At almost 27 years old, the Strasbourg striker has not followed a classic course. He is the embodiment of football from below. Passed by Le Poiré-sur-Vie and Luçon in National, then Clermont in Ligue 2, Ludovic Ajorque joined Strasbourg in 2018. He already has 10 goals, with 4 assists, this season, his best total in the elite. However, it is not of a nature to ignite. Before challenging Lyon this Saturday, he admits to adapting to this form of late recognition and plays resolutely collective.
You had to wait until January 17 to score your first home goal. How do you explain it?
LUDOVIC AJORQUE. You tell me. In addition this season, with the absence of spectators, it is quite particular. We have a little the impression of playing all our matches on neutral ground.
How did you feel, a week later against Dijon, when you reached the 10-goal mark?
A little satisfaction. In 2018-2019, I had stopped at nine. Last year I was at 8 when the championship was cut short. I absolutely wanted to reach this bar. It was, moreover, the first of the head this season. With regard to my size (Editor’s note: 1m96), I had been told about it. It is perhaps because I am more expected in the air sector. The marking is tighter. Afterwards I don’t care what surface area of the body – the back, the thigh, the foot – with which I mark. The main thing is that he brings the three points back to the team.
The fifteen achievements of Mickaël Pagis in 2004-2005 – a record for a Racingman in the 21st century – do they represent an objective?
Why not. It would be good to enter, thus, a little more in the history of the club.
A number 9 always seems to walk on a balancing act. Why is this position so special?
Our role is to score goals, to help the team win matches. It may seem like a banality to say it, but it is the reality. At my post, I’m supposed to rock a meeting. Our performance is always observed and dissected with more attention. We are judged on our efficiency. The hardest part in football is scoring goals.
How do you feel after a goal?
A form of liberation. You are jubilant because you put into practice hours and hours of work in training, where you repeat the same gestures. This is the best thing about an attacker, even if it shouldn’t be an end in itself. You must not tell yourself, I have fulfilled my contract and rest on your laurels but, on the contrary, want to register another.
Isn’t it a little frustrating to score in front of empty stands?
Totally. The explosion of joy remains internal. This indescribable sharing and communion is missing. Everything that contributes to the very essence of football. Hearing its name chanted by a stadium, it brings you, especially here, when you know the fervor of Meinau. The absence of our blue wall, usually present during the warm-up, it is difficult to get used to it. You don’t get used to it. I really hope all this will stop, although I’m not necessarily optimistic, at least in the short term. I don’t know much about it, but we may have to live with this virus for some time.
Your coach ensures that you are under-side. Do you abound?
Clearly, I don’t care how others look. Whether people say good or bad about me, I don’t care. I let everyone speak and I trace my route. As long as my coach, my teammates and our fans are happy and proud of me, that is more than enough for my happiness.
Strasbourg precedes the jump-off by six lengths. Do you clearly play maintenance?
We had our heads in the bag before the holidays. We know where we come from. We managed to get back in the direction of travel. The maintenance monopolizes all our thoughts. It’s up to us to get there as quickly as possible. We will look above if this condition is met. Saturday is Lyon on the program. Metz won there in January. It gives us ideas. We are not going there as victims.
Many observers compare your trajectory to that of Guillaume Hoarau. Do you share this opinion?
We are ten years apart. When I was a teenager, I often watched his games. He was kind of my model. I was already trying to draw inspiration from it. It’s always like that. We had the opportunity to meet in Reunion, during charity matches. I would sign immediately to have the same career as him.
You worked with Corinne Deacon in Clermont. How much was she in your outbreak?
She allowed me to sign in Clermont by giving the green light after my test. She launched me in Ligue 2 and gave me her trust. She held an important place in my career at a time when I was not necessarily in a position of strength. Clermont has really been a springboard club.
Did you understand that she was recently questioned by some players of the France team?
Frankly, it surprised me all these comments about him. After that I do not know all the ins and outs. I can just talk about my personal experience. With her, everything went well.
What have you learned from your two years in National at Poirée-sur-Vie and Luçon?
Before my years in National, when it was necessary to defend, to make the efforts, we saw that I was in Reunion (laughs). When you switch to this level, you can’t hide anymore. You are in a permanent fight. It forged me and hardened me. I knew how to take my responsibilities.
You never got anything easy. Have you built yourself as a man in this form of adversity?
I have made several unsuccessful or unprocessed attempts (Editor’s note: Nantes, Lens, Auxerre), before being retained by Angers without obtaining playing time there except in CFA. I was not prepared enough. Behind I chained by loans. Sometimes I was able to say to myself, “Am I going to do this? I never gave up. I knew how to make sacrifices. When I left Reunion, at 18, I found myself far from my family. It wasn’t obvious. In those moments, if you’re not strong in your head, you don’t get out of it. I did everything to be where I am today.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr