Nice – Stade Rennes: Jeanuël Belocian, back in the deep end

At the end of a decisive season for him, Jeanuël Belocian has a new chance in Nice to make his mark in the Rennes defense, at a pivotal moment for his career.

“Nothing replaces the match and the competition. » The observation is clear for Bruno Genesio, and Jeanuël Belocian will not contradict him. Appearing 11 minutes last season when he mainly played in N3, the former Stade Lamentinois has passed a milestone this season. 111 minutes in Ligue 1, 300 minutes in the Europa League, “Jeanu” experienced the big leagues during the month of February. For the first leg against Shakhtar Donetsk, Bruno Genesio surprised by starting his young element in place of Arthur Theate, before renewing him against Clermont in the league, then for the return of the European match. Three games in the deep end, and a first cup taken following an unfortunate error at the end of extra time. The hard law of learning.

“A champion mentality”

“He completely overcame his disappointment in his last game, where he had a very, very good game, which unfortunately ended with something unfortunate. He immediately knew how to bounce back, he was very marked on the spot and behind him he bounced back at work, evacuating this disappointment and this sadness. » said Thursday Bruno Genesio. Belocian had been able to prove on the ground that he had moved on, on March 13, during the victory of the SRFC in Gambardella against Auxerre. “He has a champion mentality, he’s a competitor, he has that in him, both collectively and individually. » continues Genesio. “It pushes you to always work harder to progress more. »

On the lawn of the Piverdière following the Gambardella match in March, Belocian had also welcomed the environment set up around him this season. “Today I train with players who have experience, who accompany me, with a very competent staff. I can only thank them because what they do is incredible, the work they do with us every day allows us to move forward. (…) If I didn’t have that, I don’t know if I would be like that today. They are the ones who gave me the rage to win, the determination I have on the pitch. I thank them for that. »

Game time goal

Fully integrated into the pro group this season, Belocian should finish the season with around the same playing time (861 minutes currently) on arrival as last season (1041 minutes). This 2022-2023 vintage will however have been consumed in Ligue 1 and in the European Cup, for a player looking for more playing time for his development. “The fact of playing and being in the competition, for a young player moreover, is always very important. » concedes Genesio. “That’s why as soon as I can I try to send the youngest players to Gambardella or reserve. Nothing replaces the match and the competition. »

It is on this point in particular that the negotiations have been slipping in recent weeks concerning the extension of the contract of a player linked to Stade Rennes until 2024, and necessarily looked at by several European clubs like many players from the Rennes training center. The injury of Birger Meling (ischios) will however offer a new opportunity to Belocian. The trend is for a tenure as a left-back for the 18-year-old, against Nice tomorrow, for a match for which we expected to see him again, given the Arthur Theate episode against Angers last Sunday. The two men should finally both be aligned, a new boon for Belocian who assured him on April 10th. “The young people at the center have a mentality that shows that they are not afraid. » New test tomorrow.

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