CHRISTIAN NADE’S new, ripped physique would do justice to the front cover of Men’s Fitness magazine. He has shed around two-and-a-half stones since changing lifestyle 18 months ago and now employs his own personal trainer. Yet every club that contacts him still asks the same questions: What weight is he, what’s his body fat and what’s his body mass index?
It gets frustratingly repetitive but the French forward simply answers politely. He is seeking new employers after leaving Raith Rovers last month and wants to return to Scotland’s top flight. Hamilton Academical invited him for pre-season training and he hopes a contract offer will materialise in Lanarkshire. He trained there towards the end of last season, but only after Accies asked those predictable questions. When it comes to Nade, clubs find the past hard to forget.
It wouldn’t be exaggerating to describe Nade as the proverbial Hellraiser in his Hearts days, but that was a long time ago. He is now 30 and a changed man, a lighter man, and a far more focused footballer. Questions on his weight continue but he continues to bat them away, confident his ability can do the talking in the Scottish Premiership again.
“I went to Hamilton and did training and they were really happy with me,” Nade told the Evening News. “I was happy with them as well. They offered me the chance to go back and do pre-season with them so I’m delighted with that. Hopefully I get an offer there within the first two weeks.
“In England, there is a Championship club and a League One club want to see me as well. If I want, I can go on trial at so many places. Lots of clubs have said they would like to see me to see if I’ve really changed. They want to see if my body has changed. Even before I went to Hamilton, they were asking what my body fat was. This is still is people’s minds, which I can understand. They want to see before they make any decision.
“It could be frustrating but, at the end of the day, all this is my fault because of what I’ve done [in the past]. I completely understand. The thing is, I know the truth. I know how I feel, I know how my body is. I can still understand them, they don’t know what I know. I’ve got a personal trainer so I’m training hard every day before pre-season starts. I want to be ready.”
Hamilton remain Nade’s best option and he is determined to make the most of his opportunity during pre-season. The body has been rigorously knocked into shape, the ability has never been in doubt, the only question is whether he will score enough goals at the top level. He managed seven in 33 appearances for Raith in last season’s Championship. The Accies manager Martin Canning needs a new striker with 36-year-old Jason Scotland now employed as player-coach. Nade already has a bond with a fellow Frenchman at New Douglas Park.
“I only spoke with the assistant manager, Guillaume Beuzelin, and he knew me. He said he wasn’t surprised by what I could do and he was really happy. He said if it was up to him he would make it happen now but it’s not up to him. We will wait until I go into pre-season with them and see how it goes then.
“By then I will know the situation of the Scottish Championship clubs who are interested. Some teams would like to sign me just now but I am just keeping my options open at the moment. I know there are some English clubs interested as well.
“I have been in football a long time and I know that speaking is nothing. Until the contract is in front of your eyes, it means nothing. If I have an option in front of me and the contract is on the table, well, I will think about it but not for too long. If it’s a Premiership club in Scotland or a Championship club in England, then it will just depend on the offer.
“Of course it will depend on money because there is a difference between the Premiership in Scotland and the Championship or League One or League Two in England. My agent doesn’t tell me everything. He will just do it and then tell me at the last minute. I know there are some offers but, right now, there is nothing signed. In Scotland, Hamilton is the best option I’ve got.
“I want to play at the highest level possible. I know I have the possibility to play in the Premiership in Scotland. I know that. I trained with Hamilton and I know I can fit in there. It depends if they are going to offer me something.”
Having played in Scotland, England, France, Thailand and Cyprus, it would seem unlikely that this will be Nade’s last career move. “I feel lighter and lighter, so I don’t know,” he laughed. “If I sign a one-year contract, I will only be 31 when it ends so I could still find something. If I could sign a two-year or a three-year deal somewhere, then I could settle down.
“I struggled towards the end of last season with a problem in my back but it’s totally fine now. I know I can bring something to any team in the Premiership. I mean that - any team. I feel great and all I want is to play my football.”