Fulham once took former manager, Jean Tigana, to court for their belief their then-manager overpaid on certain players – most notably Steve Marlet. But there was no danger of Monaco having any such issues with the Frenchman, when he handed a skinny teenager called David Trezeguet a more prominent role in the first-team squad.
18 Ligue 1 goals in the 1997/98 season, later – finishing three behind the league’s top scorer, and eventual punchline, Stephane Guivarc’h – Monaco had their new George Weah.
“When Tigana took me on at Monaco he didn’t know much about me but he gave me a chance, and then he was very patient and allowed me to develop.
“Under him, I became braver.”
Trezeguet speaking to World Soccer
The French international’s career is often remembered for that volley in the Euro 2000 Final – and it’s a fine goal to be fondly associated with. However, Trezeguet was just 22 then, and hadn’t even moved onto the finest club chapter of his career at Juventus; a highly successful decade spent at the Turin giants is barely mentioned.
When you see the Old Lady squad that Trezeguet was walking into, it’s easy to see why the Argentine-born forward isn’t the first name fans think of; Edgar Davids, Zinedine Zidane, Alessandro Del Piero and Filippo Inzaghi.
Quite remarkably, although Trezeguet hasn’t made the step into management yet, 14 of the 2000/01 Juve squad have gone on to become managers – class of 00: Alessio Tacchinardi, Zinedine Zidane, Antonio Conte, Igor Tudor, Filippo Inzaghi, Gianluca Zambrotta, Edgar Davids, Paolo Montero, Ciro Ferrara, Gianluca Pessotto, Michelangelo Rampulla, Marco Zanchi, Athirson and Juan Esnaider.
Filippo Inzaghi’s spell in Turin is largely forgotten, such is the striker’s association with Serie A rivals AC Milan. And it is largely down to Trezeguet’s impact at Juve.
14 league goals in his debut season in the iconic black and white stripes, from just 25 appearances – many of those from the bench – was enough for Carlo Ancelotti to sanction Inzaghi’s move to Milan, in order to use Juve’s rising star as the spearhead of the attack.
15 goals in 31 Serie A games in 2005/06 and the Frenchman’s final two seasons with the club, were the only times in a decade that Trezeguet failed to register a goal in every two games (or less).
The former Monaco striker’s decision to remain with the Old Lady during their relegation to Serie B, during his peak years, is never lauded like it is with the likes of Buffon and Del Piero; no praise of loyalty or sacrifice like the pair of Turin gods receive.
In 18 years at Juve, Del Piero managed to score more than 20 Serie A goals, twice; the same number as Trezeguet in half the time. Del Piero also failed to hit double figures in a season 11 times, compared to Trezeguet’s four.
That’s not to say Del Piero doesn’t deserve his plaudits; he does. But we’ve got another case of fans glorifying longevity.
Trezeguet left the Old Lady with 123 goals in 214 Serie A games; nothing is ever good enough for football fans.