PSG: Marco Verratti in his garden of drunkenness


Between an explosion of Football Leaks and the important night party on Tuesday at the San Paolo stadium in Naples, which would mark nothing less than the likely elimination in the Champions League (in case of defeat in Italy and a Liverpool victory in Belgrade ) and at the end of the 2018-2019 season of a Paris-SG already champion of France, the case could have gone unnoticed. No luck: every heart beat of all or part of the club in the capital is good to take. We go back in all directions, we interpret, we extend the line of force that seems to draw, we test this in contradictory facts: in short, we laugh.

Kindness and aggressiveness

On the night of October 30 to 31, Italian international midfielder Marco Verratti was tested in the Paris circular with a blood alcohol level of 0.49 grams per liter of blood, to a limit of 0.20. : placed in a cell of sobering, was already probationary, which says not a disadvantageous circumstance but a fragility. He did, however, play Friday in the league against Lille (2-1), well beyond that: the social networks lit up in the air of "double weight, two measures", since his teammate Kylian Mbappé had been five days before for five minutes late in the pre-game chat, the striker have not seen the time as he watched the classic, Barcelona-Real Madrid (5-1).

Paris coach Thomas Tuchel argued, "What Marco did is not good, but it's up to the club to fix it [et non à lui, ndlr]. I have to control the locker room, the sportsman. and [l’écart nocturne de Verratti] happened well before the game of Lille ", no sporting impact, therefore.

In other words, the delay of Mbappé was within its jurisdiction, whereas the one of Verratti has particular implications and implications. As a result, the club reported that it was blowing up part of the player's "ethical bonus", a variable part of the salary aimed at controlling the peripheral aspects of the field, such as talking to a journalist without permission from his employer. And the Italian confessed before the microphones: "I made a mistake and apologized the next day [auprès du coach, ndlr]. I'm still young. It will serve my future, to tell my children not to do it. It does not change anything on the field, I wanted to do more because I knew I had something to forgive for myself. "

It must be believed: Verratti thinks in every word. However, this is not the first gap of the player, nor the most problematic: life is diabolical. Verratti is first a smile that we saw immediately; the day of his press release on 18 July 2012 between Paris's President Nasser al-Khelaïfi and then sporting director Leonardo, who had taken him from his hometown club Pescara in Abruzzo. of the Adriatic Sea), by means of the colossal means for a Player of the Series B (the second transalpine step) that many great clubs had in the display, it is true: "I'll do it quickly, I'm not what you expect" since a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be enthroned after him in the amphitheater of the Parc des Princes. The followers of the Paris club were immediately in the bath: much kindness and sweetness, a somewhat passive edge with their aggression on the floor.

A life sometimes floating

And, above all, a clandestine touch. At the time, Verratti was only 19 and the weight of a club-status on his shoulders, the Italian coach of the time speaks of his exit as a "scandal", but the small middle (1.65 meters) walk in the shade, leaving the "footballer-state" (Brazilian captain Thiago Silva, Ibrahimovic and his ego XXL, Thiago Motta and his domain of the arcana) use sporty and mediately the heavy Parisian building. "So I decided not to change friends, He explained backyard in 2016. These are the same since very young, as for my girlfriend, by the way. I've known her since kindergarten! I know that many come to "fake friends" because I am a football player. I respect everyone. And I greet everyone. But I know how to share things. "

His family helps him a little: his brother Stefano, who followed him in the capital, will take care of a little of everything, for example, playing the role of driver. This will talk about his brother's wife, Laura, now the mother of the two sons of the player: "A serious girl he knew before he became famous and rich. Having a young child with a woman you do not know well can break your career because you can divorce and never see your child again." So much for the real life of the balloon stars. From then on, the Parisian term will take place in two notes. The first: a somewhat fluctuating life, sometimes taking the step of the hilarious "Pocho" Lavezzi, runner-up with Argentina in 2014 and "Which one did not ask when he was leaving, but rather when he found time to go home" (close to the Parisian locker room). The second: sometimes attractive as the player is strong with the ball but a general impression of stagnation, as if the one for which the greatest coaches of the continent promised an exceptional fate surreptitiously descended a few steps between two phases of progression.

Twenty-seven caps with only Squadra Azzura at 26, while no less than five coaches marched on the bench and Verratti was long one of the few Italian midfielders or attackers to play in a European club: given age and qualities (power, technique, sense of combat) of the player, something is wrong. But what? The only one to have publicly opened the case was Laurent Blanc, his coach in the capital between 2013 and 2016. He lamented his indiscipline: insults to opponents – we have testimonials under the elbow -, the body ran arbitration and took risks with the ball passing in Ligue 1 – where Verratti walks – but not beyond; as if his qualities of control of the balloon had disappeared after a certain course. Recently, in Team, Former Parisian Jerome Leroy admitted disappointed: six full years at Paris-SG and a player still unable to export his dribble 30 meters higher in the field, where taking risks is allowed since the loss of the ball. it is no longer potentially deadly. Blanc sometimes praises the progress of his community, especially in self-control.

And then nothing: nine months ago, during the eighthand return of the Champions League 2018 against Real Madrid (2-1 for the Spaniards strengthening the 3-1 of the first stage), "Little Owl" – he owes this nickname to his companion, report to his eyes, believe he understands – was sent back to the shower by the German referee to protest. Parisian fans, who adore him, claim passion, overflow; a failure by which enthusiasts always have a lot of leniency. The journalists, they see a man of a rare franchise, somewhat innocent in an otherwise Florentine locker room; little man lost in the intricacies of a complicated club. And it is still a limit for which reporters have much benevolence.

And Verratti evolves thus, from indulgence to indulgence. And he does not move. Why not? After all, it's also worth it. "We do a job that is above all synonymous with pleasure for us, he explained in 2015. Even if taking risks is more fun for the player than for a fan or club, because if we cost a goal … It must be football entertainment because otherwise we lose the magic. So I'm not afraid to take chances. I like that, even if you have to choose the moment. It's my way of playing. "

"Golden Prison"

A (super) school player making the line bigger: the coaches are suspicious, but the players themselves have a great respect for these guys because they live closer to the origins – the one-on-one on the street, ball-footed – and send them back to a purity free of power games, media manipulation and soccer marketing. Verratti is not very free anyway.

During the summer of 2017, after having the club's dance capital through its manager to force a match with a strong existential connotation (I ceiling), he had been returned by the Paris administration and asked to transfer his agent on the treadmill. Bitter, he commented as follows on the columns of Tuttosport : "Players can not leave Paris SG, Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad al-Thani [l’émir du Qatar, ndlr] has potential beyond any other club. The players are in a golden prison because the salary conditions that are made for them are impossible to find elsewhere. In Ligue 1, PSG is alone in a championship of puppets. "

The golden prison and the solitude of a player who navigates at first sight, in a biotope that maintains both the isolation and the defects that the environment had still identified since the first morning. By showing just enough to get the crowds on the big nights: a half empty shot, a half full shot.

Grégory Schneider


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