Vincent Gérard: “The only way up from Montpellier was Paris”
Almost two and a half years after signing the contract, Vincent Gérard has finally set foot in Paris. Usually Handball players know their future six or nine months in advance, but the French goalkeeper had a long way to go before moving to his new club.
Has he felt any impatience? “Not really, I was focused on Montpellier. But it kind of helps to know what your future will be like.”
After signing the contract with Paris Saint-Germain, Gérard helped Montpellier HB win the VELUX EHF Champions League in 2018. He also became one of the stalwarts of the French national team, which won bronze at both the EHF EURO 2018 and the World Championship 2019.
Still, Gérard felt like he needed something more.
“All my career has been like leaving a club for a better club. I left Dunkirk to join Montpellier, and the only way up from there was Paris,” the 32-year-old Gérard says. “My family and I always wanted to live there, because that is such a gorgeous city, and sports-WISe you can’t really compete with the level of Handball that is played there.”
Third time succeeding Thierry Omeyer
It is the third time that Gérard is succeeding Thierry Omeyer. The French goalkeeping legend retired in June and Gérard is replacing him, just like he did in Montpellier and in the national team.
“That’s a journalists’ thing,” he says with a smile. “It’s just a coincidence. To me it doesn’t matter. Previously, I used to ask myself a lot of questions, like will I be up to the task? But now, I try to forget about all of that. I know that the Paris staff wants me to be myself, not the new Thierry Omeyer.”
It also helps that Vincent Gérard has built a record of its own, proving over the last couple of seasons in Montpellier that he is top-level goalkeeper and that he could make a change in the most crucial moments of a game.
He also has a hunger for winning every game, which is one of the reasons PSG picked him.
“I think that, on this level, both my ambitions and the club’s match. It doesn’t matter that I have, for example, won the Champions League once, I want to do it again” he says.
Recipe for winning in Cologne
Has he brought the recipe for winning the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne to Paris?
“These players don’t need advice. Some of them have won the Champions League three times, so I don’t have to teach them anything,” he says. “The only thing I know is that you can have a perfect season, but you have to be there at every game, because you can lose everything in one single game.”
The top players have two busy years ahead, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics taking place next summer. But Gérard has not taken it easy during the pre-season preparation. “You can’t, especially when you arrive at a new club,” he says. “You can’t arrive and say that you’re going to take your foot off the pedal. I’m trying not to think too much about it, because it’s just a lot of Handball but, in the meantime, it feels kind of exciting.”
TEXT: Kevin Domas / ew