Guest star of La Tribune, a popular talk show on Belgian TV, Montreal Impact defender Laurent Ciman spent more than one hour talking about Belgian soccer news but also discussed his own situation and his future – a future, he said, that will be in MLS “for sure.”
When host Michel Lecomte asked him “Will you stay in Canada? Are your plans there?” Ciman answered without hesitation:
“For sure, they are in MLS, as I feel good there. I still have one year of contract left. I hope to finish the year, and to extend it [in Montreal] if the club gives me the opportunity. In any event, there are clubs showing interest for my future in MLS.”
That answer quickly generated speculation on social media, Montreal fans wondering if the player could leave the club. That led to a Twitter reaction from NTL Sports Management, the agency representing Ciman:
Stop thinking that there is an underlying reason of contract negotiations every time @LaurentCiman23 tweet or say something.— NTL Sports (@NTLSPORTS) November 21, 2017
Dont need twitter to increase his value. Everybody will see him in the world cup next summer. His value will go up dont worry
Contacted by MLSsoccer.com to react to the comments made by Ciman, the Impact answered that they “have nothing to add.” The central defender is still under contract in Montreal for next season.
One thing is pretty sure, though: after three years in Montreal, Ciman feels at home in MLS and highly respects the league. He never missed any opportunity to show it and to share it during the show, speaking among others of the “brand-new Atlanta stadium hosting 70,000 fans.”
Sitting next to former Newcastle star Philippe Albert, he was asked – as it often happens when international MLS players come back home – to compare the level of the league.
“It’s growing, the level is good. I don’t say it’s as strong as the Premier League. But personally, I think that it’s stronger than the Belgian Pro League," he answered, before starting a passionate chat with columnist Stéphane Streker, fond of MLS and supporting Ciman’s arguments – among them, the hiring of coaches bringing new ideas.
“They start to bring coaches from Europe, with a vision of soccer that is part of themselves, and that’s a good thing,” Ciman said. “Soccer there isn’t the number-one sport, they are more into hockey or basketball. Bringing that vision will attract more people and change the trend.”
Ciman gave another example of the growing importance of soccer in the United States by speaking about the US men’s national team missing the World Cup.
“It was a shock! Even if it’s not Italy, the non-qualification of the United States was felt as a disaster.”
He was also asked about his own situation with the Belgian national team, given that Ciman is among the numerous MLS players having a shot at playing at the 2018 World Cup.
Saying that he feels more connected to current head coach Roberto Martinez than to the previous one, Marc Wilmots, Ciman added: “When you see the playing time, there’s no comparison!”