"I made a gesture and regret it," admits Nicolas Claire who will leave the club

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Nicolas Claire in Cologne in May 2018. – Patrik STOLLARZ / AFP

  • Nicolas Claire failed to reach agreement on the extension of his contract in Nantes.
  • In March, he announced that he had signed Wednesday night in Aix, an opponent of the HBCN.
  • The French international has no resentment towards its leaders, but does not hesitate to express its misunderstanding about the direction of the club.

Silenced. Without any bitterness. This Wednesday evening (8.30 p.m.) in the H & # 39; Arena,
Nicolas Claire will face Aix, his future club. Half of the center does not know when he may be in the south where a three-year contract is waiting for him, but he says he wants to go there this summer, one year after the end of his lease in Nantes. "There are agreements to be found, to break contracts [l’Aixois Aymeric Minne pourrait faire le chemin inverse]"But I think it will happen," hopes
Nicolas Claire. The person who arrived at the HBCN in 2013 and who participated a lot in the upward trajectory of the club at national and European level wants to turn the page. His wish was to write even more capital letters with his
HBCN, but Claire did not find any common ground with her management. To his annoyance.

When you announced you signed in Aix, you confessed & # 39; difficulty realizing & # 39; that Nantes was ready. Why?

Because I have had many adventures here with a great band. Strong human relationships Nantes, it's been my club since 2013. I always said I wanted to finish here. I even told Gaël Pelletier [le président] in December during the negotiations I saw myself playing nowhere else than Nantes in France. It didn't happen, it's sport. I don't blame anyone, but it's a tear. I have people here that I consider my family. We will not lose sight of each other, but habits will change. There are people I will see less. After sports we know that it is a company.

You have a taste of unfinished?

No, because this team has always progressed and achieved its objectives one after the other. I would like to win a title in the European Cup or a title of champion, especially this year for my last season.

HBCN management has also announced that coach Thierry Anti will not be renewed in a year, just like you. Do you understand this orientation of the club?

For me we renew that when we have the feeling that it is starting to decrease. It has never been our case. We had the best start of the club until the season until December. We did not necessarily understand. Decisions were made by the club. They have often gone in the right direction, so I wish them it works again.

Do you want someone?

No. After this I had a response. I made a gesture [lors de Nantes-Szeged, le 23 février en Ligue des champions, il avait marqué puis avait frotté ses doigts pour symboliser l’argent] and I regret it. It was a response to my disappointment. We are human. I squatted because I had the impression of giving everything every time and not getting a reward at the end. I did not feel betrayed, but misunderstood. It's gone. I am 32 years old, I asked myself. It was a hot response. It will not be the last, but I am sorry I said bad people …

It is sometimes said that you have a great ego. Does it affect you?

But it is important to think that we are the best. We must enter the field and say that we are the strongest and we want to beat everyone else, otherwise we will not play at this level. When I arrived in Nantes, we won against all teams except the top 4. We respected too many of these teams … It's not a fart to say all that, it's the normal ego of the top athlete level.

It is a story about money that meant that you did not renew your contract in Nantes?

It's not just a money story, because the club has some … It gives some something. It is more a matter of club orientation. I am a playmaker, I played for Thierry Anti for nine years in my career. Maybe some people thought that if Thierry left, I should leave too. I felt that way. But I have no resentment because I am going to a very nice project in Aix. I hope to grow this club like I did with Nantes. I hope to bring the spirit that we had here at the beginning.

What will you miss the most when you leave in a few weeks?

It is human. All relationships created with people here such as Rock (Feliho), Olivier (Nyokas) and others. These relationships, I will keep them more than the handball after my career.

How did the fans react when they heard of your departure?

Some were disappointed. But you also know that was very sad when Valero Rivera left for Barcelona three years ago. Two months later they picked up their t-shirts for Dominik Klein [remplaçant de l’Espagnol]. That's the sport.