Long-serving captain Hugo Lloris approaches ten years of Tottenham as we look back on his best moments so far, as well as predicting deserving testimonial participants.
After joining Tottenham in 2012 from French side Olympique Lyonnais for £12 million, Hugo Lloris had a promising first season at White Hart Lane. Despite not playing as regularly as he would have hoped due to veteran Brad Friedel’s flying form in the Europa League, he definitely provided Spurs fans with early signs of what was to come for the next decade and beyond. Friedel was one of a plethora of goalkeepers who accepted secondary status to Lloris, along with Michel Vorm, Paulo Gazzaniga, Joe Hart, Pau Lopez and most recently Fraser Forster.
There have been many memorable moments during the Frenchman’s chapter, including his interview after defeat in Zagreb, labelling it as a ‘disgrace,’ explicitly telling his teammates to ‘respect the badge.’ Many will also recall his heated argument with Heung-Min Son at half-time against Everton over the South Korean’s defensive work rate, which then manager Jose Mourinho turned into a positive as the team went on to win.
Having made 336 appearances for the Lilywhites, Hugo Lloris has made some unbelievable saves during his time in North London proving himself as one of the best shot stoppers in world football. He also has an impressive catalogue to back up this claim.
Firstly, Tottenham’s captain led by example in their Champions League tie against Manchester City after he saved a penalty 11 minutes into the first leg, which ended 1-0 to Tottenham.
In the second leg, Lloris then made a majestic reaction stop to deny a Kevin De Bruyne rocket, reinforcing his excellence between the sticks. These two vital moments against Pep Guardiola’s side resulted in Tottenham going to the Amsterdam Arena for one of the most memorable nights in the club’s history.
Lloris also made a special save when faced with a 90th minute penalty in the same season, 2018/19, against Arsenal’s then captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Not only remembered for the immense Jan Vertonghen goal-line clearance, but a vital point which helped secure Champions League football for the Lilywhites, putting them above their local rivals (again).
European football provides the Frenchman with a stage to shine and he did just that in a 2016/17 Champions League match against Bayern Leverkusen. Lars Bender put a ball across the six-yard box leaving Javier Hernandez with the simplest of tasks, at least that’s what everyone was to assume. The Mexican striker’s effort was pulled out from under the goalkeepers chest as he rolled across the line and kept the ball from going in, despite Chicharito running off in celebration. It was many people’s save of the season that year.
With all of these flashbacks to key moments, it is important to remember Lloris has aged like fine wine (I have come this far without referencing his drink driving offence in 2018). His most recent show of magnificence was an away game in the 2021/22 season against Aston Villa. Ollie Watkins thunderous effort merely bounced off Lloris’ palm and was deflected for a corner. This game Spurs went on to win 4-0, but what the skipper would have cared about most is the clean sheet.
All this being said, Hugo Lloris is soon to become a member of an elite group of Premier League players to have reached 10 years at one club. This poses the question, who will participate in his testimonial game?
The last player to reach this milestone at Tottenham was fellow club legend Ledley King, who held a testimonial match at White Hart Lane in 2014 after retiring two years prior. This game featured a ‘Guest XI’ and a Tottenham side made up of players then with the club. Based on this format, Lloris will be able to invite former teammates of his to play on his team made up of former Spurs players. The French skipper may also invite players he has a good connection with from the national team.
A vast majority of the 2016/17 Tottenham team would be expected to be making a return, including Mauricio Pochettino to manage the former players’ side.
The first three players I believe that will be invited to the testimonial game are all familiar with Lloris’ mother tongue: Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Moussa Dembele. This would be particularly special for Dembele as he once tweeted his excitement to play at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and was unable to do so as he was sold before he got the chance. All three Belgians were immense for Tottenham, but Dembele was a special player that comes once in a blue moon (as every player he has trained or played with will tell you).
Moussa Sissoko and Serge Aurier will most likely reunite at this game after being close friends at the North London club. Danny Rose will almost certainly be welcomed to the pitch having already returned to Tottenham as a player, captaining the U21s in their pre-season fixtures. This completes a potential starting defence with Lloris’ the fulfilling his usual role for his team.
There are a wide array of options in attack for the remaining positions in the squad, which I am assuming will take the same 4-2-3-1 formation the Lilywhites used during Pochettino’s tenure. Recently appointed coach, Jermain Defoe could be an option for the striker role, with the current eleven acquiring the services of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son. Returns would be near set in stone for fellow Premier League players Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli after both having a strong relationship with the Frenchman.
Winger Erik Lamela and current Spurs coach Ryan Mason may return to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after both striking up a strong friendship with Lloris during their time at the club. Fernando Llorente and Vincent Janssen were two strikers that had differing experiences at the club but are both familiar with Lloris and share a good connection with him.
The big name most people will be hoping to see at the game, however, is Gareth Bale who will hope to not miss this testimonial having missed Ledley King’s all those years ago. The undeniable love Spurs supporters have with the Welshman would make for a memorable atmosphere. A full capacity stadium never got to see Bale live during his return to the Premier League and this would be the perfect opportunity for fans to show their gratitude.
All these names currently are possibilities, with some more likely to attend the match than others, but one thing is for certain. Hugo Lloris will go down as a club legend at Tottenham and deservedly so. He deserves a testimonial match to be recognised for his supreme shot stopping ability and mastery between the sticks. A cultured captain that has led his team through adversity and will hope to lead them to trophy triumph under Antonio Conte this season.