T1 ad-interim Fred Vanderbiest about Defour’s dismissal: “Losing not only a colleague, but also a good friend”
T1 ad-interim Fred Vanderbiest spoke to the press this afternoon, the day after the dismissal of Steven Defour. “Let us just say that I was not looking forward to it. I am not only losing a colleague, but also a good friend. We clicked from the first moment he arrived here as a player. We shared a lot with each other. We went Do we always agree? No, but somehow we always found a consensus. You don’t make many friends in football. Steven is one of them. It is painful that the story ends.”
“I heard Steven three more times yesterday,” Vanderbiest said. “Also this morning. He is dealing with it relatively calmly. As a trainer, this is the first time he has experienced a dismissal, but as a player he also had many difficult moments in terms of injuries or sporting choices. He will get through it. You just have to make sure you remain convinced of your own qualities.”
Vanderbiest also reflected on yesterday and how he experienced that day. “I have been in football for almost 30 years, I think. When you know that there are discussions going on and that the owner (Philippe Van Esch, ed.) is setting up a round of discussions… Then you know that this is nothing to talk about. The weather is good. I thought we would wait until after Standard and Charleroi, because then you have another break and you can make a new evaluation.”
Tear in the cruciate ligament at Nikola Storm
Fred Vanderbiest came at his press conference with bad news about Nikola Storm. The winger was substituted on Knokke’s artificial grass field after halftime due to a knee injury. Storm suffered a tear in the cruciate ligament. There will be one more check to determine whether surgical intervention is necessary.
Yaya Touré leaves Standard and moves to Saudi Arabia
After just four months, Yaya Touré is leaving Standard again. The Ivorian, who played for Beveren and Barcelona as a player, only came to Liège in the summer as an assistant to Carl Hoefkens.
Touré opts for a possibly lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia, where he will become national coach Roberto Mancini’s right-hand man in the national team. “We talked a lot and when Yaya told me it was an offer that could not be refused, I did not insist,” Hoefkens said at his press conference this afternoon. “We did a good job together. Especially the way he interacted and chatted with the young people was great. We part on good terms.”
Standard will look for a replacement for Touré, but will take the time to find the right profile. “I have a few names in mind to replace him. We will see what is possible,” said Hoefkens.”
Also goalkeeper Arnaud Bodart was asked about Touré’s departure. “What will I remember from his visit to Liège? That he was always a sympathetic man, but as a trainer he often kept himself too aloof.”