‘It was the best moment of my career’ – Nuno Tavares reflects on Marseille loan spell

In the coming weeks, Nuno Tavares (24) will return to the field after suffering an injury that has kept the fullback on the sidelines for Nottingham Forest since the 24th of February. 

The East Midlands side have hardly seen the best of Tavares since he joined the club on loan this summer from Arsenal. He appeared to be untrusted by Steve Cooper, who used him only in the dying stages of three games before a change in management saw more game time for the Portuguese fullback. 

This injury setback came at a cruel time for a player still finding his feet in a new environment and meant that Tavares has yet to show consistently the potential that made him such an intriguing prospect last season when he played on loan for Olympique de Marseille

‘I loved Marseille’ – Nuno Tavares 

Speaking to L’Équipe, Tavares reflected on his time at the French club, “It was the best moment of my career. I got some interesting stats. In France, football is more physical, faster than in Portugal. It’s not as “competitive” as the Premier League, but I really liked French football for its intensity.

The fullback pointed towards the treatment he received from the Marseille manager at the time, Igor Tudor, as part of the reason why it had worked out so well for him, “It’s always different when a club and a coach trust you, bet on you. Igor Tudor is the coach who placed the most trust in me with Jorge Jesus [at formative club Benfica].”

In Marseille I was happy. I felt a bit like I was in Lisbon. The streets, the people, certain places: in many ways, the two cities are similar and I loved Marseille. The Benfica stadium is prettier but the atmosphere is even stronger, more intense at the Vélodrome.” A contrasting environment to the one Tavares now finds himself in, “Here it’s as if we’re living in a village, but players also need this quiet to be calm and efficient.”

A clash tonight will see Tavares’s first club host the team where it had worked out best for him, and the fullback remained coy on who he would prefer to win out of the two. “I can’t say. I felt very good in Marseille and at Benfica, where I was trained, where I started with he pros, and which felt like my second home. My heart will be divided. Let’s hope that these are two good matches and may the best team win.” 

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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