Grébille continues his rise to the top
Born in Martinique, 21-year-old Mathieu Grébille will captain his side against HSV Hamburg on Sunday. The left back/centre back, who scored 40 goals in 13 games during last season’s French League, started with the Montpellier B-team just four years ago after arriving from his homeland.
Now, Patrice Canayer has given him a massive vote of confidence by appointing him captain to signal a new era for the team.
Your first professional match in Montpellier was in 2009. What do you remember from it?
Mathieu Grébille: It was just before I turned 18, against Aurillac. I come on and almost straight away a seven-meter throw is given. I shoot it, I miss it. But I made amends shortly after by scoring, thanks to a super pass from Michael Guigou.
What do you remember of the Barcelona game last year? You played well, didn't you?
Mathieu Grébille: When the opposing team is strong it takes a lot of pressure away from me, because I don't have anything to lose. Last year was a special year for me, I've had my share of injuries. Just before the Barcelona game we played in Tremblay. I played on the wing and I think I scored seven goals. Guigou was injured. Since I had played well in the game before the coach asks me to play winger again. I admit that I've had a lot more pressure. One of my friends told me "if you make it, then great, but I you fail, they will tell that it's normal because you're the youngest played on the court." He was right and I had nothing to lose. I scored the first goal and the arena went mad. It was huge!
Now you're the captain – how does that feel?
Mathieu Grébille: I didn't expect it, the circumstances were strange. But I understood that for the club's image it had to be a young player, and I thought it was a good idea that it was someone who had been at the club for a while. There are lots of great players in this team. The real captain is Guigou, but he's injured at the moment. I'm not left on my own though. I haven't changed anything, I'm still the same player, I try to be an example.
Gregory Anquetil says that you're one of the most intelligent player he's seen, what do you make of it?
Mathieu Grébille: I don't think that it's the thing you think of first when you see me. I hear a lot of people say that my physical abilities are great, but not that I'm more intelligent than other players.
They also say that you're the new Karabatic or a symbol of the renewal of Montpellier. What do you think?
Mathieu Grébille: There’s no way I'm the new Karabatic. It's not that I don't like being compared to him. It's flattering but every player is what he is. When you compare a basketball played to Michael Jordan, it's also flattering. But let's be clear, I haven't done what Karabatic has done. At 19, he won the Champions League by scoring 10 goals in the final. I'm 21 and I've never won the Champions League. He's already won everything and I hope that one day, I'll be able to do that as well. But I'm not Nikola Karabatic, I'm Mathieu Grébille.
How do you see the game against HSV?
Mathieu Grébille: I think the game against Hamburg will be very tough. We just lost against León at home and Hamburg won at León. However, sport is not an exact science. They may seem better on paper but we will play at home with our fans to welcome them. Last time we played them in our Arena, we lost. So it’s a revenge for us.
Which are Montpellier’s goals for this game?
Mathieu Grébille: Whatever the circumstances, we play to win. That is what we will try to do this Sunday. As I said before we will play at home. We have to make this our first victory in the VELUX EHF Champions League. Even though we have only got a draw and a loss so far we are going forward, game by game, and I hope we will be ready for a big game against HSV because it will be tough and everyone will have to play at his best level if we want to win.
What are your main assets to start this game?
Mathieu Grébille: During our last two games in the Champions League we did not start well, but we managed to come back. Even though we did not win we showed many good things, and I think that one of the key factors for victory will be a good start. We also have to be strong in defence. We have a lot of young players but we have experienced players as well, Olympic champions. We definitely want to do well, so we have to give everything we can to win this game together.
Read the interview in French on the official website of Montpellier Agglomeration HB
Folow the Match of the week live on ehfTV powered by LAOLA1.tv HERE
Find more information about Montpellier Agglomeration HB HERE
Join the growing community of handball fans of Facebook!
TEXT: www.montpellierhandball.com / br