In an interview that will be broadcast on Europe 1 tonight just before the game between Metz and Marseille, the manager of the Lorraine side, Frédéric Antonetti, spoke about his period (December 2018 – October 2020) away from the club, when he looked after his severely ill wife, who died in July 2020.
Having joined Metz, who were then in Ligue 2, in May 2018, the Corsican manager left his role in December of the same year. “First, I handed in my resignation. I said to the president ‘listen, I want to go home. I want to be with my wife. I’m stopping my contract,’” which was intended to last until 2021.
However, Antonetti remained a part of the club as general manager: “The president didn’t want me to go. He said ‘I want you to continue even from afar’. The second thing was that my wife wanted me to continue. So from then on, I continued to follow the club, watch the games, get involved in recruitment. But doing both was very hard at times. But it was also a breath of fresh air for me. Football has always helped me and especially in that very difficult time.”
The 60-year-old, who will take charge of his 602nd Ligue 1 match tonight (he ranks 8th in all time matches managed), was also asked about his place in the world of football. “I’m simply a trainer, who’s had his career in Ligue 1, sometimes Ligue 2. It’s the fact that I’ve stayed in the game so long that counts. But I don’t see myself as out of the ordinary. The Wengers, Mourinhos and Guardiolas, they’re out of the ordinary. I must have some qualities to have lasted so long. All the clubs that have called me were in difficulty. A good club has never called me. But I’m happy with my journey.”