Shortly before Manchester United and Barcelona played last season's Champions League final, Patrick Dessault, one of France Football's senior reporters, boarded a plane in Nantes with Jean-Claude Suaudeau, a player, educator, coach and tutelar figure whose name is inseparable from the history of FC Nantes over the past half-century. Both men were travelling to Marseilles to meet another alumnus of the école nantaise, the Olympique Marseille manager Didier Deschamps, 48 hours before the current Ligue 1 champions were to play Olympique Lyonnais in a game that could prove decisive in the title race. That Deschamps was willing to sacrifice as much as half a day of his preparations to entertain a journalist and a retired manager tells all that needs to be told about the reverence in which he holds his former mentor. 

"For me," Deschamps said when welcoming his guests in a Cassis restaurant, "this is not work, this is a rare privilege," as it was for those who read the transcript of that afternoon's conversation in the magazine over the next couple of weeks. It ran a full 16 pages, which Dessault and France Football have graciously allowed The Blizzard to edit and translate for the benefit of English speakers. This was not an easy task, as even subjects that could have been deemed too topical for publication many months after the exchange took place carried a resonance that went way beyond the here and now. Another difficulty was to remain faithful to the tone of the conversation, which is quite unlike any other interview I have ever come across — as it would, since, strictly speaking, what you're about to read is not an interview. Dessault wisely chose to remain in the background and listen, filling Deschamps's and Suaudeau's glasses with the provençal rosé the elder had chosen from an enviable wine list. "He was my rampart," the ex-manager said of the stocky young Basque whom he first coached when DD was 12 years old. "When he [Suaudeau] noticed me at the window of the young players' dormitory," Didier remembered, "he'd stop and talk. It could go on for a whole hour." Picture the scene: a coach discussing the routines he'd devised for the next training session with a teenager who was 30 years his junior. 

Deschamps addressed his former mentor as vous, while calling him by his nickname 'Coco' (who stuck to the more familiar tu throughout), a significant nuance that indicated that the pupil, while deferring to the master, was now his equal in terms of professional status and, some would argue, his superior in terms of achievement. All Suaudeau has to show for 37 years spent with the Canaris, from 1960 to 1997, are four league titles, two as a defensive midfielder (1965, 1966) and two as their manager (1983, 1995). Deschamps, by contrast, can boast of a collection of honours that makes him the most successful figure (as both player and manager) in French football history. European and World champion with Les Bleus, the first player to reach 100 caps for France, the winner of 13 major club titles — most of them as captain — with OM, Juventus and Chelsea, including two Champions Leagues. As a manager, he hasn't done too badly either: he took Monaco to the final of the Champions League in 2004, oversaw Juventus's immediate return to the elite — as Serie B champions — after their demotion in the wake of the calciopoli scandal in 2007, and led Marseille to a domestic double in 2010 (not forgetting the 2011 League Cup). All this, and he's only 43.

However, were you to ask any leading figure in the French game which of the two men is the greater manager, Suaudeau would be an almost unanimous choice. A genius, many would say, perhaps the deepest thinker our country has produced in this field, with only Albert Batteux for company. He did not invent the jeu à la nantaise: his predecessor José Arribas was its progenitor in the 1960s, with Coco both an executor and a student of it first on the field, then as head of the club's academy; but Suaudeau refined a style of play into a system, which he worked on as tirelessly and as imaginatively as Helenio Herrera tuned Inter. At home, Suaudeau's 1982-83 team, of which the rest of Europe saw close to nothing1, is still considered one of the finest club sides, if not the finest, to have ever won the French league title. It couldn't quite match Valeriy Lobanovskyi's Dynamo Kyiv as far as results were concerned, but it exuded the same kind of beauty, poetry balancing mechanics, and added a certain sense of reckless joy to this glorious equation. The 1994-95 incarnation of Nantes, though less technically accomplished2, was only one game away from emulating Ajax, Milan and Arsenal and completing a domestic league season unbeaten. Suaudeau's tragedy (the word would not seem too strong to his admirers) was that FC Nantes simply couldn't hold on to its best players, who inevitably left for richer clubs as soon as a trophy had been won. Those players, almost to a man, had been trained in the club's academy by Suaudeau himself. Perhaps Coco's true list of honours is the names of the players (José Touré, Marcel Desailly, Didier Deschamps, Claude Makélélé — whom he was the first to deploy in the role that now bears his name), Maxime Bossis, Christian Karembeu, and so many others) he shaped on the concrete pitches of La Jonellière. He taught them a ravishing one-touch football that, at its best, deserved to be ranked with that played at the Camp Nou today. It is no coincidence that the first subject that Suaudeau wished to broach with Deschamps was Guardiola's team, as the values which are now associated with the Catalan club are precisely those for which his Nantes became France's best-loved club when Suaudeau was its manager.

