Speaking to the press for the first time since Wales’ early exit from the Qatar World Cup, OGC Nice midfielder Aaron Ramsey spoke about the shock around Gareth Bale’s retirement, whilst also admitting that he found it difficult to get over Wales’ World Cup campaign.
Wales qualified for their first World Cup since 1958 in 2022. However, having got to Qatar, Wales only registered a single point and slumped to disappointing defeats at the hands of England and Iran. Speaking ahead of Nice’s derby against local rivals AS Monaco on Sunday, Ramsey spoke to Get French Football News’ Luke Entwistle about the underwhelming campaign.
“It was important for me to be around my family.”
“It was a massive disappointment for me personally. Obviously, when you qualify for a World Cup, you want to go there and show why you deserve to be there and we didn’t quite manage to do that. It was a massive disappointment. Looking back and reflecting on the World Cup campaign, we did an amazing job to qualify in the first place. We were the first team to do that for many years so we can be proud of what we achieved as a team together. Sometimes these things happen and they don’t pan out the way you want them to,” said Ramsey.
He continued, “It was important for me to be around my family, to reset and to refocus on the job at hand here. The club were fantastic with me, I was in constant dialogue with them, with the sporting director (Florent Ghisolfi) every day, with the fitness guys, keeping on top of things. I needed that time off to reset for me to be able to do that and come back and be in the best shape mentally and physically to help the team.”
Ramsey announces he will continue playing for Wales
Ramsey already has 78 caps for Wales, and he is intent on accruing many more, confirming his desire to continue with the national team. “Yes, of course. I still feel like I can offer a lot and I’m very excited about what the future holds for us as a country. There are some great young players that are playing at the highest level, playing in the Premier League, very ambitious players who want to taste more success and now qualify for the next European Championships so I’m very excited about that. Of course, the World Cup was a big disappointment, but that’s gone now. That’s the past. It’s about looking forward and the next campaign will be here before we know it and we will be wanting to get off to a good start and hopefully qualify for that championship.
“What Bale has done for Welsh football has been absolutely phenomenal.”
Ramsey also revealed that Bale’s retirement, not just from international football, but football entirely came as a shock. “It was a big shock. For him and what he’s done for Welsh football has been absolutely phenomenal. We’ll be forever grateful for the way that he represented us and for all those magical moments that he gave to us as a team, and as a country,” he told Get French Football News’ Luke Entwistle.
“As for Joe Allen as well, who recently retired. He’s been absolutely instrumental to our success over the last eight, nine, ten years. He’s been such a big part of that success and he’ll be a massive miss. These things happen. Change is forever happening. We have to be able to deal with this and move on as a nation. I’m sure that with these young hungry players coming through there’ll be plenty of opportunities for them to go out there and show what they’re capable of and make a name for themselves as well and go down in Welsh history,” he continued.
“Maybe I speak with Aaron Ramsey more than others.”
Nice manager, Didier Digard didn’t delve into the contents of his discussions with Ramsey post-World Cup but did tell Get French Football News’ Luke Entwistle that he perhaps speaks with the Welsh international more than others. “We speak a lot. That’s also my way of doing things. Maybe I speak with Aaron more than others. Football for me is important but not a priority in my life. I now think I have experienced enough in life to understand that, but it mustn’t be put in front of the things that are truly primordial,” said Digard.
GFFN | Luke Entwistle