Marseille – Villarreal: Marcelino returns to the Marseille hornet’s nest | Soccer | Sports

“We are not playing against Marcelino, we are playing against Villarreal,” warns Quentin Merlin, a young left back signed by Olympique Marseille just over a month ago from Nantes. What happened between last August and September was far away for him, but the Europa League duel (9 p.m., Movistar Champions League) at the great Stade Vélodrome in the Mediterranean city is colored by the presence of the coach, who arrives with the team yellow after having started the season in Marseille. He played seven games there before an abrupt end between ultra threats and an assault on the sports city.

Later statements published in L’Équipe further fueled a volcano to which destiny reserved an early return. “I have never seen anything like it in my life and I don’t think I will,” said Marcelino García Toral in the Parisian newspaper about his trip through the OM volcanic mountain. “The way the ultras proceed is far from what is the reality of a civilized country. The club is not as big as it would like because certain radical fans want to permanently influence its decisions and direct it,” he noted after that goodbye. Yesterday he set foot in Marseille again amid tight security measures and, a good Asturian from Villaviciosa, he played bagpipes in the press room of what was his stadium: “I am happy to play this match in a wonderful stadium. “Time flies, it seems like I was here yesterday.”

Marcelino left and his replacement, Gennaro Gattuso also left. Now in charge of OM is the 70-year-old veteran Jean-Louis Gasset, who was fired by the Ivory Coast in the middle of the African Cup when the host was eliminated in the group stage. Then a carom gave him the classification and he ended up winning the tournament. Everyone won because Gasset found a good job and after his arrival Olympique made it to the round of 16 of the Europa League after defeating Shakhtar and in Ligue 1 he has two victories against Montpellier and Clermont with nine goals for and two against . “I never spoke with Marcelino. I was not in France when he was in the OM. He deserves all my respect,” Gasset says. Villarreal are not doing badly either: they reach the tie at the best moment, seven games without losing.

“I haven’t thought about what awaits me. I don’t feel like I’m the protagonist of this game. In football, the actors are always the players and the coaches are in the background,” Marcelino said. In theory, the ultra presence at the Vélodrome will be minimized because the OM must serve a sanction for the use of smoke canisters in the stands during the match against Shakhtar. That night the club racked up fines because the use of fireworks and laser pointers was also reported. So the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Commission decided to close the monumental grandstand at the north end with capacity for 13,000 fans. A management of the club, chaired by the Asturian Pablo Longoria, before the European organization will lead to 5,000 girls and boys being placed in that space in the end. “Congratulations for the initiative. “Football is a party and closing a stand is an aberration,” Gasset resolves.

It was on the eve of the Europa League premiere, with the horizon of a duel against Ajax in Amsterdam when Marcelino packed his bags. He is now trying to thrive in that tournament with Villarreal. He barely spent 90 days in Marseille, a hornet’s nest that he is careful to stir up on this visit. “I would have liked to finish my work. It was a very educational and formative experience on a professional and personal level. “I don’t regret what happened and I have a very clear conscience,” he says. Now all that’s left is to get the ball rolling.

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