how Valentin Rongier gives himself body and soul for OM

4:25 PM, March 13, 2022

It seems Jorge Sampaoli’s sometimes unusual choices annoy more than one Marseille player. Valentin Rongier is not one of them. The one who had always played in the middle of the field didn’t flinch when his coach moved him to the right side of the defense. “He took the time to explain me well”appreciates the stakeholder, who in turn informs us: “On paper, I’m part of the defense line. But above all, I should not play as a fullback. † During training, for example, he learns to orient his body in such a way that he does not leave any advantage to his direct opponent, but also to move forward as soon as he gets the ball back. After starting his new path, Rongier was renewed a dozen times in this hybrid position, as Bouna Sarr had been by Rudi Garcia.

Between the tattooed Argentinian and his spotless-skinned Swiss army knife, it’s the perfect match. In January, Rongier kindly poked fun at his N+1 bodybuilding streaks, which were common but had no visible effect on his stocky figure. To dare? “I’ve always had a crazy side, I’m not going to change. † Unless injured, the former Nantes player is rarely left out, “an indirect compliment because the coach only places players who can respond to his philosophy”† It is sometimes confusing when he finds out his position at the last minute. But the puff blond is one of the most regular, which makes him say he is “really mature” for OM, on 27.

To absorb the debauchery of the effort that “Pelado” (the bald one) demanded, he spent last summer sculpting his body with a personal trainer. “It’s probably psychological, but I need to feel strong. I don’t want to look back in a few years and realize that I was too stupid to take any steps. † Depending on his playing time, he treats himself to one extra session per week: rubber bands and small props to improve explosiveness. The English agency that has been managing his career for several months has offered him the services of a dietician and a mental trainer. He hasn’t said yes yet, but won’t hesitate if he sees progress. Even a stepping stone to a first selection in the French team.

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Very proud, “even stubborn”

The prominent muscling under his jersey is an asset to the game, but also a personal satisfaction. “Without being narcissistic, I think it’s important to please myselfhe formulates. I like to see an athletic body when I look in the mirror”† look like a “fifties that would stop all physical activity” would startle him. He is reminded that Dimitri Payet was embarrassingly overweight in the fall of 2020. Rongier doesn’t overpower his captain, fit and decisive again, but he also admits that he was in the dressing room “we wear the ones with a tummy”† He allows himself only two weeks a year deviations and two small kilograms of margin.

This care for the body goes back to his 15 years. In the training center of FC Nantes, the petite Valentin sees the arrival of “big boys from the Paris region” who send him waltzing to duels. “In my head I thought, ‘We’ll see if it’s that easy in two months.’ By working hard, I absorbed the shocks better.” With its 1.72 meters “it was that or do something else” [sa] life “† As it happens, “a job with adrenaline, in the special forces, the Raid or the GIGN”† Very proud, “even stubborn”he never gave up football, even though he was almost always the smallest of his team.

Because of work I have absorbed the shocks better

Versatile both in interviews and in the field, he likes to talk about his precious household robot. “My Thermomix? It’s true, I make soups. My husband likes to cook, but when I get around to it, I can’t bear to miss out on anything. Another matter of pride. † His specialties have surprised more than one: “Because my name is Valentin Rongier, they made fun of me, but I cook mafé and chicken yassa”† Two West African dishes that the sisters or aunts of Abdoulaye Touré, ex-partner of the Canary Islands, prepare once a year.

In Marseille, his striking style won. But whether the team is going through a good period or a bad period, he shoots down the shutters, deaf to… “the culture of the moment”† Canceling an outing after a lost match? Not his type. NOt so long ago, ” just like everyone “ he went to see Stillwater in the cinema, an American thriller set in Marseille. In any case, he is quite homely. He equally assumes that he is the child of a Lyon supporter. “My father grew up there, what do you want him to do there? † He was born on the banks of the Saone, in Mâcon, and sees no reason to denigrate OL, “a nice stable”even if he is aware that “some Marseille supporters will cringe”.