A month ago, the young Servettien celebrated his 18th birthday with a first start in the Super League. Two more followed. Before the trip to Young Boys on Saturday (8:30 p.m.), he recounts his last weeks.
A week is sometimes enough to change a life. On Wednesday March 16, Valton Behrami celebrated his eighteenth birthday. To him the majority, and the new realities of his adult life. He had no idea that his would soon be that of a Super League player. That day, he was just a talent in the Servettian academy, lined up with the U18s at the weekend, in training with the U21s during the week. And then there is this internal match, which is not intended to be that of detection.
But fate doesn’t bother with formalities. “The coach (editor’s note: Alain Geiger) was there, sees the young left side again. The next day, I was called for my first training session with the first team. I was immediately well integrated, by the players, by the staff. And then, the second workout I did was a specific. In these moments, we normally see who will be lined up over the weekend. And I was with the starters. I did not really understand: I said to myself that it was perhaps a mistake. Looking back, Valton Behrami has fun. Obviously, there was no mistake. It was he who was going to be lined up on Sunday, in the derby against Sion, won 2-1.
It was only a month ago. And yet. “Everything went super fast,” says the man who started football at Onex. Passages by Team ACGF, then Meyrin. Before integrating Servette in M15. “At the time, I was a striker, he explains. And then, in Servette, the then coach (editor’s note: Bernardo Hernandez) explained to me that they were going to put me on the side. At first it was complicated.” He also had to accept the forced break due to the Covid, when he was starting to get used to the post. And then, the progression was intended to be regular: never outclassed, before this winter, where we sent him to M21. “With the ball, I’ve always had ease, but I had to improve a lot defensively.”
Obviously, he did it well. Until ending up in the Super League, and even regularly. Of the last four matches, he has played three (Sion, Zurich and GC), all as starters. “The first game, I felt pressure, he admits. But good pressure. Steve Rouiller helped me a lot. I talked a lot with Kastri (Imery) when we were at the hotel the night before. Jérémy Frick also came to see me. And then, once the match started, I was in it. On the ground, Vincent Sasso also needles him a lot.
Remarks which the side does not deprive: “Where I felt a real difference with what I knew, it is in the intensity of things, he details. For example, if you lose sight of your player for two seconds, it’s over. What also explains variable performances, but legitimate for a player of his age. He does not hide it: “Against Sion, it was good because they did not come to seek us. I had a freedom in the game that was good to take for a first. On the other hand, against Zurich, it was much more complicated. We were always one on one, because of their system. And that required more intensity and focus.” Real-time learning.
A CFC to complete
Not enough to draw too many conclusions. Valton Behrami will of course be in the squad on Saturday, for the Garnet trip to Wankdorf, where they face Young Boys. And that already represents a lot: “Frankly, I did not think at all that I could play professionally at 18, he is still surprised. This naturally changes my career plans a bit. But I believe that football is a matter of merit. So I take things as they come.”
Behrami (no relation to Valon, despite the closeness of their first names) still juggles with school. Schedules arranged, but a CFC to be completed, a priori this year. Before probably devoting himself completely to football. “Playing in the first team is only one step on a long road to accomplish, he relativizes. But being able to play for the club of my city, it gives me a lot of pride and happiness. The adult he has become is still a kid enjoying the moment.