At the Dijon training center, expected this Saturday (9 p.m.) at the Parc des Princes, Grégory Coupet arrives with his eternal smile that protrudes from his mask. A personalized anti-Covid weapon where he wrote a tribute message to his friend and ex-teammate in Lyon, Luc Borelli, who died in a car accident in 1999. We imagined him spending 17 years in Lyon like his model, Joël Bats . But here he is in Burgundy since this summer. Without bitterness but not forgetting to whom he owes his departure from OL.
Why did you go from Lyon to Dijon last summer?
GREGORY COUPET. I needed to find a human sense in my job as goalkeeper coach, to reform a team with technical staff. Here, the pleasure is greater than what I experienced at the end in Lyon. I am the happiest in the world even though I suffer from sports results.
Do your relations with Rudi Garcia, the coach of Lyon, explain your departure?
The relationship was not super fluid with Rudi. I had badly lived the eviction of his predecessor Sylvinho whom I adored. He was rigorous but when he arrived he tried to adapt to us. Rudi, he sought entry to impose himself without dialogue. One example among others, as soon as he arrived, he said to me: there is no way the third goalkeeper will be there on the eve of the match. I replied that this number three, Anthony Racciopi, was scheduled to be number 2 and that if he did that, he would “kill” me sportingly. He didn’t want to hear anything. It’s up to me to go and explain it to the guys. I don’t work like that. He disappointed me.
Until spring, you waited for news of a possible contract extension …
I knew I wouldn’t get anything but no one was able to tell me the truth to my face. It was not complicated though. I would also have liked President Aulas to be worried about my situation and ask me what is going on. But I didn’t get a call. No more after that.
Does this environment disappoint you?
Let’s say things would get so much easier with a franchise. My luck is, I’m not financially strapped. I am free not to make concessions. In Dijon, things are going really well with Stéphane Jobard (the coach) because he really consults me. Not to pretend, and it’s very nice.
Against Paris, your guardian, Saturnin Allagbé, may be in great demand. Is there a specific preparation for this kind of match?
No. There are only strong points in this team, so the idea is not to change anything and not to waste unnecessary energy on a specific preparation. On the contrary, it is necessary to go there with modesty and a little fear which will allow above all to defend well. We do not risk anything because, on the scoreboard, we did not plan to take three points. It’s a big Tour de France pass, and you’re not a climber.
Could you one day train the PSG goalkeepers?
Why not if there is an osmosis with the coach. At the same time, I feel good about the family structures. At PSG, I like Gianluca Spinelli, the Italian goalkeeper coach. I also watch how he trains his guys, and it’s really interesting. When he speaks, he gives off an energy that I really like. I enjoy interacting with him.
How do you feel about this “energy”?
The feeling is very important. For goalkeepers, a handshake means a lot. One must feel a force and a frankness. Somewhere, we are getting closer to the spirit of rugby. The goalkeeper position is the link between football and rugby, that’s clear. There is the culture of giving of oneself. There is no cheating and you understand that it is very important to me.
How is the position you hold a special job?
A young guardian needs to be confronted with someone who has had a background, human trust alone is not enough, so my past speaks for me. In Lyon, if Joël Bats, my coach at the time, had asked me to swim across Lake Tignes, I would dive. That’s why I rely on my career and my track record. Young people tap Wikipedia to see what I have done and then they listen and respect. I also tell them about my big blunders. Recently, to illustrate the importance of the kicking game, I reminded them of a derby against Saint-Etienne in 2008, where I cleared the head of Bafé Gomis who had scored. It makes me human and audible.
Bruno Martini was your goalkeeper coach for the France team. How did you feel when you heard of his disappearance?
An immense sadness. How can we leave so early? Really, it’s ch … Bruno, he was a great guy. He was a keeper, and to me that means something. He was picky but also very attentive to men. We spoke the same language even though he had more cultured or more valuable words than mine. He had education and wisdom.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr