Interview

Cristophe Galtier on challenges

It takes a strong character to coach Paris Saint-Germain – even more so if you’re from Marseille. Step forward Christophe Galtier, who admits that when PSG come calling, ‘You can’t turn that down’

INTERVIEW Jérôme Vitoux

“It’s all going so fast. When you become coach of Paris Saint-Germain your life automatically changes in terms of exposure, scale and media. You need to be clear-headed and control your emotions. All this while being authentic; I am what I am. I’m 56 – you don’t change at this age but I’m clear-headed in terms of what a coach at Paris Saint-Germain represents.

“It is the biggest challenge of my career; you can’t turn that down. As soon as the talks started I wanted it to go through, without any restraints because of where I’m from or my career path. Obviously there’s massive expectation in terms of this magnificent competition, one of the biggest in our sport, but as I often say – and I’m not the first and I won’t be the last – only one team can win the Champions League. 

“But there are eight or nine teams at the start of the season who are capable of winning it. There’s a lot of expectation and there was massive disappointment last season. If there’s a story from the two matches [against Real Madrid in the round of 16], it is that everyone – myself included – thought that Paris Saint-Germain had the means to qualify. It’s such a different competition and sometimes there are surreal scenes. 

“In the numerous conversations I’ve had with the Paris president and the sporting directors, I’ve not heard, ‘We must win the Champions League.’ We need to go as far as possible and give ourselves the best chance of going as far as possible. We have to transmit this ambition every day. With the draw for the group stage, everyone said that Paris Saint-Germain were favourites – but no, a very difficult group with historically big teams. 

“It’s all going so fast. When you become coach of Paris Saint-Germain your life automatically changes in terms of exposure, scale and media. You need to be clear-headed and control your emotions. All this while being authentic; I am what I am. I’m 56 – you don’t change at this age but I’m clear-headed in terms of what a coach at Paris Saint-Germain represents.

“It is the biggest challenge of my career; you can’t turn that down. As soon as the talks started I wanted it to go through, without any restraints because of where I’m from or my career path. Obviously there’s massive expectation in terms of this magnificent competition, one of the biggest in our sport, but as I often say – and I’m not the first and I won’t be the last – only one team can win the Champions League. 

“But there are eight or nine teams at the start of the season who are capable of winning it. There’s a lot of expectation and there was massive disappointment last season. If there’s a story from the two matches [against Real Madrid in the round of 16], it is that everyone – myself included – thought that Paris Saint-Germain had the means to qualify. It’s such a different competition and sometimes there are surreal scenes. 

“In the numerous conversations I’ve had with the Paris president and the sporting directors, I’ve not heard, ‘We must win the Champions League.’ We need to go as far as possible and give ourselves the best chance of going as far as possible. We have to transmit this ambition every day. With the draw for the group stage, everyone said that Paris Saint-Germain were favourites – but no, a very difficult group with historically big teams. 

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

“I’m only here because of [Paris football adviser] Luís Campos. We’ve known each other for four or five years. We worked together for more than three years in Lille and we never lost touch. I think we’re complementary – different but complementary. We both have ambition; we have the same objective regarding life in the locker room, what the team should be, what the team emits and how we get a performing and solid team. We must be able to listen to each other because we are able to perform better with more than one brain. The conversations with Luis are very direct; we don’t hide things. There are disagreements sometimes but the aim is to make the best possible decision for the team.

“I’m very demanding but at the same time, I’m very close to my players. I’m very much about listening and sharing. But once I’ve decided on a concept, I want the direction I take to be accepted by everyone. The young lads sometimes need the chance to talk and let out some frustration. They need to ask for explanations and to define their expectations in terms of playing style.

“Even with the players and the strengths that we have, I’ve changed the playing style in terms of different defensive organisation. A different attacking style too, just as I did at St-Étienne, Lille and Nice. But above all I want people to watch a structured Paris Saint-Germain team. To put it simply, I want them to be a team. It’s not about one top player in whichever position. They will be a team. I want my team to exude a certain strength and identity and for all the players to play a part in the collective. 

