Futur naturalisé Français en Creuse, Nenad Mitrovic s

Futur naturalisé Français en Creuse, Nenad Mitrovic s’est intégré grâce au sport

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He has almost no memories of his native Serbia, which he left when he was 6 years old. Carried away in the suitcases of his parents fleeing the war, Nenad Mitrovic first landed in France in Limoges in 2010.

Arrived without knowing a word of French

Not speaking a word of French then – “I didn’t even know how to say hello” – his first year was complicated. “Especially at school, I was a little pushed aside,” he says. I was just watching what was going on most of the time. But after a year, he felt much better. “I learned quickly, he judges with hindsight. And then TV, it helps a lot, by dint of hearing French spoken. He begins to make friends with other young people in his neighborhood. “Near my home in Limoges, there was a park where I went very often. I made a lot of friends there. There were Bulgarians, Armenians, Comorians and French. We were all together, it was so good. I hung out with them the most. »

Caring teachers

At school, the teachers make a point of supporting little Nenad in particular. “The primary teachers helped me a lot, it was super nice of them,” he comments. Only one name comes to mind: Madame Fromage.

It wasn’t my favorite, it was the one that pissed me off the most

For example when she tried to give him the floor, but he refused to take it. “I was afraid to express myself in front of others, especially since I didn’t know how to speak very well, so I said ‘no, no'”, recalls the young man with dark hair and full beard. Or when, when asked what he would like to do later as a job, he replied that he wanted to “play football”.

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Grandson of a Serbian professional footballer and CR7 fan

Yet what boy football fan has never dreamed of becoming a professional footballer? Nenad was more legitimate than others to caress this fantasy since his grandfather, Dragan Mitrovic (he bears the same name as his father) was a professional footballer in Serbia… But his absolute idol is Christiano Ronaldo , aka CR7. “It’s amazing what he’s doing, his physical condition for his age (he is 37 years old, editor’s note). I support every team he plays on. I am also a bit of a Footix (1) for that, ”he smiles. He is also fascinated by the Swedish player Zlatan Ibrahimovic. “I wanted to look like him. From 6th to 3rd, my friends compared me to him, I had the same style of play. It was super cool. »

Nenad Mitrovic, at his home in Guéret on July 4, 2022.

From soccer to MMA

Above all, sport has been a very important means of socialization and integration. Whether in a club or at school – where he was reluctant to return to class after recess to be able to continue playing, to exert himself – or even via sports associations. “When I was there, I sold calendars: there is surely my head above. I was in all the photos because I did a lot of sports. There is only mountain biking where I was not. It’s not really my thing. “Following the move of his family from Limoges to Guéret in 2014, Nenad Mitrovic quickly found himself at the football club. Then, four years ago, he took up street workout. “It’s a mix of several sports: bodybuilding, gym, break. We do that at Courtille where there are traction bars. More recently, he discovered a new passion for boxing and MMA (2), with his Irish world star Conor McGregor. “It was the first to have been champion in two different categories”, informs Nenad, who cites two other top names in the discipline who impress him: the American Sean O’Malley and the Swede of Chechen origin Khamzat Chimaev. The Guérétois is largely inspired by the discipline to which these athletes are subject.

They help me in everyday life, mentally and physically. As soon as I get a little slack, I watch their videos.

Even his father, Dragan, is impressed by his son’s rigor: “He doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, gets up at 6 a.m. to go running… I couldn’t do that!” “, he says, smiling. But if there is a discrete “sportswoman” who arouses the joint admiration of Dragan and Nenad, it is Negmida Husein, the tireless stay-at-home mother. “She’s incredible,” enthuses Nenad. She works a lot at home, takes care of us (him and his two little brothers aged 9 and 10, Editor’s note)… Once, I told her that I was going to mow the lawn and an hour later she had already done it! »

The Habitat Jeunes residences in Guéret (Creuse) are betting on football to help with integration

First trip to his native country

Despite his overflowing passion for sport, Nenad Mitrovic would have liked to become… an interior designer! “The decor, all that, I like! But I wasn’t good enough. I wanted to move towards a BPJEPS (diploma in youth supervision, popular education and sport, editor’s note) but my parents refused to let me live alone in Limoges. “Finally he should get a civic service with Anima, the center of animation of the local life of Guéret. “I like working with young people. I will supervise futsal and boxing outings, barbecue, canoeing, at the museum…”, lists the young man, who will soon retake his license after having “missed not much” two weeks ago. Before undertaking, at the end of July, the first trip of his life to his native country. A return that he apprehends, whereas he has kept no memory of it and that he lost during his young years a little of his mastery of the Serbian language. He can count on Dragan and Negmida: “Sometimes, when my parents talk fast, I don’t understand! »

(1) Nickname taken from the mascot of the football World Cup in France in 1998 designating people whose support for teams is uncertain.
(2) Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a combat sport combining many disciplines, ranging from judo to Thai boxing, including wrestling.

Photos: Bruno Barlier
Text: Daniel Lauret
daniel.lauret@centrefrance.com

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