Born in Douai, trained in Valenciennes, the neo-Lensois Angelo Fulgini is delighted to finally “represent the Sang et Or” that he was going to see play at Bollaert when young and whose jersey he should wear on Thursday (9:00 p.m.) in the 8th of French Cup final in Lorient.
The midfielder should honor his second appearance in Brittany in the Lensois jersey, after playing the last 20 minutes of Brest-Lens on Sunday (1-1).
“I am ready, at the disposal of the coach”, he assured Tuesday at a press conference, a few days after his arrival from Mainz (German D1), on February 1, on loan with option to buy OBLIGATORY.
“Today, being on the field and representing + the right team + is magic,” said the playmaker.
This signing sounds like a return to basics: “when I was young (…), I often came to watch the matches at Bollaert”, recalls the 26-year-old player, a native of Abidjan but trained in Douai, a few kilometers from Lens. “Those were the first matches I saw for real.”
At the time, he fell in love with Daniel Cousin, Vitorino Hilton, Olivier Thomert and Aruna Dindane, who finished the 2006-2007 season in fifth place in Ligue 1, one point from the podium. “It was really a beautiful time,” he recalls.
However, in 2007, although courted by the Sang et Or, he finally opted for another club in the region: Valenciennes, about fifty kilometers away.
A choice that the big guy explains by his shyness at the time: he was, at the time, “a little afraid for (his) integration” in Lens, where he does not know anyone, and prefers to join a friend, who has just sign in Valenciennes.
– First refusal –
Ten years followed in Hainaut then five in Angers, where he established himself as an indisputable starter. So much so that, although approached for the first time by Lensois coach Franck Haise two years ago, he decided to stay in Maine-et-Loire.
But his career takes the lead in the wing in Mainz, which he joins in the summer of 2022 and where he does not find his place. “It didn’t go the way I wanted,” he said.
So, when Lens returns to the charge in the last hours of the January transfer window, the choice “is made naturally”: more than 15 years after his first “Corons” experienced in the stands, he joins his heart club, which is at the fight for the qualifying places in the Champions League.
From his experience in Germany, Fulgini believes he has “progressed a lot in terms of intensity and rigor of work”. Two key words, precisely, of the philosophy of Franck Haise.
Qualities that should be put to use quickly. Some Lensois midfield executives, particularly in demand during the club’s exceptional start to the season, are starting to lose momentum.
A Cup victory against Lorient, another club in the race for Europe in the league, would sound like a perfect boost for Lens. And as an ideal springboard for his new recruit.