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Sunday, November 27, 2022

His career started on the PC, is it now ending because of pyro chaos?

At 36, Pablo Longoria has been president of Olympique Marseille for a good two years. This is less surprising when you know that the Spaniard, in the service of the upcoming opponents Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League, began his career in football as a five-year-old, so to speak. Longoria gave OM an identity and made the club successful again. However, he recently threatened to withdraw.

Scout, manager, sports director and president: These are the positions that Pablo Longoria has held in professional football since 2007. And not at any clubs, the 36-year-old has already worked for Newcastle United, Sporting Huelva, Atalanta Bergamo, US Sassuolo, Juventus, FC Valencia and since August 2020 at Olympique Marseille, Eintracht Frankfurt’s opponent in the Champions League (9 p.m. in the morning). LIVE TICKER).

Since the 1.70 meter tall Asturian with the characteristic goatee and mustache signed on at France’s most popular club, things have been looking up again for OM: Twice in the past three years they have made it into the premier class. In 2020 and 2022, Olympique finished runners-up behind the overwhelming PSG.

Longoria started out in Marseille as sporting director, but after chaotic supporters of the club stormed the training center armed with fire torches and smoke bombs, President Jacques Henri-Eyraud, who was hated by many of the supporters, resigned. His successor: Longoria.

He’s not unpopular. And yet the supporters could also be his undoing: After the terrible events in the first leg against Frankfurt, the Stade Velodrome with its more than 63,000 seats had to remain empty in the group game against Sporting Lisbon, in Ligue 1 against Lens and in the Champions League against Tottenham Hotspur remains a part of the grandstand closed. Longoria has had enough. And he threatened the fans.

Olympique Marseille: President Longoria resigns in the event of further riots

“I am at OM to help the club grow again in Europe. If one day we are banned from European competitions I will leave,” he said. If President Longoria actually leaves, it would be the worst possible scenario for Marseille.

Mainly thanks to the Spaniard’s work, the team has been steadily improving over the past two years. Longoria acts wisely on the transfer market – just like he learned as a child in the mid-1990s: in the football manager game. At that time he preferred to manage clubs from Serie A, at that time the best league in the world. Longoria spent hour after hour studying the mechanics of football management.

“My generation has spent countless hours understanding how to build a team, sign players and sell them,” Longoria said in an interview with El País Deportes.

To this day, Longoria prefers to poach in Serie A. He has often brought players from Italy to Provence, but not a single one from Ligue 1 (!). And even today, he still values ​​data when scouting, but he “puts it second to adaptability, especially to a playstyle,” he said.

OM: Even Benchwarmer Milik praises the President

This summer, Longoria specifically brought in experienced, French and Spanish-speaking players such as Chancel Mbemba (free transfer, FC Porto), Eric Bailly (on loan from Manchester United), international Jordan Veretout (€11m from AS Roma) and former superstar Alexis Sánchez (free transfer from Inter Milan).

At the same time, Longoria also managed to get rid of players who sat on the bench with expensive salaries and poor performance, such as Kevin Strootman, Valere Germain, Nemanja Radonjic and Kostas Mitroglu.

The strength in the transfer market was even underlined by Pole Arkadiusz Milik, who switched to Juventus in the summer. Despite not being at his best in Marseille and often on the bench under coach Jorge Sampaoli, Milik has nothing but praise for OM and President Longoria.

“Every six months we got stronger. I came in January [2021, Anm. d. Red.], the following summer we qualified for the Champions League thanks to great players. Through the CL qualifiers, they have signed players with great quality again. I see the improvement and I believe this team can be successful this season and I wish them the same,” he said.


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