Recently in the top game against Olympique Marseille, PSG coach Christophe Galtier (56) had to be held back by substitute players so that he wouldn’t attack an OM fan. The incident brought back memories of the darkest chapter of his career.
“Galtier behind bars”, demanded Monaco fans on a banner in the Stade Louis II in April 2000. The then assistant coach of Olympique Marseille did not have to go to prison, but he was banned for six months. The reason: Galtier is said to have beaten Monaco midfielder Marcelo Gallardo.
Galtier is from Marseille and of course he loves OM. He spent his childhood with Eric Cantona. “From the age of seven we did almost everything together – until we became European U21 champions together in 1988,” Galtier later stated. The two come from the same neighborhood, are the same age – but unequally talented when it comes to football.
Cantona became a superstar, both as a striker on the soccer field and as an actor in front of the camera. His cosmos ranges from Manchester to Hollywood. Center-back Galtier has made hundreds of Ligue 1 appearances, most of them for his favorite club, which he returned to after retiring as an assistant coach. In the meantime, the 1993 Champions League winner had fallen deeply and fought to stay up in the league in Galtier’s first season on the coaching staff in 1999/00.
On April 7th, at home in the Stade Vélodrome, they faced AS Monaco, who only needed one win to win the title. Marseille staved off the early decision with a 4-2 triumph, but that wasn’t the point after the game. The only topic was the incidents during the half-time break. Monaco’s Marcelo Gallardo has been taken to hospital with injuries all over his body, that much is clear. But how did this happen? Various versions of this circulated.
Gallardo and Galtier: the versions differ
In accordance with the precarious table situation and the southern French rivalry, the mood in the stadium was heated – in the stands, but also on the pitch. Marseille took a 1-0 lead but were outnumbered by a red card for Iván de la Peña. Shortly before the break, there was a tie again, at least numerically: Monaco’s Philippe Léonard also had to go down with yellow-red.
His teammate Gallardo was involved in a few skirmishes on the pitch. Yellow-biased, he made his way into the dressing room – and met Galtier in the catacombs. “I felt a very violent blow to the back of my neck. Galtier grabbed my hair and neck,” reported Gallardo. In his autobiography, he later accused Galtier of throwing a pineapple that was lying around at him.
Other OM supervisors and players are said to have quickly participated in the attack on Gallardo. The then 24-year-old Argentinian received punches in the face and stomach. “If three of my boys don’t intervene, Gallardo won’t get out of there alive,” said Serge Marchetti, the Stade Vélodrome’s security chief at the time, later the L’Equipe.
“I was defenseless,” reported Gallardo. “It took 20 seconds, but it felt like forever.” Monaco’s sporting director Henri Biancheri railed against “lynchings”. Galtier’s version sounded completely different: Gallardo “insulted and hit him. It was a reflex of self-defense.”
Bans and fines: The consequences of the scandal
There are no video recordings because, according to Gallardo, the cameras “mysteriously disappeared”. Monegasque colleagues or supervisors did not come to help because OM players had deliberately blocked the entrance to the catacombs. “It was obvious that they prepared the attack,” Gallardo said So feet. It was “very Argentinian behavior,” he later jokingly added, referring to the rough conditions in his home country: “Fortunately, I was still used to it.”
While Gallardo’s injuries were being treated in the dressing room, the referee showed him his second yellow card. sending off. According to Gallardo, he “couldn’t believe it at all”. But he couldn’t have continued playing anyway, he had to go to the hospital.
The association punishments suggested which version was considered more credible. Gallardo was suspended for one game and Galtier for six months. OM received the highest fine in the association’s history to date, amounting to the equivalent of 75,000 euros – and was then also happy about the “mild” verdict. “That’s good for us, because there could have been a ban,” said club president Yves Marchand.
Monaco were crowned champions the following day, Marseille stayed up and Galtier returned to the coaching staff after serving a few months’ suspension. He continues to insist on his version, said about 2014 leg: “I was severely sanctioned, although there is no video footage. I have never hit anyone.”
How Christophe Galtier ended up with his big rival
Since then, Galtier has developed into a respected coach. After assistant coaches in Greece, the United Arab Emirates, England and France, he took over the managerial post at AS St-Etienne in 2009. In eight years he won a league cup and shaped budding superstars like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Dimitri Payet.
Galtier guided his next employer OSC Lille to the league title before moving to PSG last summer after a season at OGC Nice. Ironically, to the big rival of his favorite club OM. “I’m Marseillais,” he said openly during his time in Lille, in a distinctive southern French accent. “In a Classique, it’s impossible not to be a fan of the club where I’ve had so many great moments.”
For many OM fans, Galtier’s move to PSG is likely to amount to a betrayal. It may have been about Galtier arguing with an OM fan right behind the dugout in last weekend’s 3-0 win over his favorite club. PSG substitute players just held him back and thus prevented another violent scandal in the same place 23 years later.
Galtier did not get a ban this time, but he has to fear an early dismissal. In the cup, his team failed because of OM. They still lead Ligue 1, but recently made an unusual number of mistakes. A Champions League elimination against FC Bayern Munich on Wednesday (first leg 0-1) could mean Galtier’s end as PSG coach.
Ligue 1: The current table