Hugo Lloris, #1

Lloris is viewed as one of the best goalkeepers in world football and he has completed a stellar rise for a player who did not even travel to Euro 2008.

After breaking into the Nice first team with five league appearances at the end of the 2005-06 season, Lloris was soon a losing finalist in the 2006 Coupe de la Ligue final when Nancy triumphed 2-1. Having spent the following two seasons as Nice’s number one, Lloris outgrew the side from the French Rivieira and at the age of 21, he snubbed a move to AC Milan to join Lyon for €8.5 million in the summer of 2008.

Replacing Gregory Coupet, a mainstay of the OL side that won seven league titles in succession, Lloris quickly proved himself a worthy successor and while Lyon surrendered their domestic dominance as Bordeaux won the title, Lloris was named goalkeeper of the season ahead of his Marseille nemesis, Mandanda. He also won his first French cap in a friendly against Uruguay in November 2008 and soon made the No. 1 jersey his own.

Strengths: Boasting lightning reflexes and good decision-making, Lloris is capable of the spectacular and is also a formidable opponent in one-on-one situations. He commands his box well.

Weaknesses: Despite being 6′ 2”, Lloris still needs to work on his physical presence and his lack of experience on the biggest stage can be an issue.

Career high: Playing a starring role as France sneaked past Ireland in the play-offs. Thierry Henry’s handball made the headlines but France were only still in the game thanks to the gloves of Lloris as he made a string of important saves.

Career low: Being sent off and conceding a penalty after only nine minutes against Serbia in September, with France going on to draw 1-1 in a game that heavily damaged their chances of finishing top of their qualifying group.

Style: Dynamic, determined, athletic, a talented all-round ‘keeper.

Quotes: “He’s a phenomenon. Because of what he did (against Ireland), the choice has to be made in his favour (instead of Mandanda).” Gregory Coupet, November 2009.

Trivia: Lloris was a member of the France side that won the European Under-19 Championship in Northern Ireland in 2005. Team-mates Abou Diaby and Yoann Gourcuff have also graduated to senior honours.



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