Philippe Auclair

Deschamps: It's impossible to play against Barça 'in the short term'. They've played together for five, six, seven years: their game is second nature for them. When you see the way they move and how they've managed to pass on this message to players who come from all kinds of backgrounds, that's impressive. Elsewhere, a coach isn't given that time. The policy is different. It's every manager's dream, but you've got to be realistic: yes, it's lovely to watch them play, to dream of emulating them — but you've got to have the players to play that game. And everything stems from the academy. Coco, at Nantes, when we joined the pros, we'd already spent four years together in the reserves.

Suaudeau: Barça are the strongest because their midfield is the strongest.

Deschamps: The midfield battle...

Suaudeau: A game is won in midfield. Only the midfielders are able to find the right way to play. They are the animators. They are the inspiration. The more players of that kind you've got, the more you can hope to win in the long term.

Deschamps: I don't agree. What matters are the two zones of truth. In today's football, if you've got a great keeper and a great striker, you're not that far from victory. Of course, you shouldn't have muppets in midfield!

Suaudeau: I disagree.

Deschamps: OK, Coco, I know what you're thinking: it's impossible to fight against the collective power of the Catalans, therefore...

Suaudeau: Dead right. Barça are super-strong in one area: anticipation. That's the most difficult thing to pass on to players when they're very good. At Barcelona, even the smallest guy gets his hands dirty and is to be feared when they try to get the ball back. That's where Barça made the difference when they beat Real Madrid 5-0. Dédé, that's the ultimate truth — that was my truth too. I'd come to the point when I conceived my attacking game as based on getting the ball back... and when the attacker becomes a defender, eh?

Deschamps: They're fabulous.

Suaudeau: And they exploit it. Real Madrid haven't got this approach, for example. Real defend, and that's that. Every coach knows what he's capable of asking from his team. And it is in the fight to get the ball back that a team really expresses its combativeness. Barcelona are the perfect expression of that.

Deschamps: The most impressive, it's when the attackers manage to do the same work as midfielders, or even defenders. It's magnificent! But try to apply that in France, eh? ... and their three guys in midfield, the way they cut the trajectories of the ball...

Suaudeau: They have brought a culture of sacrifice to a level of perfection. Because it is very, very tiring to close the net properly. What is Barça's weakness? How do you exploit it? 

Deschamps: The most difficult thing, when you play against Barça, is when you have the ball. Either you've got it close to your own goal, which means you need to have the guy who's able to make the first pass which will eliminate the first block. But, three times out of four, they don't allow you to do that. Or it's a counter-attack and it's the same thing in the end... the first pass [against Barça] must be successful and take two or three players out of the equation. You need a guy who's got great feet and who sees things quickly, because there is no time. You must find the vertical pass that disrupts the lines.

Suaudeau: Otherwise, they close down on you like a vice.

Deschamps: ...and if they feel they've been taken out, they foul. They do that very well too. The midfield guys take care of that.

Suaudeau: When I asked you my question, I didn't have an answer to the problem! Me, I play the game in my head, sitting on the sofa, before it's been played... because we've got a right to have fun, no?

Deschamps: And it's always more fun with other people's teams!

Suaudeau: Yes, every weekend, I'm a coach... four teams a year. Manchester United and Liverpool in England, Real and Barça in Spain. I try to follow them from the first day of the season to the last. I don't pick the players — but I re-do the tactics. And the substitutions.

Deschamps: Do you regret not coaching anymore?

Suaudeau: Not at all! I stopped without regrets, 13 or 14 years ago. I didn't feel like filling in a blank page anymore. You'll see... I choose my teams for the way they play. Which teams would you choose?

DeschampsBarça, Arsenal, Manchester United or Liverpool... and Real Madrid, maybe.

Suaudeau: For Real, I haven't yet seen all that I was hoping for. I'm probably not objective, because I don't buy into Mourinho. His behaviour, his quotes, pfff... He's playing a character who is too unpleasant by far. I don't function like that. Hey — we haven't spoken about Pep Guardiola.

