FOOTBALL – OL: Islam Slimani reveals his difficult career start

Recruited last winter by the OL, Islam Slimani revealed to L’Equipe that he has forged his character thanks to the critics. Revealed late, the Algerian striker explains his atypical career.

Whistled by all his fans in Algeria

Not the kind to count his efforts, Islam Slimani is the typical profile of the generous striker. Not necessarily technically very fine nor very good dribbler, the player of Olympique Lyonnais did not correspond to the expectations of the Algerian people. At 21 years old, when he started with Belouizdad, the striker had to make more efforts than anyone else. “In Algeria, they like dribblers. I was scoring but I was criticized constantly by most of the press and by the fans,” Slimani recalls. Hated by his own fans in Belouizdad, he even reveals that he was the head of the public. “I played all the time under pressure. When you are whistled at every game by your own fans, 20,000 of them, can you imagine? I had to compensate. I told myself, ‘I’m going to fight. I acquired this mentality of warrior,” reveals Islam Slimani.

A call from Mourinho before the OL

“Unloved” by his own fans in his early days, Slimani was called up with the Fennecs in 2012 by coach Vahid Halilodzic, a choice that caused debate in Algeria. “It was gratuitous nastiness,” regrets the former ASM player. And it was when he was playing in Monaco that Slimani received a call from Jose Mourinho. Relegated to the bench by Roberto Moreno in the Principality, the Algerian had been the subject of a keen interest by Spurs. “Mourinho had called me at that time for Tottenham. It is a form of reward. You think that some people see your efforts …”, says Islam Slimani.

Now Lyonnais, the Fennec will do everything to help his team to win the title at the end of the season. Starting with the reception of LOSC, from this evening.

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