This time it is forever: Steve Mandanda is no longer an Olympique de Marseille player. He came to Stade Rennes on Wednesday night and put an end to his fourteen-year adventure with OM, which he ended with a sluggish season and a subdued start. Too bad, given the trail that the icon will leave in Marseille.
There is film and reality. In the cinema, when Steve escapes, the whole world hangs on the pictures rolling on the big screen. In fact, history will remember that when Steve left, he did so much more discreetly. No contractual hodgepodge, no media frills. Without hesitation either. It is even hard to imagine any player other than him who could have bowed in such a clear way, moreover, to leave a club like Olympique de Marseille. But could it really have been different? No matter how satisfying it is on arrival, in the case of its huge goalkeeper, the Ligue 1 dolphin’s exercise in 2021-2022 did not leave much room for a scenario other than a break on good terms. And a pity, if this one, with 613 games on the clock, is the record holder for robes under the white and heavenly tunic.
– Olympique de Marseille (@OM_Officiel) July 6, 2022
This past season has really been for OM what a well-felt sentence between two arguments is for a good copy of a philosophical matriculation exam: a transition that was basically to leave players on the sidelines. A new management, but above all a new ardent coach and a tailor-made competitor has settled on Commanderiet. There was no need for Patriarch Steve to be on the bench of replacements, limited to a role as a undergraduate of Pau López. The arrival of the Spaniard with his super-recovery profile was enough for storm Jorge Sampaoli to choose to pull the hitherto imperishable Mandanda back from the Marseille eleven; a choice that had terrified some. There is no doubt that the person in question was affected by it, no doubt that he suffered from it. There is also no doubt that the world champion in 2018 has remained exemplary involved throughout the season, even to the point where he again became captain Courage in his lifelong club, when everything could end wrong, three days before the end of the championship. .
The last of the last notes of Phenomenon with his OM is therefore far from false, as it sounds like qualifying for the Champions League in a gala match against Strasbourg at home, with the armband on. But there was not enough to put the great Steve back in the saddle for another year, who preferred to jump into Rennes’ supersonic carriage as soon as he was released from his contract by the Marseille management on Wednesday night. And the sudden departure of Jorge Sampaoli, the one responsible for keeping it cool, could not change anything.
Not the end of Man ‘
A separation after a long and intense relationship, marked by a parenthesis in 2016-2017, as if to be welcomed with open arms when you return. The event at least promised to be painful. However, there was no tear-jerking ceremony at the Vélodrome, for the final departure of the guardian of the Marseille Temple. Given the modest farewell taken to him, the taste of incompleteness from the past year is all the more bitter. On the other hand, words seem to be enough to greet Steve Mandanda, even those from a concise, even minimalist press release. We can see the ungratefulness on the part of the club, after all the services the native of Kinshasa has rendered them. We can also discover a form of sobriety, rather in phase with what we adorned in our free time. It’s really love we need to talk about to describe the relationship between Steve Mandanda and the Olympique de Marseille. But unlike many others who have been tied to the Vélodrome stadium, it is a love built on the long term, on durability, on loyalty and solidity, as many values as the man embodied, both off and on the field. A part of unfailing stability, from which were born extraordinary signs of devotion that few players know: the fans’ song in his honor is one of these.
Bad faith can do many things, but in this case, it does not help OM lovers. Impossible to try to blame Mr. Mandanda for any failure, for clumsily trying to comfort himself with his departure. It is a legend about the club, sporting and human, which is on its way out and which in its wake carries an entire golden era. Yet, in Marseille, forever, Stevie Wonder is no longer just the name of a music legend.
By Paul Lemon