Top 14 - Guilhem Guirado (Montpellier), the best for last

Top 14 – Guilhem Guirado (Montpellier), the best for last

At 36, Guilhem Guirado ended his career like a dream, with a second Brennus shield on the list. An ultimate pleasure and a wink of fate for the hooker and his wife Johanna, his first supporter.

A career as rich and eventful as that of Guilhem Guirado could not end normally. Friday night, the hooker went through all the states during an extraordinary evening, literally. Unforgettable, in more ways than one.

It had started in solemnity and benevolence with hundreds of messages of encouragement and the sweet words of the President of the Republic in person. She quickly swung into euphoria with a dream start, three tries in five minutes and unchallenged domination from Montpellier, in the wake of a sovereign forward package.

The pain and frustration then came to play spoilsport with his exit for concussion protocol after a manly but correct tackle from Mathieu Babillot. For an hour, impatience then won over the Catalan. Until the liberating whistle.

At the stroke of 11 p.m., tears streamed down her face. For good reasons. The most beautiful, even: a title of champion of France. ” It’s hard to realize what we just did, hallucinated the most Catalan of Montpellier on the lawn. It’s exceptional, we mark the history of the club. From this final, I take everything. “Even his premature replacement. In a sense, he is nothing but the ultimate testimony to his sense of sacrifice.

In the stands of the Stade de France, the first supporters of the hooker vibrated, trembled and exulted by proxy: for Johanna, his half for fifteen years, Maylis, their 10-year-old daughter, and Elian, their 4-year-old boy , this June 24 will remain a blessed day. ” I couldn’t be happier, tells the Castrese of origin and Catalan of adoption, met on the benches of the university of Perpignan. It was so intense. Even more than the 2009 final which he had yet played with his favorite club. We might have talked about it, we weren’t really prepared for what happened. This ending is brilliant, unexpected. »

Happiness is always greater when it is shared: “ It was very strong that there was my family and my friends to support me, smiled the newly retired. My son had never had the chance to see me play at the Stade de France, unlike my daughter. He will keep a beautiful memory of this beautiful celebration. »

The hooker was not just playing for himself and his colors on Friday: “He had put a lot of pressure on himself: it was now or never, there would be no other opportunity, Johanna resumes. It was important to him that we live this moment together. Our daughter didn’t realize at the time. She felt like an emotional overload, it was so strong. Our son, he can’t realize what it represents but, later, we can show him the images and videos of the match, the party, the fireworks to remind him. He will be on it. It’s great to have had this moment with him.” Until the middle of the third half, what’s more: ” They held out until 3 a.m., all the same. »

“He came out stronger”

Before this very special last session, everything had increased tenfold within the Guirado family: determination, impatience, tension. ” I felt that the emotion had won Guilhem lately. He was boiling inside. He longed to be there. This deadline could not be apprehended like the others. I sent him messages before the match to tell him that if he lost it would already be beautiful and if he won it would be magnificent. »

In the euphoria of success, the man of few words dropped his mask and surrendered as rarely to the final whistle. ” I leave, with dignity, proudly. (…) I had to wait thirteen years to have a second Brennus and before that, I broke my teeth and I cried with two lost finals (…) I never believed that I could taste again at least to a final, or even to a coronation. Like what, in life, you always have to hang on, push your limits, believe in your dreams. »

More than anyone, Johanna Guirado measures the scope and weight of her words. Because only she knows the behind the scenes of a high-level career, with its white periods and its black holes: “ He had a lot of tough times but he came out stronger. »

The aftermath of defeats and disillusions in blue have long strained the mind of the Guirado clan: “ We put ourselves in a bubble to protect ourselves at the time. It was a huge responsibility to take on. There were very hard phases to live through. I so often wondered how I could help her straighten her head and it was not easy to know what to say in these situations. Besides, you know, Guilhem is a very interior person, who doesn’t want to bother the world. But he doesn’t need anyone to question himself. I admire him because he kept fighting and moving forward. »

“He is loved as he deserves”

Convinced of his destiny and remained faithful to his convictions, the native of Céret overcame everything: the trauma of the relegation of his Usap, the fights lost in blue, the heartbreak of Camp Nou with the RCT, injuries, a last galley season… The outcome of the story does him honour: Everything that happened makes the ending even more beautiful, summarizes Johanna. His journey proves that when you give your all, you end up being rewarded. »« It’s a pride to have never let go, supports her husband. Self-sacrifice is a word that is strong for me. (…) I’m not revengeful, I’m just fulfilled. I love rugby so much for everything it has brought me, that tonight I’m saying goodbye to it in the best possible way. »

With a track record worthy of the greatest, with two Brennus, a European Cup and a European Challenge. And with an undeniable aura. ” I really wanted people to end up getting to know Guilhem as he is: that is to say, as someone who has never pretended, who is courageous, valiant and gives his all without a reason. thought. Even President Macron told him about it. Now I think he is loved as he deserves. You can see it in people’s attitude, they are happy to see him, they smile when they approach him. »

Friday evening, no rugby fan could remain indifferent when he saw the former captain of the Blues brandishing the piece of wood. Whatever one may have thought of it in the past. On Friday, the words of this model of determination resounded in the arena of Saint-Denis: ” Very few have managed to get out through the front door. The only one I know is Jonny Wilkinson. This restricted pantheon has just welcomed a new honorary member. Come in here, Guilhem Guirado!

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