Deschamps: I'm asked, "Are you Mourinho or Guardiola?" It's impossible to compare them. The philosophy of one is expressed through a single club. As to the other, you can say what you want, but he wins [in Europe] with Porto and Inter, and he reaches the semis with Chelsea and Real. Fergie is the last guy who can do what he does at the same club for twenty-five years. He changes teams — he doesn't swap clubs. He does everything at Manchester United, from A to Z.

Suaudeau: You'd better be on top form at his age...

Deschamps: He delegates a lot. He doesn't direct the training sessions... Some weeks, he only comes from Thursday onwards. 

Suaudeau: Oh la la...

DeschampsHe's got a coach who does the job. At weekends, Fergie picks the team and prepares for the game. Sometimes, things that have been practised during the week are changed on matchday.

Suaudeau: Really?

Deschamps: Yes.

Suaudeau: He's the boss...

Deschamps: Pep is a coach, not a manager like Ferguson is. He doesn't look after the administration side of things, or the gardener! He's a technician.

Suaudeau: He was a very good player to start with, a very intelligent one. The guy who made the first pass from midfield. What we'd call a 'sentinel' today. Then he became an educator. He's got a plan in his head, and what's wonderful is that he passes it on to the players so well. If you ask Guardiola what his idea of football is, he'll answer that it is passing. But he'll add: what kind of passing? And how do you manage to play those passes? That's what gives the idea its flavour. He's integrated what he learnt from the older guys: football is conceived as a game of passes. The crazy thing is that these passes don't look extraordinary— but they always reach their target. That's important. You know why, DD? Because the Barça players have a mastery of the space around them, a science of anticipation and a perception of the game as a whole, with tremendous concentration on top.

DeschampsOn top of their technical excellence?

Suaudeau: It's because they practise their scales all day long. I've seen it.

Deschamps: Control, pass, control, pass, non-stop for half an hour, every day, and more if necessary. After that, it's easy. No, I'm wrong — it's simple, not easy! Choose the right moment to make the pass or not, go back: they're in it, completely. And when one of them moves towards the outside, he's not alone in doing so: the whole block moves, the players modulate their movement according to the movement of the others. It's intelligent mechanics, because you don't see two players in the same zone, everything is compensated, balanced, which means that the ball-carrier always has a solution. It's almost exaggerated at times...

Suaudeau: Agreed!

Deschamps: At times, you'll see four or five one-touch exchanges four yards apart. I'm not sure that this is very useful. Even if it's a way to attract the opponent, to make him come out, and when he does, because he's fed up, tchac! ... one guy sends the ball behind the back of the defender. Barça make sure that the ball is always in movement, because it's bound to be a problem for the opponent. When the ball is static, it's simpler: when it is moving, even within four or five yards, the passing angles are not the same anymore. This doesn't mean they don't keep the ball in midfield, not everything is done with one or two touches. But every time they take the ball, they turn round and they break you down by taking you out of the game.

Suaudeau: What's more, most of the passes and most of the play are directed to wrong-foot you and, physically, that hurts.

Deschamps: When the midfield has the ball, you've got the three guys in the middle, plus the full-backs, and Messi who drops back. To start with, he plays in the middle, but the fact that he drops back has a consequence: the opposing central defenders do not have a point of reference any longer. 

Suaudeau: The passes make the difference, but it is also the passes that can unbalance Barça.

Deschamps: Yes, the vertical pass, like Shakhtar Donetsk did so well in the Champions League quarter-finals [in 2010-11]. That's when you come back to technical quality, because you've got very little time to integrate the information and do the right thing. You need good feet and teammates who make themselves available.

Suaudeau: When you watch Barça closely, how do they pass the ball? Most of the time, with the inside of the foot. You can't send the ball thirty-five yards away that way. They use the ground, the pitch... lobbing the ball is prohibited in training. It was quite funny when I did that at Nantes. It means that those who haven't got the ball must show themselves, and that you play in the intervals between the lines.

Deschamps: My way of describing this is: below the belt. It's not allowed to pass the ball higher than that. We often did that at Nantes on the days following a game, we called that the spiel. I loved it and I still do it. To work on the tip of the triangle, then learn how to move. That's when you see the guys who can swim or who can't...

Suaudeau: Except that at Barça, they know each other so well...

Deschamps: They put it in place with toros: ten players in a circle with two guys inside who try to intercept the ball, or a circle of five and a single guy. It's torture.

