“For me, he will be at a big European club in one or two years. He’s the strongest goalkeeper I’ve seen,” declared Andy Delort in mid-October on the show Rothen s’ignée on RMC. The 32-year-old center forward spoke about Marcin Bulka, the current goalkeeper of OGC Nice, who should start again this Friday evening (9 p.m.) on the pitch of Clermont Foot 63, in opening of the 10th day of Ligue 1. And given the start of the season of the Pole, who has established himself as one of the key elements of the Gym, we are ultimately not surprised by these comments.
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Nine matches. Six clean sheets. Four goals conceded. The statistics speak for themselves. While he was confined to an understudy role during the previous year (only two Ligue 1 matches in 2022-2023), Francesco Farioli made him his number one goalkeeper upon his arrival last July. A choice which proved relevant since after having played a quarter of the championship, OGC Nice occupies second place in the ranking, one point behind the Monegasque leader, without having conceded the slightest defeat and having the best defense. Excuse me a little. And the former Paris SG goalkeeper - who arrived on the Côte d'Azur in the summer of 2021 on loan, before being transferred there permanently in July 2022 - is one of the great architects of this start of the season outstanding.
It was he, in particular, who allowed OGC Nice to achieve a (very) important success at the Stade Louis-II, against AS Monaco (0-1) on September 22, by saving two penalties by Folarin Balogun. Logically, Francesco Farioli was full of praise for him after the meeting. “I experienced both penalties with hope and confidence that Marcin Bulka could stop them. He did it twice. It’s an immense satisfaction, assured the Italian coach to journalists. His story is beautiful because of his past and the choice, not easy, to start him this season. When I said from the first day that he had everything to play in Ligue 1, I meant it. And tonight, I am rewarded for this choice. Thanks to his good performances, the man who is under contract until June 2026 won the trophy for best Ligue 1 player of the month of September.
SEE ALSO - The best of Marcin Bulka with Paris SG
But the weight of Marcin Bulka in the Nice organization exceeds his performances on his line. Indeed, Francesco Farioli, very interested in the position of goalkeeper - he is notably the author of a philosophy thesis entitled Philosophy of the game. The aesthetics of football and the role of the goalkeeper -, confers a role preponderant in its last bastion in the construction of the game, which must start from the rear. “For the goalkeeper, it’s about making the right decision with your feet. It's risky. The more you have the ball, the more likely you are to lose it. I touch more than before during matches,” explained the Pole to RMC Sport in mid-September.
More concretely, the Gym doorman very rarely raises “long”. Before facing Olympique de Marseille, he was the second goalkeeper to throw the shortest throw (26 meters on average) over six meters, behind Parisian Gianluigi Donnarumma (17 meters), according to the statistics of the Ligue 1. New prerogatives that suit him well. Even if he does not forget the essential: “Afterwards I always have to make stops, that doesn’t change,” he recalled in mid-September. This Friday evening (9 p.m.), he will have to do it again to allow his team to win in Clermont to (re)take the temporary lead in Ligue 1.