“The first thing I told them when I took charge is that I am proud and happy to be their coach. For years I have come up against Paris Saint-Germain with different squads. When I arrived, the first thing I thought about were two players. It might be surprising: it was Marco Verratti and Marquinhos, who have been here for years. Marco has been here for ten years. I have been coaching for 12 or 13 years so I am used to preparing matches against Marco. I told myself that I was going to coach players that I have always appreciated, admired. I was very proud and happy to be their coach. I know the task will be difficult but, through communication and everyone’s total commitment, we will succeed.” 

“It’s all going so fast. When you become coach of Paris Saint-Germain your life automatically changes in terms of exposure, scale and media. You need to be clear-headed and control your emotions. All this while being authentic; I am what I am. I’m 56 – you don’t change at this age but I’m clear-headed in terms of what a coach at Paris Saint-Germain represents.

“It is the biggest challenge of my career; you can’t turn that down. As soon as the talks started I wanted it to go through, without any restraints because of where I’m from or my career path. Obviously there’s massive expectation in terms of this magnificent competition, one of the biggest in our sport, but as I often say – and I’m not the first and I won’t be the last – only one team can win the Champions League. 

“But there are eight or nine teams at the start of the season who are capable of winning it. There’s a lot of expectation and there was massive disappointment last season. If there’s a story from the two matches [against Real Madrid in the round of 16], it is that everyone – myself included – thought that Paris Saint-Germain had the means to qualify. It’s such a different competition and sometimes there are surreal scenes. 

“In the numerous conversations I’ve had with the Paris president and the sporting directors, I’ve not heard, ‘We must win the Champions League.’ We need to go as far as possible and give ourselves the best chance of going as far as possible. We have to transmit this ambition every day. With the draw for the group stage, everyone said that Paris Saint-Germain were favourites – but no, a very difficult group with historically big teams. 

Cristophe Galtier on challenges
Interview

Cristophe Galtier on challenges

It takes a strong character to coach Paris Saint-Germain – even more so if you’re from Marseille. Step forward Christophe Galtier, who admits that when PSG come calling, ‘You can’t turn that down’

INTERVIEW Jérôme Vitoux

“It’s all going so fast. When you become coach of Paris Saint-Germain your life automatically changes in terms of exposure, scale and media. You need to be clear-headed and control your emotions. All this while being authentic; I am what I am. I’m 56 – you don’t change at this age but I’m clear-headed in terms of what a coach at Paris Saint-Germain represents.

“It is the biggest challenge of my career; you can’t turn that down. As soon as the talks started I wanted it to go through, without any restraints because of where I’m from or my career path. Obviously there’s massive expectation in terms of this magnificent competition, one of the biggest in our sport, but as I often say – and I’m not the first and I won’t be the last – only one team can win the Champions League. 

“But there are eight or nine teams at the start of the season who are capable of winning it. There’s a lot of expectation and there was massive disappointment last season. If there’s a story from the two matches [against Real Madrid in the round of 16], it is that everyone – myself included – thought that Paris Saint-Germain had the means to qualify. It’s such a different competition and sometimes there are surreal scenes. 

“In the numerous conversations I’ve had with the Paris president and the sporting directors, I’ve not heard, ‘We must win the Champions League.’ We need to go as far as possible and give ourselves the best chance of going as far as possible. We have to transmit this ambition every day. With the draw for the group stage, everyone said that Paris Saint-Germain were favourites – but no, a very difficult group with historically big teams. 

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

“It’s all going so fast. When you become coach of Paris Saint-Germain your life automatically changes in terms of exposure, scale and media. You need to be clear-headed and control your emotions. All this while being authentic; I am what I am. I’m 56 – you don’t change at this age but I’m clear-headed in terms of what a coach at Paris Saint-Germain represents.

