James Léa-Siliki – « Love Actually »
There are encounters that change your life, encounters where you feel something is happening just by looking at them. Your heart races, you are overcome by an inexplicable attraction, taken by a feeling that you don’t necessarily understand but that seems strangely obvious.
It’s called love.
The first time I felt it, I was 3 or 4 years old, I could hardly run, but when I saw my brothers passing and kicking the ball, the attraction was instantaneous, a real love at first sight as people say. And it never changed, I fell in love with football.
Between the matches that my father listened to on his little radio that he carried around the house and my first steps on the pitch in Gonesse, the love grew stronger and the future exploits of my idols (before I took over on the pitch of course ;)) fed the fire of passion.
Today, as you will have understood, I am here to talk about love, not just a little romance or a holiday fling, but rather the fire of passion that burns in all those who feed off football on a daily basis.
In eight years at Rennes, I’ve experienced some very powerful things, on the pitch, in the stands, with the fans, my team-mates, my coaches and everyone at the club. I finished my training in Brittany and maybe I’ll come back there, love doesn’t just die out overnight.
Here, I finished my training, I became a professional footballer, I played my first match in Ligue 1, I scored in a derby, I played in the Europa League, I played in the Champions League, I lifted my first trophy at the Stade de France and, above all, I received a lot of love that I always tried to give back to you. For all that, I thank you.
I am leaving with a light heart, because I know that I will continue to nourish my passion for football. I have just returned from Ivory Coast where I played with my Cameroon national team to fly to the motherland of football: England.
My passion for everything football (whether it’s simulation games or more tactical stuff like Football Manager) is overwhelming, I eat football, I sleep football, I live football. I can’t count the hours I’ve spent dissecting my performances with my brothers Jean-Charles and Steve, or the endless exchanges I’ve had to comment on matches with my mates. I’ve always loved watching English football, fascinated by their passion and fervour.
I’m going to have the chance to experience it from the inside, full stadiums, cities that stop living to focus on football for 90 minutes. The intensity in the stands and the intensity on the pitch. I’m leaving to grow, I’m leaving to assert myself, I’m leaving to discover.
Another football, another language, another culture but always the same ambition: to win and become a better footballer. I will use all my determination to get the club to the Premier League. I want to give myself the chance to discover the highest level of British football.
The level of the Championship is very high, I will have to adapt but I am not afraid. And then, as they say, Love is stronger than anything 🙂
Thanks a lot everyone and see you soon,
Love you all,
JAMES LEA SILIKI
Midfielder of the Stade Rennais.
Winner of the Coupe de France
Champions Trophy Finalist