorer model?
We are lucky to have it in our championship, my model is Cavani. It matches the attacker profile I love. He's a great striker and when you see what he does for the team, it's impressive. He runs all the time! Me who has a little style, but without the finish, I like to see an attacker who defends and who has the clarity to score. Sometimes he is decried because it can happen to him to miss an opportunity. But for true football connoisseurs, you have to admire him because he's a team player. It's incomprehensible to criticize him.
What is the goal you dream to score?
I already scored in a final or a derby (NDLR: Saint-Etienne-Lyon, November 10, 2013). But to be decisive for my team in a final final, it would be good for me.
JIMMY BRIAND IN FIVE DATES:
August 2, 1985. Birth in Vitry-sur-Seine (94).
May 20, 2003. First match in Ligue 1: PSG Rennes 0-0.
May 23, 2004. First goal in L1: Rennes-Montpellier 4-0.
October 11, 2008. First of his 5 selections in France team in Romania (2-2).
April 28, 2012. First trophy: Coupe de France, Lyon-Quevilly 1-0.