‘The film industry, Dr. Dre, GTA’: Hugo Lloris on his time at LAFC so far

Hugo Lloris (37) was ready for one final challenge. Last summer, the Frenchman left Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur after eleven years of service for the North London club to join Major League Soccer outfit Los Angeles Football Club.

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There is a tendency to assume that the first motivation of players choosing to make the move across the Atlantic Ocean is a financial one, but the rumours of Lloris’s (relatively) modest monthly wage (30,000€ according to L’Équipe) seem to disprove that assumption. Indeed, it seems like the 2018 World Cup winning captain has chosen to prioritise lifestyle over financial gain, rejecting more lucrative offers from the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Newcastle United, OGC Nice and PSV Eindhoven: 

” In terms of population, it seems to get bigger with every move, but I think we’ll stop here. The film industry, Dr. Dre, GTA.. I played this game so much on the Playstation that I had the impression that I knew all the landmarks of the city without having been here.”

There are many things to adapt to when making a move so far away from home, but that is something that the former Olympique Lyonnais man has taken in his stride, describing his daily routine:

“If everything goes to plan, the morning commute takes around 50 minutes, compared to the 45 minutes it took in London. In the mornings, I eat breakfast with the kids and then I start the drive to training when they go to school. Given the time difference (8 hours behind London, 9 behind France), it’s the best time of the day to talk to family and friends on the phone, but on the return journey everyone in France is asleep, so I put some music on. The journey doesn’t weigh on me, probably for the best in Los Angeles”.

Lloris is clearly embracing American culture and is vocal about his love of American muscle cars, Hollywood films that he watched with his grandfather and the different landscapes and scenery that the US offers. With European teams regularly choosing the country as a base for lucrative pre-season tours, he has visited the country with Lyon and Spurs in the past, but never the West Coast: 

“I’ve met many French people here who came and never left. I’m not saying this is what will happen to us, but I understand the idea.

I want to see everything, NBA, American football, the NFL as well as college football. We found a ski resort just an hour and a half away too, if we ever get a few days off, maybe we’ll head to Colorado.”

Last weekend saw Lloris deliver a vintage performance on his debut for last season’s MLS Cup finalists, as LAFC just about got over the line against big Western Conference rivals Seattle Sounders with a 2-1 win at BMO Stadium. Famous faces are never far away in the city of Angels and the Frenchman had the opportunity to talk with part owner Will Ferrell, as well as Ted Lasso actors Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt after the game. 

As remarked by other famous former MLS stars such as Steven Gerrard and David Beckham, a huge plus of plying one’s trade Stateside is the relative anonymity it affords. With the soccer spotlight firmly on Miami and Lionel Messi, Lloris is enjoying a more tranquil way of living, including visiting Universal Studios with his family: 

“Here, I don’t need to wear a scarf and a hat like I would have to at Disneyland Paris, everything is more peaceful. I have maybe had ten people asking me for selfies throughout the day, especially Latinos. Those are the main football fans here”.

So why LAFC? Why not retirement?

” I didn’t want to retire, but if I didn’t get the opportunity that matched my criteria, it could’ve happened. Things went well, I did the right thing in refusing some mediocre offers last summer. When LAFC contacted me in December, the flame and the enthusiasm came back very quickly. I couldn’t have found a more competitive club. They are playing for titles but there is still a very human aspect here, football allows you to travel and I am privileged to do so.”

That human aspect is very present at BMO stadium, as at the end of every game the player’s families join them on the field to applaud and salute LAFC’s vociferous fanbase. At 37 years old, Lloris’s priority is to be competitive on the field but also to have a peaceful and relaxed life away from the field with his young family. In Los Angeles, he seems to have found his happy place after a difficult ending to his time at Tottenham. It will be an even happier place if Lloris can help Steve Cherundolo’s LAFC side re-capture the MLS Cup they won in 2022. 

GFFN | Jack McArdle

 

 

 

 

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