Suaudeau: That's right, that's the basis of their work: rehearsal. But these are exercises which are done with maximum concentration. Not to have a laugh, even if it's fun.

Deschamps: Once again, they base their work on a philosophy. And when they need to, they go and get [a player] from outside of the system. But they get it wrong too, as they did with the Swede, Ibrahimović. Maybe he brought them something different, but they didn't stick with him.

Suaudeau: Why didn't it work for him? Too individualistic? Not at all! Too static! He's a statue, absolutely. And given the mobility of the people around him, that looked bad. He didn't take part in the collective movement of the team.

Deschamps: Coco, he's still a phenomenon! I had him for two weeks at Juve — he had everything, the skill, movement, the height, the coordination. Then, yes, when he feels like it...

Suaudeau: He moves for himself, not for the others.

Deschamps: That's true. His outlook is not collective.

Suaudeau: Precisely. I'm not telling you he isn't good, only that he wasn't in his place at Barcelona, that's not the same thing. In Italy...

Deschamps: In Italy, he's not asked to be collective, he's not asked to be an attacker who presses the opponent.

Suaudeau: Italy is what you were talking about earlier: a good keeper and a guy upfront who scores goals.

Deschamps: As long as he scores, who cares if he only touches the ball twice? A guy like David Trezeguet was like a fish in water in Serie A. Like Ibrahimović. They are both players who don't need the others. Whereas at Barça, everyone needs the others. Except, maybe, the little guy [Messi]... even then. Look at him with the Argentinian team. Why is it that he's not the same player?

Suaudeau: Because there are short-circuits in the team's movement. And he's not used to that. With Argentina, when he goes right, the rest go left, it's a mess...

Deschamps: With Barça, when you're in the axis on the pitch, there's a guy [who is available] on the side; and when there's a guy near you, there will also be another one making a run from deep. Two solutions, always. It's up to you to decide when you play against them. The solution is to lock the inside, because you're fucked if you don't; but you haven't won if you only do that — there's the problem of the flanks to solve, and, there, they're a handful.

Suaudeau: The true bosses are Iniesta and Xavi.

Deschamps: Plus Messi.

Suaudeau: They're the guardians of Barcelona's game.

Deschamps: Messi is the trigger, he hunts the ball, he's everywhere.

Suaudeau: He's a hell of a player in ball recuperation.

Deschamps: There's a point at which you can say, "Block Messi," but the other two... how do you do it? Who to put on Messi? Because, to start with, in the deployment of the team, he's an axial attacking player; are you going to ask one or two of your central defenders to take care of him, or a midfielder? If you do that, you unbalance your own midfield. Marking Messi individually is a way to limit [his influence]. But how do you do it? When Guardiola had Eto'o, he was basing his organisational choices on how quick the opposing central defenders were. If they were quick, he put Messi in the middle and Eto'o on a flank; if they weren't, he reversed that.

Suaudeau: I still maintain that Iniesta and Messi are the pivotal players. When the play demands it, they put the ball there. They do not play their own game, they play their team's game. They never veer from that basis.

Deschamps: And since Messi is bound to be near them, there is a second line of running and the two carry on combining with each other.

SuaudeauIt's like laying a false track. It's monstrous.

Deschamps: The player who matters is not the one who gives the ball, but one who receives it. It's very, very hard to do that.

Suaudeau: And who dictated the movement? The player who hasn't got the ball. If I'm the defender against those guys, I'm watching the ball — and since it is the guy who hasn't got it who dictates the play, I'm dead. They don't do it once, they do it ten thousand times and in the end, you don't even ask yourself, "Who's the boss?" since it's so natural. The defender goes crazy.

Deschamps: And they're intelligent enough — even if they get caught out sometimes — to tell themselves, "The pass isn't going to come," or, "My teammate is offside,' and, in the same movement, without a hiatus, they change their mind and change the orientation of the play. You cannot anticipate with them. You can anticipate on the guy who's got the ball, but since he's not the most important at Barcelona...

Suaudeau: You're fucked.

Deschamps: Or the lines are very compact and the pass is very difficult to execute. In that case, they switch, go right, go left, and then...

Suaudeau: They play handball!

Deschamps: And it's fast. The ball always goes faster than the players. It's hard to make players understand that it is those who haven't got the ball who matter. Since every player wants the ball... but not at Barça.

