Paris: As a player, Didier Deschamps won almost every honour on offer in football, but claiming his first trophy as a coach, with Monaco at the weekend, came as arguably his sweetest victory.
Monaco’s 4-1 win over Sochaux to lift the French League Cup was a deserved reward for the Ligue 1 team’s excellent season.
The smile on Deschamps’ face showed that, even though Monaco can still win the league, the Cup victory was a huge relief.
The former World Cup winner and European champion, who won three European cups as well as national cups and leagues in France, Italy and England has acquired more wrinkles and greying hair in his two seasons in the dugout than in his two decades on the pitch.
Last year, his first in charge in the principality, was a disaster as Deschamps, often seen as France’s real coach in Roger Lemerre’s days, struggled to get his message across.
The beginning of the season did not start well for the former Juventus and Chelsea midfielder until, all of a sudden, everything seemed to finally click into place.
Ironically for Deschamps, the League Cup victory came amidst speculation that he would be forced out of the club next season if new investors take over the debt-ridden club.
“It’s none of my business. I’m still under contract but if my bosses want me out, I’ll go,” he told French television on Sunday. “But from what I heard, it’s far from certain.”
Monaco’s Prince Albert said in an interview last week it would be a mistake to sack a coach who had won a League Cup and taken his team to the Champions League, which Monaco are almost certain to do.
Other club sources said Italian businessmen keen to invest in Monaco next season wanted to bring along their own coaching staff, who could include Italian Marco Simone, who Des- champs had kicked out of the team last season.
“I hope that the rumours have not disturbed the players. There has been a lot of disinformation but, as far as I’m concerned, I’m already working for next season,” said Deschamps.
Monaco travel to En Avant Guingamp on Tuesday for a game the second-placed team cannot afford to lose if they want to stay in the title race.
They face another test on Wednesday when Monaco’s club officials are heard by the French Professional League (LFP) financial committee over their disastrous financial situation.
Monaco’s debts are estimated to have grown to 87 million euros ($102m) in three years and Deschamps; future could well be linked to the financial situation more than to the sporting results.