The days follow each other and are not alike in the columns of the daily L’Equipe. On Wednesday, Marcelino expressed, in an interview, all his disappointment, his bitterness and his indignation regarding the hostile environment surrounding Olympique de Marseille, which had led him to take a tangent in the midst of a crisis. with the club’s ultras. This Thursday, a complete change of tone with Marco Verratti, who returned to his departure from Paris SG for the Qatari team of Al-Arabi. Without the slightest animosity, and with, on the contrary, a lot of recognition.

“PSG gave me everything I could dream of,” the Italian immediately recalls. “Football has always remained a game for me, but the club offered me the opportunity to experience at the highest level something that I would have done with my friends… This is why I will always be grateful and that I will never make a problem against the club. In football, things evolve. I played there for eleven years, maybe they want to do something else. The most important thing is that we leave each other on good terms.” And if necessary, he adds again, a few moments later: “You don’t make eleven years on a team if you’re not in love. I’ve had a lot of offers over the years and even though I’ve thought about it, my priority has always been to stay here.”

Even towards the new PSG coach, Luis Enrique, Marco Verratti does not hold any particular grudge: “At the start, I had an interview with the coach, he told me that I was not part of his plans. He’s a great coach, he’s doing good things with PSG. I didn’t see it as a personal decision. I have never had enemies in life, I prefer clear things. He just told me he wanted to change. That I had been here for many years, that he wanted something new. For me, things never happen by chance. The club wanted me to look elsewhere, so I started talking to teams and I chose Qatar. Everyone has their own vision of the game. I think Luis Enrique needed other players. I have nothing against him, we had very good relations. I trained every day to the max, he can’t say anything bad about me. Sometimes there are changes and that’s good too.”

Now aged 30, and after eleven years spent with the capital club with whom he won a whopping 30 titles, the Italian has seen a host of players pass through, from the biggest stars to ambitious young talents. One, among all those he met, marked him more than the others. “Zlatan has brought a lot – I also speak for the club. He brought this conviction, the idea that you should always dream big. Even when we weren’t favorites, Ibra gave everyone the confidence to give their all. This also applied to the club’s employees: he always pushed them to the maximum. It was hard, he could be mean, but in a group, a guy like that makes you grow. Afterwards, there are so many other players… Even Kylian (Mbappé) brought something incredible, on the pitch he took us a step above.

And the Transalpine also returns to what has changed over time according to him within PSG. Without any tongue in cheek. “The first years, we were a very close-knit group. The French, the Italians, the new ones… It’s also another generation. The locker room problems remained there, we talked to each other. We were friends, we went on vacation together. At the beginning it was a little hard with the French but then we were always together, the Douchez, Chantôme, Jallet, even the 4th goalkeeper. All with the same goal. Then, we had stronger but less united teams. When you win, it’s easy to be friends. But when the first problems arrive you see if it really is a great group. I think that’s the problem we had afterwards, it wasn’t the same anymore.”

Finally, Marco Verratti does not avoid the question surrounding his lifestyle, sometimes (often) dotted with crazy Parisian evenings. On the subject, the Transalpine remains straight in his boots, armed with his convictions and his character. “It’s my way of being. For me, football has always been a game. Afterwards, I have a life. The pleasures I had were going to a restaurant, having a glass of wine when there was no training. There are players who hide, I have always assumed responsibility, in life as well as on the pitch. I think people kind of like me for that too: they see that I’m normal. I knew the times when I could eat with my friends, go out clubbing when I was younger. I spent eleven years here, it’s normal that people came across me more than others. I’m not going to stay home every day.”