Member of the Paris Saint-Germain management committee since 1986 and former president of the capital club between 2006 and 2008, Alain Cayzac is the exceptional guest of Europe 1 Sport. He answered questions from journalist and editorialist Jacques Vendroux and Cédric Chasseur this Saturday for nearly 25 minutes in Europe 1 Sport, presented by Lionel Rosso.
On the eve of the clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille, the 80-year-old former manager Alain Cayzac gave an exclusive interview to Europe 1. He talks about the genesis of the “classic” between PSG and Marseille. OM, his memories of these historic matches but also the frustrated relationship between the Parisian supporters and the leaders of the capital club, which he considers to be up to the club and respectful of history.
The history of the PSG-OM Classic: “It was a bit of a marketing creation”
“The story of the French clasico is that at one point, Canal+ bought PSG and Canal+ had the rights to football. They wanted, in order to enhance their rights, for there to be high-level matches and in particular, to create a confrontation which is a derby between them and Marseille. It was a bit of a marketing creation. Then, over time, the passion developed. I would say that at the beginning, there were fervor. And then, very quickly, the fervor became a bit more warlike and there was a bit of violence, unfortunately. A kind of civil war at times. It was gradual, but I think that today today there is perhaps a little less passion, a little less verbal violence than before. We will see tomorrow.”
A rivalry that still means something? “My heart is still beating”
“It depends who you talk to. If you talk to someone who is indifferent and who is not a supporter or a former manager, they will say that now they don’t care a bit. PSG are richer, n There is no competition. PSG has an international vocation. Marseille, even if they are doing well at the moment, no. But if you talk to a PSG supporter and I am one, my heart always beats when there is a match. For me, it’s a match that is absolutely not like the others. It’s something very special. I’m not saying that it can save a season. I don’t think that if we win, it will erase the disappointment of the European Cup. But it will still be a good little bandage.”
The Michel Denisot – Bernard Tapie and Canal + rivalry – TF1: “There was a lot of friendship”
“It was a professional and sporting confrontation. But there was a lot of friendship between Michel and Bernard. I don’t know if the word friendship is the right one. I knew Bernard Tapie well from advertising. I knew very well well Bernard. I always liked Bernard. Until his death, I really had very good friendly relations with him. Relations between Michel and Benard were rather good. At the beginning, Tapie even gave some advice. There there were a lot of exchanges of players, remember, there was a Germain (Bruno) who was in Marseille and who came to Paris, there was Fournier (Laurent), who was in Marseille and who came to Paris, there was Roche (Alain), who was Marseille.
It got worse with Fiorèse (Fabrice). It was the Halilhodzic era (Vahid, PSG coach from 2003 to 2005). I am the president of the association, so I was a bit like the vice-president. I went to all the matches, I followed the team and Vahid demanded that at each match, I make a speech to the players and especially before the OM-Paris or Paris-OM matches. I always found a message to pass on. And indeed, there was the Fiorèse era, a good PSG player who went to Marseille.
His best memory of clasico: “A match that knocked me out of joy”
“I have a specific memory in 2002, I don’t know why. A victory in the Coupe de France on penalties against OM at the Parc des Princes. (Jérôme) Alonzo was goalkeeper. I was overjoyed In 2003, there was a match that personally knocked me out of joy at the Stade Vélodrome, where we won 3-0, with two goals from Ronaldinho. I was on a little cloud, like a drug addict. And then, In 2004, there were also some very interesting things, there was Pauleta’s famous lob on Barthez and there were two wins in a row in one week.
We play in Paris in the league and we win 2-1 and in the League Cup, three days later, the coach decides to put an almost reserve team from PSG. There was Benachour (Selim). There was no Pauleta and we won 3-2, including two goals from Boskovic, and a goal from Bernard Mendy on an error by Lizarazu.”
How does he live the clasicos? “I can’t stand any comments”
“I can’t stand any comments. Unfortunately, I can’t go to the stadium anymore because of my disability. I’m going to watch it here with my wife, who doesn’t comment! It’s an exceptional match for me but I don’t don’t show it by shouting because that’s not my temperament. I remember everything. So when I was president, I also had politicians next to me. But these people were great because whatever the game, they weren’t talking.”
