FEATURE: 21-year-old Champions League rookie Remili is a core part of the PSG squad, scoring nine goals in the French side’s first ever win against Barcelona on Saturday.
Young star Nedim Remili shines at PSG
He arrived last summer, hidden in Uwe Gensheimer's shadow – but it has not taken Nedim Remili long to adapt to his new environment amongst stars like Nikola Karabatic and Mikkel Hansen.
In his second ever VELUX EHF Champions League match, Remili scored 10 times for Paris Saint-Germain Handball against Wisla Plock, before striking nine times against FC Barcelona last weekend.
“Don't worry, I'm not aiming for best scorer just yet” jokes Remili, before putting his serious mask back on. “Against Barcelona it was me, but tomorrow someone else will be in the spotlight, and then someone else the day after. We play every three days. It's good that everyone's able to be in charge.”
Remili stepped into the spotlight last January, when he was a surprise addition to the French squad that flew to Poland for the EHF EURO. With only two national team appearances under his belt, he appeared unsure of himself, and though there were occasional sparks of genius, it was a shaky performance overall.
10 months later he is a different handball player. “The confidence I've got comes from the other players in the team. They put me in the perfect conditions on the court,” he explained after PSG’s first-ever win against Barcelona, in Round 6 of the VELUX EHF Champions League.
“Nikola takes a lot of hits for me, sometimes Mikkel does too. Within the team, we work a lot for each other, and playing alongside players with such quality makes life easier.”
Nikola Karabatic is not surprised by Remili’s performances, after the two have been playing in the national team together for a year:
“Nedim is a very complete player, and very clever too,” says the PSG centre back. “He takes very good advantage of the players around him and he's learnt not to force things, to let things come his away. To see him at this level is not something that surprises me in any way.”
Remili doesn't shy away from such compliments.
“If he tells you that, he must be right – Nikola's not just anyone,” he smiles. “If I'm playing with PSG it's because the staff trust me and think that I'm capable of such performances, and I'll do everything to prove them right.”
The hardest thing for young players is to remain at a top level. One good game is something, but carrying on the same pace after a good game is something entirely different.
The next stop on PSG 's schedule is Veszprém on Sunday, where the French side will play in a boiling atmosphere that would scare a lot of experienced players. But Remili is very much looking forward to it.
“I signed here to play those kind of games – it's the dream of any kid who plays handball,” he says.
TEXT: Kevin Domas / cg