Suaudeau: Are you talking to me? You, you understood that. You were always on the move. To receive the ball. The guy who gets the ball when he's static doesn't surprise anyone. I've told you often enough: the disease is remaining static.

Deschamps: It's a simple as 1-2-3. Before the second player receives the ball, the third is already in movement. That's how you create space.

Suaudeau: Rehearsing your scales allows you to acquire this ability. Nothing comes out of snapping your fingers. That is the great truth, before you even say, "I'll play to win." It's to do with education, from the roots of your sporting education. You've got to reach a certain level. Shit — I don't how to say it...

Deschamps: ...without hurting somebody's feelings...

Suaudeau: Yes, exactly. You can't be a thicko. We're talking about an intelligent game. What I'm saying could be misunderstood, but it's simplicity itself. Even if we're talking about a higher level of intelligence. There's another thing I'd like to talk to you about. Your famous "culture of winning". Don't you think there's a bit of a problem in there?

Deschamps: It's Serie A's daily bread — and you'll agree, coach, that this is a form of football that has won a lot of trophies and which I've drawn a lot of inspiration from. You know that.

Suaudeau: I'm different from you in that respect. I am an educator.

Deschamps: Not me! But I can suggest that I am more of a competitor than you are.

Suaudeau: There's this expression "to win at all cost'. It never came to my mind. Ever.

Deschamps: For me, pleasure can only exist in success.

Suaudeau:Tchah! ... This success you talk about, it doesn't last. It's powerful, but ephemeral.

Deschamps: I have this pleasure. I remember horrible games that I was happy to win, without having taken pleasure while playing them. Playing well with no victory in the end, I say, "No", definitely.

Suaudeau: And I say the opposite. I'll find plenty of elements [in the defeat] that will enable me to win tomorrow. You live for the moment. I live beyond it.

Deschamps: I understand your point of view, as I know that progress also means going through failure — but, today, high-level football is about winning. When I stopped playing, I asked myself the question, "Do I want to become a coach? And, above all, what kind of coach? Pass on [what I know] to the young ones?" After all I'd been through, I couldn't be satisfied with that. Impossible. I wouldn't have been faithful to myself.

Suaudeau: I never thought you could become an educator, anyway.

Deschamps: I'd like to pass on what I was taught. I do like the idea of a coach who is open to the young player, if that player feels the need [to be taught]. But he has to come to me of his own will. I don't feel myself to be a coach who instigates [this exchange], all the time, with no reward.

Suaudeau: That's because you're not convincing enough. You're a fantastic winner, but not a... persuader.

Deschamps: It's mostly because I have other priorities!

Suaudeau: I'll give you that your job is harder than mine was when I was at Nantes, and was given guys who'd been trained by Raynald [Denoueix]. That's not the case with you. Hang on to your convictions. That's crucial.

Deschamps: If I have the misfortune to tell player X or Y to do this or that, I'm told that the academy is where you learn football, not the first team. But if I ask them, it has to be because they don't know themselves, right? We've spoken about 'game intelligence' already. There are several types of intelligence. Today, for example, it's quite fashionable to say that Marseille play 'badly'. Really badly. But we score a few goals, don't we? OK, we do not control everything, and I know that we have a greater chance to win our games if we play well. I adapt. My Monaco played well, no?

Suaudeau: A delight to watch.

DeschampsFrench football is [now] all about intensity.

Suaudeau: Absolutely. We don't see any change of rhythm. There is a beat, which can be high tempo, but there is no breaking away from it. Great teams control the speed of their game. They speed up or slow down when they want to. [In France], we do everything fast — but too fast, at the end of the day.

Deschamps: Too many technical mistakes.

Suaudeau: That also reflects training methods, you must concede that.

Deschamps: It also has to do with the type of player [French clubs look for].

Patrick Dessault: Has football changed that much, then?

Suaudeau: It's certainly quicker; duels are also more important — this is where impact is made today. Training methods are different. The top guys still focus on anticipation, and that much hasn't changed. But the coaches of those top teams make it even more of a priority. What I'd call 'game reflexes' are sharper, quicker, and that's something you work on at training. If you really want to know what I'm talking about, look at a toro — it's all about anticipation. The guys who are around the player or two players who are in the middle do not have both feet in the same clog!

Deschamps: Meaning they're always on tiptoe, not on their heels.

Suaudeau: Yes — you have to be like a boxer. It isn't much, but it all starts from there.

