English Everton legend opens up on ‘tranquil’ life with French club in 10th tier

The Goodison Park hero moved to the French outfit in November in the hope of a new-life.

<p>Five years after leaving Everton, Tony Hibbert has  joined ES Louzy in 10th tier of French football. </p>

Five years after leaving Everton, Tony Hibbert has joined ES Louzy in 10th tier of French football.

Everton legend Tony Hibbert has opened up on his shock decision to come out of retirement to join French tenth-tier outfit ES Louzy.

The former Toffee - who turned 41 on Sunday - went into retirement in 2016 after 25 years at the club and 328 first-team appearances, but shocked fans with a move to the French side back in November.

Since then, the 41-year-old has been living a life of tranquility, balancing his professional career with family time and even tending to the fishing pond he owns in Villiers-en-Prayeres, near Reims.

Speaking to French media outlet SoFoot, Hibbert said: “With my wife, I searched everywhere in France. I have a small business in the north, but I really wanted a nice city. 

“I know a few people who live not far from Louzy and I tried the experiment.

“Liverpool and Louzy, it’s day and night. And that’s what I came for. Tranquility. I’m not here to retire, but to do something different, a new experience. 

“I am happy here. We laugh a lot, I enjoy my children a lot and I take the time to work on my business.”

Five years after leaving Everton, Tony Hibbert has joined ES Louzy in 10th tier of French football (The Mail)

Typical of Hibbert’s modest demeanour, it took some convincing from Louzy president Jérôme Archambeau that there will be no media uproar.

“He didn’t want any media. It was clear, crisp and precise.” explained Archambeau.

“The purpose of his coming was to change the scenery and find peace there. He did not want to come in the most complete anonymity, but did not wish to make the front page of all the newspapers.”

Since his arrival in November, Hibbert has quietly been settling into his new environment, improving his fitness and taking time to pass on his experience with the club’s under-13s.

“I really enjoy doing that”, Hibbert added.

The Blues veteran has moved into centre-back for his new side, and first-team coach Greg Rousseau knows he still has a top player at his disposal with a great attitude.

He said: “He really has that little something extra. We realise that for him, it’s easy.

“He’s there, he’s quiet, he’s super simple, he adapts very well and he’s very happy not to have that star status at Louzy.

“We have fun. Whether it’s belote (a French card game) or beer pong, we laugh a lot.”

Archambeau hopes one day for a coming together of Louzy and Everton in a friendly, but stressed that his priority is to keep the Toffees legend happy in the peaceful life he wished for.

He said: “We don’t want to upset him. The goal is for him to be happy here.”