first team / Grégory Coupet

"Greg" puts the gloves back on

Published on the 09 November 2007 à 19:00 by R.B

Grégory Coupet is working overtime to return as quickly as possible to the OL goal and soon we should see the much-anticipated competition for OL’s custodial spot heating up…

Greg has taken his recuperation and preparation to the next level. He even put the gloves back on with coach Joël Bats to work on his basic skills and running with Robert Duverne on top of his gym sessions with the physio. On the morning of Friday November 9, the international keep arrived just before 10 am at the training facility, heading straight for the physios for some gruelling workouts. Good humour always accompanies his hard work. Greg is happy, you can feel it. The battle isn’t over yet, but it’s already been won. He radiates such power, such desire, such optimism: a thirst for competition and victory. Greg inspires you to sort out your own life and smile no matter what. A few metres away, Cris grimaces on the massage table. He’s strained his thigh just before he was due to head to Brazil.

One floor down, the 6-time champion of France changed scenes for a gym session, beanie scrunched on his head and music blaring from his walkman, the better to turn a deaf ear to his pain. He is a furious beast in a cage, pulling weights faster and faster; a robot at full stretch in all his animal beauty. A few minutes beforehand, Jérémy Toulalan was sitting in his spot, pushing his considerable limits of pain. And what’s next for Grégory? “This afternoon, a session with Robert then one with Joël.”

14:00, Greg is once again hard at it. His breath is short and a break is called for. 30 minutes later, he goes out the door to the pitch and a session in goals – meaning ball work with Master Jo. First with the feet, then the hands. Not diving, then diving. The ball stays in its place. There is a loving relationship with this object from which he has been too long separated. Almost naturally, they move towards each other and start to get reacquainted. It’s moving. Greg is no giant but the goal seems minuscule as Greg gets his bearings and measures the space he has to protect. His smiles, however, can’t hide his fatigue and his need to recuperate properly, which is very rarely the case with the fully fit Coupet, who tends to outdo everyone in terms of his work rate. And to cap it off, the wind, rain and hail become this convict’s companions.

Soaked through, it’s time to return to the locker room. “Of course I’m happy. But you know how much work there is left to be done, in every area. I’ll take Saturday and Sunday off and just do some stretching. I’ll come to Gerland on Sunday night. It’s important. And then on Monday, it’s back to work.”