“Me, I can’t blame him, so it’s complicated. “As soon as they were presented to the press, on January 7 around a hilarious Pascal Dupraz, Paul Bernardoni and Sada Thioub showed that they would bring a smile and room to the Stéphanois locker room. It will not be able to hurt a group bruised by a nightmarish Ligue 1 first leg, with a 20th place and only two successes on the clock.
🗣️💬 “Me, I can’t blame him, it’s complicated!”
After Nîmes and Angers, Saint-Etienne: for Sada Thioub and Paul Bernardoni, the clubs follow and resemble each other. With good rooming as a bonus. pic.twitter.com/43toNBSHiE
— RMC Sport (@RMCsport) January 7, 2022
The obvious complicity of the two winter recruits, who should make their debut on Saturday (5 p.m.) against RC Lens, can be explained by an astonishing common journey: Paul Bernardoni (24 years old) and Sada Thioub (26 years old) have just chained common adventures in Nîmes (2018-2019) then in Angers (since 2020), before the SCO decides to lend them both to ASSE, respectively two and one year from the end of their contract.
Bernardoni pays his McDonald’s round with Angers
“It doesn’t surprise me at all to see them sleeping in Saint-Etienne right away,” says Abdel Bouhazama, director of the Angers training center. It’s Paul and Sada what, they were often together before and after training. There is really a friendship between these guys who have the same great mentality. “As coach of the Angers reserve team, Abdel Bouhazama was able to realize this when he recovered the goalkeeper and the right winger for National 2 matches.
“We have a little custom in reserve: in the event of an away victory, the pro players present pay the McDonald’s to the whole group after the match. In Montpellier (December 11), Paul accepted with pleasure to treat us. As for Sada, I suspect him of having been as smart as he is in his game, because he had, as it happened, forgotten his credit card in Granville (in August 2019). He must have given credit to a teammate. “
“Only commando matches” for Bernardoni in 2019-2020
New sports coordinator of the SCO, Laurent Boissier responded favorably, at the start of the winter transfer window, to the request of his Saint Etienne counterpart Loïc Perrin, immediately interested in the two profiles. As the former sports director of Nîmes Olympique, he got to know the two players well.
“They are easy-going boys, with an exemplary mentality, and who clearly appreciate each other. Their loan was made very naturally with Saint-Etienne, who needed players with a background in Ligue 1 and a feeling of revenge. Paul and Sada went on a maintenance mission, and Paul is particularly familiar with this exercise, because we had only had commando matches in his second season in Nîmes. “
As the Crocodiles had benefited from in 2020, the supporters of ASSE would sign for the happy scenario of an 18th place after a season suddenly interrupted by the Covid-19, and therefore without dams.
“It’s very rare to see that in the careers of professional footballers”
But how to explain that Paul Bernardoni and Sada Thioub were thus able to know the same three clubs in the elite one after the other? “It is certain that it is very rare to see that in the careers of professional footballers, recognizes Laurent Boissier. After that, you have to know that they do not have the same agent, and their common path is above all the result of chance. “
Chance is sometimes explained by a stroke of brilliance marking the minds of leaders. On August 11, 2018, for the first start in Ligue 1 of his career, Sada Thioub signed with Nîmes an anthology goal (4 players eliminated and a dive on the goalkeeper) then an assist for a stunning success … in Angers (3 -4). The masterclass in the career of a player having finally combined, at 26, only 5 goals and 8 assists in 91 games in L1.
“Bernardoni is the cream of the crop”
But this bright memory prompted the SCO to drop 3.5 million euros to afford the Senegalese during the summer of 2019. “Sada is a great percussion player, very comfortable technically,” says Baptiste Valette, his former teammate from 2017 to 2019 in Nîmes. Its hooks can hurt a lot. And then he’s a guy who laughs all the time and gives you a good atmosphere. “
The current Nancy goalkeeper, also passed through Sainté from 2013 to 2015, is just as rave about Paul Bernardoni: “Paul is the cream of the crop, someone endearing. And yet, I was a holder in L2 before his arrival and I could not play a minute in Ligue 1 behind when he arrived. ASSE has recruited two great guys who get along well, but also two real reinforcements for the maintenance ”. A big challenge, before discovering in five months where this inseparable duo will bounce back.