Hibs loan star addresses future and admits: 'I want to play at the highest level ...'

Nah, we aren't letting you go ... Myziane Maolida is embraced by Rocky Bushiri and Lewis Stevenson after scoring one of his 11 goals for Hibs.Nah, we aren't letting you go ... Myziane Maolida is embraced by Rocky Bushiri and Lewis Stevenson after scoring one of his 11 goals for Hibs.
Nah, we aren't letting you go ... Myziane Maolida is embraced by Rocky Bushiri and Lewis Stevenson after scoring one of his 11 goals for Hibs. | SNS Group
Former 10 million Euro man grateful for rescue from Hertha hell

Top scorer Myziane Maolida has thanked Hibs for revitalising his career – but admits that a desire to play at the elite end of football makes a return to Easter Road unlikely. The Comoros international, officially a Hertha Berlin player for another year, has been touted all over Europe by his parent club on the back of his successful half-season in the Scottish Premiership.

Maolida was languishing in the German regional leagues with Hertha’s B team when Nick Montgomery signed him in January. Since making his debut at home to Rangers on January 24, the former 10 million Euro player has banged in 11 goals in just 17 starts for the Hibees.

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Forever grateful for the chance he got to play his way back into football, the former Lyon and Nice attacker said any questions about the chances of returning to Hibs should be directed at chief executive Ben Kensell and new sporting director Malky Mackay. But, asked outright whether he would accept an offer to extend his stay, Maolida said: “I don’t know. I want to play at the highest level I can.

“I will see what happens in the transfer market. If I have a good opportunity to move, for me it’s logical, I want to play at a high level.

“I don’t know for the future; you’ll have to see with Ben and the new director! It’s not for me to say something. I just tried my best here to help the team, show everybody I can play many games without injuries, and play with a good mentality. I’m happy.”

Maolida still hasn’t spoken to anyone at his parent club back in Berlin, having been effectively ostracised by head coach Pal Dardai, who sent him to the B squad before making some extremely disparaging comments about the forward – who has played mainly on the left for Hibs – and his work rate. Now that he’s officially a Hertha player again, there will be some contact between the parties – but zero chance of a return to the Bundesliga 2 club, who finished ninth in the Germann second tier.

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“I have to see with Hertha what is happening,” said the 25-year-old. “I think it’s clear that I want to leave Hertha, so I will see for the future. I haven’t had contact, but my agent has had contact with the sporting director.

“My mood has changed a lot since I came here. I was with the second team at Hertha Berlin, and I was very sad, it was bad in my head.

“These six months with Hibs have given me a lot for my career, for everything. I am grateful to the club and the coaches, Nick, all the staff and now Davd Gray.”

Admitting that Hibs will always hold a special place in his heart, whatever happens next, Maolida said: “Yes, very important. I would like to say thank you to all the people at the club, they helped me a lot. I had a warm welcome from all the staff, players and fans. I want to say thank you because I felt very good here and enjoyed my football.

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“It’s been a very good time for me. Everything was not perfect, but I’ve tried my best.

“We tried for the top six but didn’t get there. We gave the maximum, but it was not enough. I was disappointed and sad for the top six, but that’s football. The 1-1 against Motherwell was very difficult, but it’s like this in football sometimes and you have to accept it, keep working and keep moving forward.

“For me, I am happy because I helped the team with goals and assists. That made me smile again. I’ve played every game and tried to enjoy it, play my football with my qualities. I tried my best and I’m really happy to play for Hibs.”

The financial realities of football dictate that Maolida, on a contract agreed back when Hertha were still in the Bundesliga, with all its riches, should always be out of reach for a club like Hibs. Which makes their ability to land him during the winter window all the more remarkable.

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Berlin are looking for one of two options with regard to their unwanted asset next season – either a club willing to pay most of Maolida’s wages for a season-long loan, or a team able to sign him outright. Economics are almost guaranteed to exclude Hibs from the race for his services.

They’ve had value for money out of the arrangement struck in January. And the player has also benefited from a chance to prove himself to a few of the doubters, admitting: “Yes, but I also proved to myself that I can play many games, score goals and help a club like Hibs.”

For what it’s worth, Maolida thinks interim head coach Gray would make a good choice of successor to Montgomery, explaining: “He can be good because he knows the club – he played for Hibs – and he knows all the players. I think he can help the team to go to the best position.”

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None of which is likely to be of major concern to the forward, who will tackle World Cup qualifiers against Madagascar and Chad before turning his full attention to the next step in his career. Admitting that he might keep his phone handy during international duty just in case he misses a call from his agent, Maolida smiled as he said: “Yes, but the transfer market opens later so I will see. I will just enjoy these days and prepare for the next games.”