- 2018 winners Pedros and Deschamps again nominated to be The Best
- The two coaches have much in common
- Former team-mate Claude Makelele spoke to FIFA.com about the duo
They were respectively named The Best FIFA Men’s and Women’s Coaches for 2018 and they are both in the running to retain their titles this year. Yet Didier Deschamps and Reynald Pedros have much more in common than those awards and nominations.
As players, both came up through the ranks at Nantes, became battle-hardened at Olympique Marseille, played for some of the biggest clubs in the rest of Europe, won titles, and represented their country. They then went on to become accomplished coaches. Their career paths are largely identical to that of Claude Makelele, a colleague of theirs at Nantes and in the France team.
FIFA.com met up with Chelsea’s new assistant coach to discuss the success his former team-mates have enjoyed.
The learning curve
As players, Deschamps and Pedros both learned their trade at Nantes. They arrived at the club at the age of 15 – Deschamps in 1982 and Pedros in 1986 – and they both moved on after six years.
They were “pupils” of Jean-Claude Suaudeau, who coached Les Canaris with distinction between 1982 and 1997. Suaudeau was one of the driving forces behind the famous Jeu à la Nantaise, the distinctive short, fast passing game that earned the club both admiration and success.
What Makelele says:
“Coco Suaudeau had a major influence on that generation of players. He was one of the best coaches I ever had, if not the best. He was a real educator and had a futuristic vision of the sport. The football we’re watching today is the football he taught us 20 years ago. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was a similar type of football to what Barcelona play now, with lots of passing, optimal use of space, and speed of execution. The impact it’s had on the coaches that Deschamps and Pedros have become is clear for everyone to see.”
While they both had a similar start to their playing careers, Deschamps had the greater success thereafter. A two-time UEFA Champions League winner, with l’OM in 1993 and Juventus in 1996, Deschamps also tasted success with Les Bleus, lifting the FIFA World Cup™ in 1998 and winning the UEFA EURO title two years later, the two high points of an international career that brought him 103 caps and four goals.
Pedros may have won less silverware, with his biggest achievement coming when he helped Nantes land the French title in 1994, but the Orleans-born player still had a distinguished career. As well as running out for Napoli, Parma and Lyon, he won 25 caps for his country, scoring as many goals as Deschamps managed for Les Bleus (four) in a quarter of the games.
What Makelele says:
“They were two different types of player. Didier was a combative defensive midfielder who was tactically disciplined, a great professional and a real leader. He was a captain wherever he went. Reynald was a winger and had lots of character. He was a livewire and a great passer and he could also finish when he needed to. Overall, they were two exceptionally talented players.”
Just as he had done as a player, Deschamps has won trophy after trophy as a coach, once again with l’OM and Juve and then as the France boss, a job in which he has enjoyed his finest hours. After guiding Les Bleus to the World Cup title in 2018 he was named The Best FIFA Men’s Coach for the year.
DD’s quest for success goes on, however, and he ensured France maintained their momentum through 2018/19, securing another The Best nomination in the process.
After hanging his boots up, Pedros took a little longer to find his way into the dugout. Following a spell as a TV pundit, he accepted an offer to coach Olympique Lyonnais’ women’s team in 2017. It proved to be an inspired decision, as he steered the side to a UEFA Women’s Champions League/French league double that earned him The Best FIFA Women’s Coach award for 2018.
His Lyon team made it a treble in 2019, retaining both titles and adding the Coupe de France for good measure, a clean sweep that has brought him a fresh nomination for this year’s The Best FIFA Football Awards™.
What Makelele says:
“Didier has been outstanding in the way he’s managed his playing and coaching careers. He didn’t have an easy start in coaching, but he bided his time, picked up experience, and has become one of the best coaches in the world. For his part, Reynald has reinvented himself to perfection after his playing days and he’s a big reason why l’OL have continued to win things. He’s had a significant impact. Not only do they get results, but they play with style too. Their link-up play and possession game is easy on the eye. They both deserve all the success they’re having as well as the individual awards they’ve already won and, I hope, they will win in the future.”
Claude Makelele’s best of
- Your best memory as a player?
My whole career is full of wonderful memories. I wouldn’t change anything. It’s a complete package.
- The best you’ve ever played with?
I’d choose two: Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane. They were just on a different level.
- The best you’ve ever played against?
Zidane and Ronaldinho: they were clairvoyants, intelligent, always on top of their game, and effective too. It was so hard to stop them.
- The best coach you’ve ever had?
Every coach has given me something but if I had to name names, I’d go for Suaudeau, Vicente del Bosque, Jose Mourinho and Raymond Domenech.
- The best player this year?
Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are from a different planet. I’ve really enjoyed watching Sadio Mane too.