The man who made French football rhyme with victory. The apostle of the beautiful game. The teacher and the humanist. Whether it is Michel Platini, Bernard Lacombe, Jean Tigana, Marius Trésor, Maxime Bossis or even Bernard Genghini, the players who reacted to the death, Tuesday March 26, of Michel Hidalgo have all insisted on these three facets of the one under orders from which they played for the French team at the turn of the 1970s and 1980s.
“He rebuilt French football internationally, alongside Fernand Sastres and Georges Boulogne, and this after several years of deep crisis. Michel, as coach, has taken the French team to the top of its game ", recalled Michel Platini, who was one of the flagship players of that time.
With Michel Hidalgo on the baton – he was coach between 1976 and 1984 – the Blues qualified for the 1978 World Cup, after twelve years of absence, before gaining momentum until winning the Euro in 1984, the first major trophy in the history of French football.
"Pleasure above all"
The wand, in this case, knew how to be flexible, as Maxime Bossis pointed out: “He was the first coach to give us a lot of freedom on the pitch, trusting us and treating us like adults. " What Jean Tigana confirmed, evoking a technician " human ", who “Delegated a lot, in the field and in the management of the group. He always knew how to speak to us ". "He was more than a coach or a coach. He was our dad, our grandfather, very close to people. He was very human and very sincere ”, supported Bernard Lacombe.
He was also and above all a lover of the beautiful game, as all his former players wanted to emphasize. "He loved beautiful developed football and he was not afraid to take risks. For him, it was pleasure above all, even if we criticized him a little ", thus told The team Bernard Genghini, member of the “Magic Square” set up by Michel Hidalgo: Michel Platini, Alain Giresse, Bernard Genghini and Jean Tigana, all four aligned in midfield.
"It is to him that French footballers owe the contract on time", that is to say, a freely definite contract, which replaced the lifetime contract in 1969, also made a point of recalling the National Union of Professional Footballers. "He was a man of duty and conviction", insisted the players' union, of which Michel Hidalgo had been the second leader.