“Thank God for putting me on the path of Michel Hidalgo … In football, men like him are rare, very rare. He never does things like the others and, there again, Luis Fernandez has chosen to distinguish himself with this tribute so special and so strong to the coach who disappeared this Thursday at the age of 87.
Michel Hidalgo was unanimous during his career at the head of the French team from 1976 to 1984. He was praised and recognized by all as an outstanding technician. The day of his death, he still gathers all the old Blues on his person. His captain and master of play, Michel Platini, of course salutes his memory, recalling the human qualities of the former coach, “a gentle gentleman, educator and sincerely humanist”.
“He was exemplary of humanity mixing the benevolence of the educator with the affection of a father,” said Platoche in a press release. He gently protected me, allowed me to thrive on the field and was one of those who allowed me to become the player I have become. “Euro hero won at home in 1984 with nine goals, Platini owes Hidalgo the installation of the famous” magic square “in the midfield, which allowed him to give his full measure to the position of playmaker.
“Michel, as coach, has taken the French team to the top of its game, by making the choice of the beautiful game with determination and allowing each of us to express all of our individual qualities and talents, continues l former UEFA boss. He leaves a considerable legacy to the France team. He rebuilt French football internationally. His vision and his work still vibrate today in all of our national team’s matches. “
Deschamps greets “a deeply nice man”
Noël Le Graët, the president of the French Federation, also greets an exceptional man: “Michel Hidalgo is one of the biggest names in French football. It marked the history and the palmares of French and international football with the first major title won by our team of France. Through his game philosophy, his personality, his exemplary passion, he contributed to the influence of our sport on the international level and to its popularity in France. “
The current coach, Didier Deschamps, had crossed paths with Hidalgo during his time (as player then coach) at OM. “I had the chance and the privilege,” he says, “to get to know Michel. In good and bad times, he has always shown great kindness towards me. He was a deeply nice man. Beyond his technical skills, it is also the memory of his kindness that I want to remember. To his relatives, his friends, I send my sincere condolences. “
In addition to Platini, all the alumni of the 1980 generation of the French team wanted to translate the affection and respect they carry, and will always carry, to Michel Hidalgo. “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, ”reacted Bernard Lacombe.
Jean Tigana also has fond memories of a “human” technician who “delegated a lot, in the field and in the management of the group”. “But he always found the right words to encourage, to console, he always knew how to speak to us. “He was someone who was respected by everyone,” adds the former Monaco coach. With the president (Editor’s note: from the Federation) Fernand Sastre, they gave dynamism to French football, they succeeded in making it take steps while taking enormous risks in the game. “
Like what Maxime Bossis entrusted to us, Marius Trésor insists that Hidalgo knew how to decomplex the French players, who stayed on years and years of failure at the international level. “He knew how to make us aware of our possibilities,” slips the former central defender of OM and Bordeaux, remembering a match in Brazil in 1977: “At halftime, he gave us a speech muscular and we saw the result. Led 2-0, we returned to the mark to make 2-2. It was the boy, by his words, who managed to put his team back on the right track. “
Alain Giresse: “He imposed great rigor”
Alain Giresse, finally, one of his favorite players, insists on his human side. “He was someone with a lot of kindness. He took care of others and was always attentive. However, there was no carelessness. He imposed great rigor and respect for the team’s game. He bet on mutual understanding with the players. He had the connection. When he took over the France team, he had a very clear idea of what he wanted to do. At the time, the selection did not have good results. But he did not want to copy the style of Spain or the Netherlands. His credo was to find an identity that would suit French football and French players. He put in place a tactic that allowed us all to stay in our registry. His guideline was clear: everything had to go through the middle because that’s where the game is built. “