Marseille: ‘À jamais les premiers’, the slogan with which Marseille celebrates the elimination of PSG | Sports| The USA Print

The Olympique de Marseille player, Boli, lifts the European Cup, after beating Milan in the final in Munich in 1993.

The Olympique de Marseille player, Boli, lifts the European Cup, after beating Milan in the final in Munich in 1993.

When I arrived in Marseille in 2016, I had some clothes in my suitcase, my computer, some books and, above all, many prejudices regarding the Phocaean capital. He knew things about its bouillabaisse and its Vieux Port, its white and blue colours, its Vèlodrome stadium and little else. They had told me and warned me about the problematic nature of a historic city and they had alerted me to a hot, very hot, even too hot stadium.

A few days after arriving and while I was walking along the city’s coastline, I discovered a huge mural of a sports brand that carried a slogan: “À jamais les premieres”. My French allowed me to understand that this was something like “The first forever” but I did not quite understand, to locate the quote. The next morning the matter will occur to me when I arrived at my office in the sports city and my proud Marseillais answered me that it was because of their European Cup, the ONLY one, with a capital letter, that a French club had been able to win. The only one, Andoni, the only one in France. And left my mind completing the formula. The only one in France.

As the times, the budgets and the money have changed a lot, radically, from that glorious 1993, today is more complicated for those high European adventures, but they always offer possibilities for great feats, those that the old football presents when the competition arrives. of the French Cup, the one in which everyone plays against everyone in the field of the rival of lesser condition or in which the draw determines in the event of a similar level. And so, this Wednesday an OM-PSG was played, a Marseille-Paris, a South against North, one of many that in Europe have built their character based on contrast, on diversity, an OM-PSG that was played in the same date as Paris FC (there is another club in Paris infinitely less rich)-Annecy or Vierzon-Grenoble among others. The Cup, soccer and destiny as elements that equal wealth and dreams, one of those algorithms that made soccer the most popular, passionate, uncertain and, therefore, magical sport.

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I looked for the match in this new world, in this new globalized system, but I had to settle for following it through the applications, imagining the cauldron that would be the Marseillaise stadium, imagining the songs, the indescribable and sometimes uncoordinated noise of the game, the passion of the Marseille fans (full spectators at almost every game this season), the energy of overflowing, uncontrolled, feverish and excessive football.

It cost me little, although I know (Marseille taught me) that there are unimaginable things, reproducing the explosion when the referee whistled the end of the match with OM’s qualification for the quarterfinals and, also at the same time and I don’t know in what order, with the defeat of the eternal rival, with the defeat of those from the Parisian capital.

And he reminded me that football is also about that, old stories, rivalries, passions, memories and those stories with which our elders did not try to guide to live and survive. That magical cities like Marseille also live off that energy, and so many others of its kind, the kind that will have filled their offices, hospitals and narrow streets, even the most conflictive, with light this Thursday to allow them to dream that the most impossible challenges are achievable. and that the most unequal battles deserve to be waged.

All that is so close to the human being and so far from the show business.

That which should not be forgotten when we talk about football and its projects for the future, that which does not appear, never appears, in an Excel table or in a PowerPoint nor, I’m sorry, in any algorithm.

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