Scores Rennes en direct
7 July 2011 | à 00h29

Pitroipa arrives to “make a mess”

Tomorrow, Jonathan Pitroipa should become the first recruit of the summer in Rennes. A lightweight winger, Pierre Dréossi describes him as a player able to « make a mess in any defence » with his pace and his dribbling qualities. He will have to display this potential in Ligue 1 this season.

Pitroipa arrives to “make a mess”

This is no secret, Stade Rennais has been lacking a number of attacking players last seasons. Following the departures of Gyan and Bangoura, with the long injury of Marveaux and the intermittent presence of Brahimi and Kembo, Frédéric Antonetti was often forced to patch things up on the attacking line.
Montaño over-used, Camara and Verhoek too inexperienced, Boukari struggling from April on… So many reasons why the recruitment of a few attacking players became a necessity. Waiting to be able to officialise the recruitment of a centre-forward able to compete with Montaño (Rivière ? Suarez ?), Stade Rennes are now equipped with an additional option on the flanks, with the signature of Burkina Faso’s Jonathan Pitroipa.

A German learning curve

“Jonathan who ?”, one could decently ask. Outside the circle of eager Bundesliga, few people can spontaneously affirm that they know – and in detail! – the qualities and defaults of the attacking player. Indeed, since his eighteenth birthday, the Burkina Faso international learnt his trade patiently in Germany. In 2004, he signed a contract with SC Freiburg, then fighting for survival in the German top flight. A choice that didn’t sound obvious at the time. “This wasn’t exactly the natural destination for a player from Burkina, Pitroipa admitted to France Football on Tuesday. My native language is French and it would have made more sense to come to France”.
Very young, he would only play four league games for his initial season, never as a starter. With Freiburg relegated, Pitroipa would affirm himself the following season in Bundesliga 2. After a 2005-2006 season in which he started to show his ability (14 games, 1 goal, 1 assist), he would truly blossom over the following two years.

Pitroipa became one of the major attacking assets of a club seeking a return to the elite. In 2006-2007, he scored eight times and delivered ten assists; Not as sharp in 2007-2008, he still scored seven times and gave two assists. At the end of his contract, Pitroipa left Freiburg for a return to this Bundesliga he barely tasted three years earlier. Hamburg, one of the top teams in the division, jumped on the opportunity and offered him a four year contract.
At the HSV, in an overstaffed playing squad, the Burkinabe struggled to make his mark but kept on improving serenely. Between 2008 and 2010, although he played close to 50 matches, he only started about half of these. In his claim for more, the twirling international has to gain in terms of consistency. A default, which remains one of his characteristics today, as Pierre Dréossi summed up on RMC this Monday evening: able to realise the most difficult tricks, Pitroipa can also fail epically on what seem to be the simplest things.

«Good enough to eliminate any opponent»

Talented, unpredictable, fast, he only lacks this little something that would allow him to be considered a top player. “He is a player who is truly very talented with the ball, who is able to eliminate any opponent and to make a mess of any defence”, Dréossi confirms. With Frédéric Antonetti to mentor him, the unpredictable winger could, maybe, find favourable grounds to try and reach the step that separates him from the bests.
By all means, his final season for Hamburg gave a few encouraging signs, since it was by far the best of his three years on the Elbe banks. A regular starter on the right wing, Pitroipa provided seven assists and drove a few defensive lines crazy. Logically, Rennes continued to follow his evolution carefully and didn’t miss the occasion to manifest their intentions – just as Schalke 04 – when Pitroipa was placed on the transfer list.

Indeed, and despite good performances, Hamburg decided to let him go. The fact that only a year remained on his contract was certainly a motivation, and the German club preferred to perceive a reasonable transfer fee (3.5 to 4 million euros) rather than seeing the player leave for free in 2012. Furthermore, the HSV – whose last two seasons were rather disappointing – is experiencing managerial changes with the arrival of a new Director of Sports and, all in all, the beginning of a new era.
Leaving his German years behind him, Jonathan Pitroipa arrives in Brittany with a strong experience. His three years in Hamburg allowed him to play no less than twenty-three European games, including both semi-finals of the 2009 UEFA Cup as a starter. Clearly a useful experience for a Rennes squad that needs it, and will very soon be confronted to the realities of European football

Photo : Rautenfreund via Wikimédia Commons

Ajouter un commentaire

Enter your comment here
  • This form accepts SPIP shortcuts {{bold}} {italic} -*list [text->url] <quote> <code> and HTML code <q> <del> <ins>. To create paragraphs, just leave empty lines.

Who are you?

To show your avatar with your message, register it first on (free et painless) and don’t forget to indicate your Email addresse here.