Mikaël: "Monaco has the training DNA"
Mikaël has been an AS Monaco supporter since 1989 and plays as a goalkeeper. An obvious link is made immediately: Jean-Luc Ettori. “He was the one who motivated me, he was really the example. Then different players came along, my gradually growing up with them AS Monaco became a bit like a drug… “. Mikaël adds: “We managed to attract world champion players, Argentines, Italians, Germans. Monaco has always had a cosmopolitan side.” All of this is coupled, of course, with very effective training.
An educator not only in schools but also at his football club, it is with pride that Mikaël saw several young Academy players take the pitch at the Stade Louis-II during the Red and Whites’ win over Strasbourg, last Sunday. “When you see that match against Strasbourg finished with 4 academy products and that all of them have been capped for the French youth teams it’s a good thing to take away from the match,” recalls Mikaël, who speaks of AS Monaco as a Club having “DNA suited for training.” However, he adds “We have to be careful to protect our young players well because they are still learning and do not yet have all their footballing and human maturity. It’s great to see players like Eliot Matazo or Chrislain Matsima playing, but we shouldn’t put them in the spotlight too quickly with unnecessary media pressure. The work being done by the Club with the Cercle Bruges is important. These young players must be given playing time without expecting too much from them to start. Not all of the best have exploded at 16-18!”
Now having played their first minutes with the first team, Eliot Matazo and Chrislain Matsima were not unknown to Mikaël when they first appeared. « I watch almost all of the Academy matches, and if I can’t see them live, I opt for replay. As an educator and a true guru of tactics rather than technique, it helps me a lot,” explains Mikaël, who would very much like to see a league at some point in the future combining the reserve and youth teams from the professional clubs in the same division according to their age group. “As well, it’s really very nice to see certain former players return to the Club in recent years, because it proves that there are still links with those who have made history with us.”
As best he can, Mikael thus links his work as an teacher with his passion for AS Monaco by also considering the word of the manager at a press conference. “The game in Rennes was one of the best in the last four years. But when Niko Kovac spoke about losing, without making excuses and saying we will work to improve, that’s the right message to give,” remarks Mikaël. And afterwards, he proved it, since we won a tough match against Strasbourg. We never would have won this kind of match last season! Against Reims, Metz, Strasbourg, you need strength of character to achieve what we have done. We have shown a desire to win and that is a really good sign. Even if there is a collective or technical lack at one point, the desire of the players can transcend the whole team.”
Happy to have regained part of his AS Monaco glory years with the club’s “promotion of training,” Mikaël will have to be patient before seeing his charges again in a stadium. “Last year, the match in Brest did not take place, I could not make it to Rennes, Lorient were not in Ligue 1 … In short, it’s been a long time“. For a long time, so much so that the memories of his last match are not completely intact: “It was at Lorient.” After some research, it was a victorious trip to play Les Merlus in January 2016 (2-0, goals from Thomas Lemar and Joao Moutinho). An eternity! “But we must not forget that we are 1000km from the Rock, we are really far from everything”, admits with this supporter of AS Monaco who spent his holidays in the Principality this summer: “We saw the stadium from the outside, but unfortunately the training sessions at La Turbie were behind closed doors.” As to the training center, Mikaël admits he “Can’t wait to see the training center in action,” seeing in this building an “exceptional tool for development.”
So it is probably from home – as the current health conditions oblige – that Mikaël will watch the match between Stade Brestois and AS Monaco. “At home, with a colleague or two who will obviously be rooting for Monaco… Otherwise, they would not be invited (laughs). Even if we respect the Pirates, we do not want to be slated at work the next day.” While waiting, one day, to see his beloved Rouge et Blanc in Brittany, he revels in fond memories of the early 2000s: “I hope that, as in the days of Didier Deschamps, AS Monaco will return to Brittany for their summer training. We have the right climate here, as something to welcome the club.” The rain, is it just a cliché? “It’s true that if we had gone to the stadium on Sunday we would have been wet, especially since the grandstand is not covered. But hey, we are from Brest we’re not made of sugar!”. Everywhere, always, and in any weather: nothing can stop the passion of the Red and Whites’ fans!
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