Learn from French example: DesaillySeptember 7, 2017
Marcel Desailly has urged the Indian team to rise to the occasion during the FIFA under-17 World Cup that the country is set to host, and make its debut in, next month.
The former French World Cup winner was part of a ‘FIFA Legends’ team that beat an ‘Indian Icons’ side 5-4 in an exhibition match, as part of the promotional activities leading up the junior World Cup.
Speaking to the media after the game at the D.Y. Patil stadium on Wednesday, Desailly cited the instance of his own side which lifted the World Cup on home soil, beating Brazil in the final at the Stade de France in 1998.
“The Indian team playing at home is something really special. I feel they should prepare well physically and psychologically to handle the pressure on home soil,” Desailly said. “France won the World Cup on home soil in 1998 because we were able to [take] that pressure, remain positive on the field and produce an extra edge to our performance through the games.”
Desailly, who rose from an academy in Nantes and went on to make his mark as a central defender-turned-attacking midfielder during his career for club — most notably Marseille and AC Milan, with who he won Champions League titles in 1993 and 1994 — and country, and later as an expert on television post-retirement, spoke of the money involved in football these days.
“Football has changed; you have to understand that it has become a business worldwide. You have to accept that things will happen (on a scale) higher than before,” he said, and referred to Paris Saint-Germain breaking the bank to acquire Neymar.
“PSG is only following a model that other clubs have deployed for 15 years. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and Milan and have been buying players. From €100 million, the player contracts has now grown to €200m. In the next 15 years, it may be €300m… It is the business of football,” Desailly said.
“The media and television rights have brought this energy, this business into the system. Barcelona received €222 million for Neymar, they spent €105 million on (Ousmane) Dembele from Borussia Dortmund, so the money is going around in the system.
“I hope it is for the good, and will help the academy and lower-level clubs create infrastructure.”
On the Under-17 World Cup itself, Desailly said: “For India, the tournament is an opportunity to shine and start something on a different level in this continent where football is taking over.”