“It is the biggest challenge of my career; you can’t turn that down. As soon as the talks started I wanted it to go through, without any restraints because of where I’m from or my career path. Obviously there’s massive expectation in terms of this magnificent competition, one of the biggest in our sport, but as I often say – and I’m not the first and I won’t be the last – only one team can win the Champions League. 

“But there are eight or nine teams at the start of the season who are capable of winning it. There’s a lot of expectation and there was massive disappointment last season. If there’s a story from the two matches [against Real Madrid in the round of 16], it is that everyone – myself included – thought that Paris Saint-Germain had the means to qualify. It’s such a different competition and sometimes there are surreal scenes. 

“In the numerous conversations I’ve had with the Paris president and the sporting directors, I’ve not heard, ‘We must win the Champions League.’ We need to go as far as possible and give ourselves the best chance of going as far as possible. We have to transmit this ambition every day. With the draw for the group stage, everyone said that Paris Saint-Germain were favourites – but no, a very difficult group with historically big teams. 

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

“I’m only here because of [Paris football adviser] Luís Campos. We’ve known each other for four or five years. We worked together for more than three years in Lille and we never lost touch. I think we’re complementary – different but complementary. We both have ambition; we have the same objective regarding life in the locker room, what the team should be, what the team emits and how we get a performing and solid team. We must be able to listen to each other because we are able to perform better with more than one brain. The conversations with Luis are very direct; we don’t hide things. There are disagreements sometimes but the aim is to make the best possible decision for the team.

“I’m very demanding but at the same time, I’m very close to my players. I’m very much about listening and sharing. But once I’ve decided on a concept, I want the direction I take to be accepted by everyone. The young lads sometimes need the chance to talk and let out some frustration. They need to ask for explanations and to define their expectations in terms of playing style.

“Even with the players and the strengths that we have, I’ve changed the playing style in terms of different defensive organisation. A different attacking style too, just as I did at St-Étienne, Lille and Nice. But above all I want people to watch a structured Paris Saint-Germain team. To put it simply, I want them to be a team. It’s not about one top player in whichever position. They will be a team. I want my team to exude a certain strength and identity and for all the players to play a part in the collective. 

“The first thing I told them when I took charge is that I am proud and happy to be their coach. For years I have come up against Paris Saint-Germain with different squads. When I arrived, the first thing I thought about were two players. It might be surprising: it was Marco Verratti and Marquinhos, who have been here for years. Marco has been here for ten years. I have been coaching for 12 or 13 years so I am used to preparing matches against Marco. I told myself that I was going to coach players that I have always appreciated, admired. I was very proud and happy to be their coach. I know the task will be difficult but, through communication and everyone’s total commitment, we will succeed.” 

“It’s all going so fast. When you become coach of Paris Saint-Germain your life automatically changes in terms of exposure, scale and media. You need to be clear-headed and control your emotions. All this while being authentic; I am what I am. I’m 56 – you don’t change at this age but I’m clear-headed in terms of what a coach at Paris Saint-Germain represents.

“It is the biggest challenge of my career; you can’t turn that down. As soon as the talks started I wanted it to go through, without any restraints because of where I’m from or my career path. Obviously there’s massive expectation in terms of this magnificent competition, one of the biggest in our sport, but as I often say – and I’m not the first and I won’t be the last – only one team can win the Champions League. 

“But there are eight or nine teams at the start of the season who are capable of winning it. There’s a lot of expectation and there was massive disappointment last season. If there’s a story from the two matches [against Real Madrid in the round of 16], it is that everyone – myself included – thought that Paris Saint-Germain had the means to qualify. It’s such a different competition and sometimes there are surreal scenes. 

“In the numerous conversations I’ve had with the Paris president and the sporting directors, I’ve not heard, ‘We must win the Champions League.’ We need to go as far as possible and give ourselves the best chance of going as far as possible. We have to transmit this ambition every day. With the draw for the group stage, everyone said that Paris Saint-Germain were favourites – but no, a very difficult group with historically big teams. 

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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