Make no mistake, Christopher Jullien is no longer injured. And for a long time. The Celtic defender, who hit his knee in December 2020 and hasn’t been on the field for almost ten months, is no longer playing the Scottish champion. The choice of coach Ange Postecoglou is difficult and this leaves the former Toulousain asking questions about his future in Scotland. exclusively for aimHe talks about his condition, about his physique, about his recovery and also about his desire to return to the field.
You injured your knee in January 2021, how have you been since then?
not to miss
I am very good. This wound was long. It started on 31st December 2020 for sure and then I had to work all year and I came back with the team at the end of November and it has been going very well ever since. There were minor inconveniences, but from January onwards I felt really good because I was able to assimilate the sessions without any problems and pain. And being able to chain repetitions of efforts. From that moment I said to myself: “That’s it, I’m ready”. It’s the coach’s choice after that, but since mid-January I feel good, I’m ready to let the horses go.
Your injury lasted a long time, what stages do you go through in such a situation?
There are really different stages, but the first is to realize it. It’s difficult when you have the surgeon giving you the time to be unavailable. And you’ll know when you’re on the operating table. Either you’re in a mood that you’ve taken on yourself and you’re destined to, or you’re reacting and telling yourself this is a fresh start. That’s what I did after the surgery. We immediately took the lead to start working on the Clairefontaine side. I had surgery on January 21 and was there on February 10. I’m happy with the work I’m doing today because it wasn’t easy mentally at first. And when you finally think you’ve reached the end, sometimes with very little discomfort, it’s really hard. You have to be really strong mentally and that’s the difference.
In this process, you became a father for the second time. How has this helped you during this time?
On June 1, my daughter was born. It definitely gave me strength. I already have a little boy who just turned four years old and when you come home they let you change your mindset and clear your head. When you’re injured this way, you also want to go back to the field to see your children or family members smile. When you’re off the field, there’s always an awkward moment because your parents often ask you about how the game went or get information from you. They don’t do this anymore.
“If the conditions do not change, the door will be opened by me”
You’ve played 16 minutes in the Scottish Cup this season and you’ve been on the bench for Celtic five times and most of the time you’re not even in the squad. How would you explain this situation?
I feel 100% since mid-January, from now on it’s the coach’s choice. It belongs to him and he succeeds: we have been champions since Wednesday and won the Cup in December. And they only lost two points in the return phase, so it’s truly exceptional. For myself, I told the coach that I was ready to go in January. Now it’s his choice and sometimes he doesn’t take me on the bench because he prefers to get a midfielder who can play in central defense. I’m still not happy with the time I’ve played this season because it’s frustrating and all I want is to be on the field.
In your first season at Celtic, is it more frustrating to be one of the team’s strongmen by scoring the winning goal in the League Cup final?
Yes, of course. From my first day at Celtic, the fans, the fans, the staff, everyone quickly embraced me. I felt really great and still feel great. Now the hard part is the playing time… I was always ready to give everything and proof of that is that I survived this injury by saving a goal that cost me almost ten months of injury. I’ve always done my best for this club and so it’s a bit frustrating but today the ball is in the coach’s court.
Does this make you think about the rest of your adventure in Scotland?
Definitely. Despite giving my all for this club and wanting to bring more to the team this year, game time is not there at all. I still have a one-year contract here and I want to keep playing, but my priority is to be on the field. But in my case and with this playing time that is not possible.
Which championship would you like to explore next season?
It stays open. I really don’t have a choice. All I know is that I’m a contender and I came to Celtic to win championships. I’ve won some and I still have the ambition to win some and be on the court, but I miss that today. If the circumstances do not change, it is certain that the door will be open for me to continue my career at another club, a club where the coach will be happy to trust my qualifications.
“It would be great if the coach gave me 90 minutes for the last game”
Exactly, what do you think you can bring to a team today?
I’ve been a professional for a while. So I have an experience to share. There are a lot of things I can see on the court when I’m defensive, in play or in attitude. My number one goal is to be the leader behind me and help my team wherever I am. What I do in L1 or Celtic shows my qualifications, everyone knows I can bring a lot in one set.
Have no desire to erase this current frustration?
clearly ! The last time I found myself in a similar situation I was playing in Germany (in Freiburg 2013-2015) and I didn’t have much time to play but then my rebound in Dijon was good (38 games, 10 goals) and we moved on to L1. This vengeful spirit is out there and I’m sure I’ll be back. As I was on the operating table, I told myself this was a fresh start.
This Saturday, Celtic will play their last game against Motherwell. Do you hope you can participate?
We talked about this with the coach and I told him that I hoped I’d have time to play since we’re champions so the game doesn’t matter. That would be the best, I would love to play. I also hope and know that fans will love it because a lot of people are asking me questions to find out what’s going on. They’re so suspicious they think I’m hurt. Some even send me messages asking if I can still play. If coach could give me 90 minutes that would be great.