On the relationship between the PSG team and the supporters: “I don’t understand that there is a gap”
“Me, I don’t understand that there is a gap. I never understand that we get angry. We’re in the family. Me, it’s now that I most want to support PSG. And the evening of the defeat of Réal, I sent messages to Nasser, to Leonardo, to Jean-Claude Blanc. Today, I am with them whatever happens. And when I was president, I must recognize that the supporters were a bit like me. We didn’t only have very positive results at the time, since we also came close to going downhill. And when I called on the sacred union, the supporters came to 45,000 against Nantes, against Auxerre.”
His view on the current PSG: “We have become a global franchise when we were a good club”
“I may surprise you, but I’m super positive. In my time we played the League Cup and now the European Cup. It has nothing to do with it anymore and it’s thanks to the Qataris. It’s not that we had worked badly before, there were founders like Borelli and Hechter. But the means and the intelligence with which this club was formed in ten years, for me, is marvelous. Unlike many , I say that Nasser is a great president. Leonardo recruited the first players who made the success of the Qataris. When I was told Verratti (Marco), when I was told Pastore (Javier), I did not know that they existed.
So now we will remember the mistakes he made, like I made when I recruited. I think Leonardo is good, that Nasser was good too. They had the elegance to see me right away. I hadn’t put in any money, I didn’t count for much, except that I had a certain image with the supporters. Nasser saw me, we had tea. He listened to me, I explained the club to him. I told him that for example, if we move from the Parc des Princes to the Stade de France, I will no longer be a PSG supporter. That’s not why they stayed, but I think it played anyway.
They didn’t make a mistake on that side and for me they worked well. We have now become a global franchise when we were a good club. We are a young club, 50 years of history is nothing and ten years with the Qataris is not much. Of course there is a lot of progress to be made, there are things to improve, but I had a meeting yesterday at PSG on the move to Poissy. A space of 74 hectares for training and for medical, for pro players, it will be fantastic.”
His departure from PSG: “I am no longer a real president”
“There was a match in Caen where we took 4-0. I told Sébastien Bazin (club shareholder) ‘see you tomorrow, I have a plan for the end of the season.’ I had ideas in mind with Houillier (Gérard). The next day, he came to the Parc des Princes as we had planned, Le Guen (Paul) was there too. He said to me ‘You remain president, but I put Michel Moulin as sports adviser.’ I said in a minute ‘listen Sébastien, me, if I’m president with someone I didn’t recruit, whatever their qualities, it doesn’t matter, I’m no longer a real president.
Tonight, I gather my family clan composed of my wife, my two sons and my two daughters and you, you think again at night and we have breakfast here the next day. Either you changed your mind, or I change my mind and we discuss it. Either we stick to our positions.’ We saw each other the next day and I said ‘I won’t change one iota’ and he said ‘no problem.’ There was a press conference three hours later.”
On the Hechter jersey: “Fashion evolves”
“I’m only going to make friends, but I think things are changing. Fashion is changing. As long as we keep the basic blue and red jersey, it’s already very good. The cradle is gone. For For me, it’s so important that we kept the colors blue and red, that we’re at the park, that people like me are respected. When I go to the Parc des Princes today, I have the impression to be a prime minister. They show that they have a respect, whatever people say, for the roots of the club. Is it the same everywhere?”
Does PSG respect the past? “Overall, yes”
“Overall, yes. And I have no reason to say it if I don’t think so since they don’t need me. I don’t expect anything from them. I don’t want to be president of Paris Saint -Germain. So it can always be better but overall, yes.”
His favorite PSG player?
The coach he liked the most?
The team he liked the most? “A team where there would be all my idols”
“It’s more of a mix. It would be a team where there would be all my idols. It wouldn’t be very balanced, very offensive. Safet Sušić, Javier Pastore, Rai, Pauleta, Neymar, Messi too, Luis Fernandez, Alain Roche , Ricardo would be there and Joël Bats.”
On Kylian Mbappé: “In Madrid, he will not make history”
“I don’t know if he will hear me. I think he knows me a little because he sent me photos, very kindly. Let’s forget the fact that I want him to stay, it’s obvious. If I were his adviser, I would strongly advise him to stay at Paris Saint-Germain for at least two years. For what reasons? Madrid is a very good club. I’m not going to spit on Madrid. Madrid has already a lot of European Cup, a lot of players who have marked the history of Madrid.
And today, if Mbappé goes to Real Madrid, he will be very brilliant. But it will not mark history. I think he is very attached to records, prize lists and marking his era. And I think he has a much better chance of marking his time at Paris Saint-Germain. If Mbappé succeeds in leading us to be number one in Europe, it will be Mbappé’s victory.”