August 10, 2014 – AS Monaco hosts FC Lorient on opening day of the 2014-2015 Ligue 1 season. For Leonardo Jardim it’s a great first, who has just been appointed coach of the team red and white. Finishing second in the previous season, Monaco is preparing to return to the Champions League and is a logical favorite. Yet things do not happen as hoped.
In the 9th minute, Vincent Aboubakar converted a penalty obtained after a foul by Aymen Abdennour. Shoved, the Red and White react, but collide with a young 23-year-old goalkeeper named Benjamin Lecomte, just designated number 1 by Lorient coach Sylvain Ripoll, now coach of the France U-21 team. The author of several spectacular saves, he cannot stop a Radamel Falcao penalty in the 78th minute. We think then that AS Monaco will make the difference late in the game, but it is the Merlus who score a second time in the final moments.
A little more than nine months after this failed start, les Rouge et Blanc gradually progressed. Authors of a superb European run, stopped only in the quarterfinals by Juventus, AS Monaco clings to the third place, qualifying for the 3rd preliminary round of the C1, and must absolutely prevail in Lorient during the 38th and last day not to be passed by Marseille.
Yannick Carrasco’s opener in the first half is a first step. A penalty obtained in the middle of the second period must be the second. Anthony Martial then presents himself to Benjamin Lecomte. He decides to shoot hard right of the keeper, but Lecomte goes on the right side and deflects the ball for a corner. Again decisive, even if he can not prevent the victory of Monaco, the Lorient goalkeeper confirms that it is one of the revelations of the season, playing all 38 matches of the championship. He gives way to former Monegasque Fabien Audard in the final moments of the match to offer a nice tribute to his predecessor.
In the shadow of Fabien Audard
With 37 appearances in L1 in 2015-2016 and 31 in the following campaign, Lecomte could not prevent the relegation of Lorient to Ligue 2. It is with Montpellier that Benjamin Lecomte continued his adventure in the top flight in 2017. The challenging final season with Lorient was appreciated by the young man, who knew how to wait for his time and work in the shadows.
Born in Niort, after having begun playing football in the fields of Arcueil in the Paris region, he did not choose the goalkeeper position permanently until the age of 14 before joined FC Lorient permanently in 2009. He then embraced a role of backing up Fabien Audard, that he held over four seasons, and appearing in 13 matches in Ligue 1. In 2013, the time had come for him to take the next step.
He found happiness on loan to Dijon, despite playing in Ligue 2, which will give Lecomte a new dimension to his career. Playing 31 convincing matches with DFCO during the 2013-2014 season, he gained confidence as a top choice keeper during the following season. He more than confirmed that status three years later when joining the Herault.
The blue dream
In 2017, Benjamin Lecomte is already considered one of the best goalkeepers in the championship, but a season of high flight will make him take a new course. 38 matches, 14 clean sheets and the UNFP Trophy 2018 for the best goalkeeper opened the doors of the France National Team.
It may have happened a little late, his first match coming just after the conquest of the Blues in Russia, but enough to make him happy. In September 2018, Lecomte is in the front row at the Stade de France to attend the world title celebrations, where another Benjamin, named Mendy, celebrates to the sound of Vegedream. Still performing well in goal for Montpellier in 2018-2019, he is again selected by Didier Deschamps last spring, as part of the qualifiers for Euro 2020. At 28, with now almost 200 games and five full seasons within the top flight, Benjamin Lecomte continues to confirm his value on the field, but also outside.
Stade Louis-II, where everything started …
Despite the rigors of becoming a top flight keeper, Lecomte has always been consistent in his kindness and sincerity wherever he went. Even with the physical requirements of the position, supporters are quick to be critical of those who come up short.
Married, father of two children, Llily-Rose and Leandro, Benjamin Lecomte has already planned a family photo on the lawn of Louis-II, his new home turf. Since he does not have a short memory, he will be able to tell them that it is here that he made his top division debut as a keeper, on October 26, 2010, during a Cup match. Nine years later, a new story begins and Benjamin is determined to make it as fruitful as the previous ones.