‘I Was Signed to Replace Pique But Only One Man at Barcelona Would Speak to me’

French defender Jean-Clair Todibo opens up about his struggles whilst at FC Barcelona.

A picture of Gerard Pique's at Barcelona with silhouette of Jean-Clair Todibo and Barcelona logo/theme

Jean-Clair Todibo’s career thus far has been a turbulent one for a player who is still only 24 years of age. After making his breakthrough at Toulouse FC as an 18-year-old, the central defender was snapped up by five-time Champions League winners Barcelona in the 2019/20 winter transfer window. However, it did not transpire to be the dream move that Todibo would have wished, as he was immediately farmed out to Schalke 04 where he struggled to break into the starting lineup and on his return he was loaned to Benfica where he failed to make an appearance before being recalled.

It was OGC Nice where he finally found some joy, with his loan move to the Ligue 1 side being made permanent the following summer. All in all, between 2018 and 2021 the defender was on the books at five different clubs across four different countries before finding stability at Nice. In a recent interview with Amazon Prime France, he explained what went wrong during his time in Barcelona.

Todibo on what went wrong in Barcelona

“I just wanted to play”

Todibo in action for OGC Nice

Since his move to the South-East of France, Todibo has flourished and shown why he was so sought after as a young player. Now that he has found this stability, he was able to open up on his time at Spanish giants Barcelona and why he felt it did not work out for him in Catalonia. In an interview with the press, via Mundo Deportivo, Todibo put his turbulent time in Spain down to the lack of first-team opportunities granted to him, stating:

This lack of opportunity and communication is highlighted when Todibo added that he was supposed to be “Pique’s replacement” but never really got a chance for himself.

Legendary Spanish defender Gerard Pique was a key part of one of the greatest teams to play the game at Barcelona during the early 2010s and he went on to retire from football at the end of 2022. The Catalan club opted to look in other directions than Todibo when deciding who would replace the Spaniard, with fellow Frenchman Jukes Kounde taking his place alongside Uruguayan Ronald Araujo at the heart of the Barcelona back line.

Todibo Statistics vs Barcelona Central Defenders since Season of Piqué’s Retirement (2022/23)

League Appearances
Pass Accuracy %
Tackles made per 90

Interceptions made per 90

Jean-Clair Todibo

Jules Koundé


Ronald Araújo

Todibo’s Turnaround

Nice star learned when “playing with great players at Barcelona”

Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo in action

Despite things not working out in Spain, Todibo has kicked on since his move to Nice and has been a consistent performer at the back for the French side over the last three seasons. Whilst there have been several managerial changes at Nice, the centre-back has been a near constant, making 117 appearances for Les Aiglons to date.

He earned his first French national team cap in September 2023 in a Friendly against Germany before going onto make his competitive debut in Euros qualifying against Gibraltar in November of the same year and Todibo has given some credit for his development to Barcelona. The defender believes he “learned a lot training and playing with great players at Barcelona” and he has taken any lessons learned on board as he moves forward and continues his career.

Todibo is likely to be in high demand as we enter the summer transfer window, but having finally settled at a club, with a contract that runs until the summer of 2027 and with his market value at an all-time high, it may take a sizeable fee to pry Todibo away from the Ligue 1 outfit.

Wherever the Frenchman is playing his football next season, he will be hoping to be involved in European competition, with Nice having finished fifth to secure a UEFA Conference League spot for the 2024/25 season. Despite the challenges he has faced he has developed into a very promising defender, and with a lot more senior football under his belt than when he moved to Spain five years ago, the 24-year-old has proven that he deserves opportunities to play at the highest level.


Related Posts

Our Privacy policy

https://newsjob24.com - © 2024 News