Deschamps: A toro is 'play', as in fun — but it has everything as an exercise. Small spaces, right use of the right part of the boot and, when there are two of them in the middle, the trick is to draw them to you so that the door opens and bang! 

Suaudeau: According to you, what has changed the most?

Deschamps: The environment. I've got something like a press-conference every day, dozens of phone calls, interview requests. But I manage, with the media. By contrast, it's harder with the entourage of the players. You didn't have to confront the things and people that go with football today; the agent, the brother, the cousin, the uncle... the executive who says that his coach is talking bullshit and undermines his job and his authority. Human management is more complex than it was in the past. My job is 60% on the field, 40% off it.

Suaudeau: Must be tiring!

Deschamps: Everything depends on the gap between the generations of players. Some of them have seen me play, but it won't be long before there aren't any of those left. Your credibility, your charisma allow you to do a few things, especially abroad, because, in France... pff... I've heard some people say that I wasn't talking to players, but these players should go abroad. They'd understand what a coach who doesn't talk is. I've spoken more to my players over the last couple of seasons than all my previous coaches spoke to me!

Suaudeau: Good — carry on.

Deschamps: I need this relational side of things; but it varies according to the league you're working in. In Italy, at Juve, they called me 'Mister'. When I was talking to an Italian international, Camoranesi for example, and you asked if he wanted to have a breather after an international game, he replied that it the decision was up to me, that he'd get along with it. It doesn't happen that way in France. Here, go tell a player that he's better than the guy who will start, but that the balance of the team, and the complementarity of his association with others are better when that guy is playing. It's very French: they all accept competition — as long as they're not subjected to it. Making twenty-five guys subscribe to a collective project remains simpler out of France than within our borders. The notions of pleasure and passion aren't the same anymore. It's obvious that some of them do not have a passion for football. What I went through when I was a young player was sometimes tough, but I was rewarded. How I was rewarded! At Nantes, I had one right, and only one: keeping silent. The older guys were the bosses, the young ones had to listen. When the first team played the reserves on Wednesday, I wanted to nick their place and I went in full tilt...

Suaudeau: And I didn't hesitate to pour some oil on the fire... I loved it.

Deschamps: Yes. Today, there are still a few of the older guys who are the guardians of these [values]; and if they're not in the majority, they'd rather shut up. At Marseille, Lucho and Heinze [since departed to AS Roma] are at the training ground an hour and a half before training, and still there an hour and a half after it's finished. There are others who are already at the wheel of their cars when I'm still on the field. The same guys, they go abroad, they change their attitude... otherwise they get booted out.

Suaudeau: I'd like to conclude by using a sentence that DD knows well, as I kept repeating it to him twenty years ago: "le plaisir du jeu génère de l'énergie pour l'enjeu" 3. It hasn't aged, don't tell me it has! Will I finally convince you?

Deschamps: No, that's not it...

Suaudeau: I can feel where you've gone... too much into reality. With this sentence in mind, you have fun every day, and on match days, I don't need to tell you! And you've known that at Monaco. Are you telling me it's changed since then? 

Deschamps: Without a doubt. 

Suaudeau: It goes too quickly for me, then. 

Deschamps: We leave it at that?

Suaudeau: No. I wanted to tell you one more thing. Before I stopped [in July 1997], I wanted to do something different: educate my educators, and create a team with a denser midfield, players with a different profile... A little like the AC Milan of the mid-2000s, which had six or seven midfielders and no real attacker. When Kaká was still there. And this midfield would explode like fireworks. Barça do it too, with less of an explosion. All this to tell you: midfield has to change. Midfield is where the future of football lies, not elsewhere. This is the zone in which modern football has changed the most; the runs are deeper, the capacity to eliminate has improved, with, always, the sentinel, the rampart, why not the lock? Like you. Like Pirlo.

Deschamps: I had a ball in that position. And Pirlo had two runners by his side, Gattuso and Ambrosini, who compensated for his defensive deficiencies.

Suaudeau: It came from Italy.

Deschamps: Everything tactical comes from Italy, Coco.

Suaudeau: The future of football is also speed. It must go even faster.

Deschamps: That's already the case. Fast attacks are timed at five seconds.

Suaudeau: Midfield runs, hyper-fast... these guys are the princes of technique. Give me six or seven of them in the middle, just like that, you'll be a terror. I've said it. Back to Nantes, now.

Original article by Patrick Dessaut of France Football, translated by Philippe Auclair.