Memphis explains how he changed at Lyon following miserable Man Utd spell
Memphis Depay has explained how he has transformed since moving to Lyon from Manchester United in January 2017.
Depay spent 18 months at Old Trafford, where he was expected to shine but ultimately struggled for regular game time.
As such, he moved to Lyon for an initial fee of around €16 million and quickly regained his confidence.
His eye for the spectacular, notably scoring from the halfway line against Toulouse, and his flair saw him established as a cult hero at Parc OL.
Sunday’s clash with Nice is primed to be his final game for the club, though, with his contract due to expire at the end of June.
Ahead of an anticipated move to Barcelona in the summer, has reflected on how he has changed since leaving Man Utd.
“I’m calmer and additional responsibilities have pushed me to that way at times, to think twice before acting,” Depay told L’Equipe. “When I see young players like Rayan Cherki, Maxence Caqueret and Melvin Bard, I have a different approach now. At 23, I was more self-centred.”
Depay hails Lyon spell
Indeed, Depay paid tribute to Lyon after a turbulent spell at Man Utd.
“I was barely 23 when I arrived here,” Depay said. “I’ve changed, I’ve grown up. I’ve become a man here. When I look back, it’s beautiful to see.
“I’ve made memories for a long time, friendships, too. This was my home. It feel weird to think this is my last game here and it makes me sad to leave with an empty stadium, without the supporters, but my family and friends will be with me at this special moment.
“I had a great time here, I played in the Champions League, I became a captain, a better player and a more complete player.”
‘It’s difficult to tell myself I’ve not won anything in Lyon’
Depay has chalked up 55 assists and 76 goals for the Ligue 1 side so far, but admits he will depart with a sense that he has not fulfilled his potential.
“I wanted more – I always want more,” he said. “I arrived as a talented young player. I will leave as a mature player who has taken his responsibilities. Four-and-a-half years, it’s a long time.
“At 27, I’m old enough to be the man I wanted to be. I leave with lots of good feelings: I gave everything, and in return, the club made me happy to be a footballer again. I liked everything, the club, the stadium, the supporters.
“When I look back today, I miss a trophy. It’s difficult to tell myself that I haven’t won anything in Lyon. Losing the final of the Coupe de la Ligue on penalties to PSG last July still hurts me. But reaching the Champions League with so many players trained at the club last year was great.
“I have only had positive feelings here since the first day I was introduced to the stadium and felt a connection with the president. I would have liked to offer him more.”