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    Paris FC: “Yes, we are already playing to maintain ourselves”, assures Khalid Boutaïb

    His rupture of the cruciate ligaments on May 14 during the 38th day of L2 was certainly one of the triggers for the big fall of Paris FC. While he had proved indispensable since his arrival in Paris from Le Havre at the end of January 2022, Khalid Boutaïb (36 years old in April) first missed the play-offs against Sochaux (two penalties missed by Name and Alfarela when he was the taker) then observed as a helpless spectator, the difficulties of his team for several months. “I don’t feel more important than anyone else,” tempers the Moroccan international who had almost changed (a goal in 13 minutes), almost single-handedly, the round of 16 of the Coupe de France against Annecy (5-6 on tab) on February 8 during his big comeback.

    “I missed nine months, there were times that were more difficult than others,” he admits. But I stayed close to the band and the guys were always there for me. With Ousmane (Kanté, victim of a ruptured Achilles tendon), we were around the same time and we supported each other throughout the recovery process. I never thought of stopping my career on this injury. It’s in my nature to always give my all, it’s not a question of age. My age, other people tell me about it. I want to prove that I am still capable of performing. As long as I can make the effort, I will continue. I don’t set myself limits, I will only stop when my body and my head tell me to stop. »

    This mental freshness, he draws it from his atypical career, spent a long time with amateurs at home in the Gard (Bagnols-sur-Cèze, Uzès) and punctuated by odd jobs (handling, green spaces, shelving). After nearly becoming a nuclear technician, Boutaïb, who had obtained a 20/20 in maths at the baccalaureate, had been part of the unfinished adventure of Luzenac in 2014. Four years later, he scored a goal at de Gea, during from Morocco-Spain (2-2) to the 2018 World Cup in Russia… “Nothing predestined me to reach this level but in my life, I never gave up. I had the chance to turn pro and I always worked to stay that way. I certainly suffered a very serious injury, but that’s not going to stop me. »

    At the time of his injury, Paris FC could still dream of a rise in L1. The former striker of Gazélec Ajaccio and Strasbourg – two clubs where he experienced accession to L1 with Thierry Laurey on the bench -, found a team which must now think about maintaining itself. “I didn’t come here for that,” admits Boutaib, who also experienced Turkey (Malatyaspor) and Egypt (Zamalek). But the work, we should have already done it last season… ”

    “When we are 13th or 14th after 25 games, it means we are in our place…”

    Injuries and circumstances hastened his comeback. In Laval, he will play his 5th game. “It was not expected that I would play so much, especially in Bordeaux (2-1 loss on February 18). But I will not sulk my pleasure to be on the ground. I’m still missing things but I’m working with the physical trainer to regain dynamism. I’m working to get back to the top. I had a bit of fatigue against Niort (3-0 February 25) but I feel better and better. »

    On Saturday, he missed a great opportunity to open the scoring, just before Guingamp’s first goal. “We should have led 1-0 and we find ourselves at 0-2. I don’t have to gamberger too much and quickly catch up. Laval is an important match not to be scared and not to have pressure on the last matches. The coming week (Amiens and Bastia) will then be important. Yes, we are already playing to maintain ourselves, it’s not taboo to say so… If we managed to be consistent and hold an entire match at a certain level, we wouldn’t be there. But when we are 13th or 14th after 25 games, it means we are in our place… Fortunately, we have a good squad, otherwise it would have been even more complicated. But we pay for our irregularity. We had quality, it’s really a shame to have missed our season anyway… ”

    Match sheet

    LAVAL – PARIS FC, Saturday (7 p.m.), Francis Le Basser stadium. Referee: Mr. Valnet.

    Paris F.C.: Demarconnay – Mason, Bernauer, Kanté, Lefort – Mandouki (cap.), Chergui, Lasne – Guilavogui, Boutaib, Gory. Rep.: Filipovic, Nkambadio (left), Koré, Gueho, Lopez, Chahiri, Kebbal, Iglésias, Mbala. Entr.: Laurey.

    Absent. Hamel, Sanogo, Phiri, Caddy, Hanin (injured), Dabila (choice).

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