In an exclusive interview with Football News published in full tomorrow, Stade de Reims’ versatile attacking midfielder Frédéric Bulot suggests that he was not able to represent Gabon at this year’s AFCON because Reims did not pay for the treatment he needed as his contract is running out at the end of the season.
“I am in a complicated situation where I am not at the club. I was not allowed back to the club due to my physiotherapy, and that is why I was not able to play in the AFCON. I should have been ready for the AFCON. I had my operation in July in Barcelona and I arrived back to the club on December 1st, but the club did not give me the necessary care because my contract is ending. So, playing with Reims again would require them to pay me, which is not in their interests, and which is why they refused to provide proper treatment. So I am taking care of things, and I am trying to come back well. I know it is difficult, but I am doing it on my own.
It is a significant (meniscus ed.) injury, but I am not the first and will not be the last one to suffer from it. It is feasible, but I did not get the support from my club who did not take the necessary steps for me to be operated. When I came back, I was surprised by the club’s financial interest, even after sacrificing seven months between January and July 2016 to help them avoid relegation, despite the fact that I was already in pain. Giving to others was a sacrifice of my values. The club was not able to give me anything, and, on the contrary, took a lot from me. I am still under contract with Reims and belong to the club, but I do not work with them in their interest.
It is part of learning; knowing that some are not there to give, even if at one point in time, you told yourself that you are a major player and that you are the best. But that is life. As soon as you are not healthy and you are not in their best interest, everyone changes and you learn.
There is a lesson to be taken from it. Despite the situation I was put in, I have learned from all this. I find that it is an admirable story, because I never gave up. Even if people may hurt me, it will not change my way of being. I will never be mean or arrogant. I will never change regardless of what happens around me.
It is important that I speak up. I have only started to be more vocal with the fans. Whether it be the Gabon fans or those from the clubs I played at. People have not seen much of me on the field. So, seeing as I was back from Barcelona in December, and I was meant to go back in January, people were aware that I was coming back soon.
Not being on the field and not being too vocal or making any announcements made people ask questions. The club chose not to make any announcement on my state of health, which was not in their interests. They played on this to win time, and today, I am starting to clarify my health situation a bit more so that people know that I am fighting to come back and not criticising the club, because that could make things worse. It is being done in justice, and “underneath the radar”, let’s say.
Otherwise, I just want the fans to know that I am fighting to come back as I was before, to live, take pleasure and make others happy too. It is a complicated situation, and you have to force it to make things go your way. If you do not, you might as well quit. A player’s fight is part of what makes their strength. It is part of a mountain that I have to climb and slowly descend when I can. If I do not fight to reach the top, then I will never manage!”