Playmaker Thomas Heurtel, born in Béziers, returned to his choice to sign in Russia last summer, which he deprived of the France team, in a long interview with L’Equipe.
He had surprised everyone, three days after the defeat of the Blues in the Eurobasket final against Spain (88-76), by announcing his signing at Zenith Saint Petersburg. Thomas Heurtel, titular playmaker therefore sat down in his place in the France team, after the French Federation had its players sign a charter.
On this, players or members of the staff were warned that in the event of a signing in a Russian or Belarusian club, they could no longer be selected. Six months after his signature and more than one after the start of the conflict in Ukraine, the Biterrois expressed himself in a long interview granted to our colleagues from The team.
“I want to get as much as possible for the future”
Criticized on social networks after the announcement of his signature, the 33-year-old player, accused of putting money before moral values, is touched: “This situation makes me sad. And to be criticized every day by people who don’t necessarily know the situation, it’s not pleasant.”
But also highlights his career but also his future: “It was the best situation for me and my family, both financially but also in terms of the game project. I want to earn the maximum for the future. I think that in my situation, everyone would have done like me.”
“Here, I don’t know anyone who is for this war”
“I don’t take money from people who kill”, questioned about the owner of Zenith Saint-Petersburg, Gazprom, a Russian state company which also finances the war in Ukraine, Heurtel defended himself.
“Maybe I’m part of the system because I play for this club, but that doesn’t mean I agree with what they’re doing, explains the man who has 97 caps for the national team. Here, I don’t don’t know anyone who is for this war. So the people who play in China or in Israel support the politics of these countries?”
The Olympics in the head
Deprived of the France team, with whom he has won four medals since 2013, Thomas Heurtel admits to being in contact with Boris Diaw, general manager and the staff of the Blues, who would like “that I come, but it is not them who decide”.
In two and a half months, the leader will have a choice to make, capital in his quest for the Olympic Games, on national soil. A dream that “would be very big”, but which will depend on whether or not it will be extended to the “Venice of the Baltic”.