Fournier: 'We wanted to help the club grow'
As Paris Saint-Germain celebrates its 50th birthday, PSG.FR caught up with Laurent Fournier to talk about his career in Rouge et Bleu:
Laurent, in 1992 you joined the Paris Saint-Germain. A new challenge after... Marseille!
“There was a new owner coming in and the idea was to compete with Marseille and create a real rivalry in France. We wanted to take the club forward, give it a name on the European stage and, for us, that was a rewarding goal. There were a few stars, but above all it was a great bunch of mates who wanted to push themselves to the very limit and we did it.”
The matches against Marseille have always been special games...
“It was always very difficult. They were the two best teams in the championship, with a lot of players who played together in the France national team playing against each other. So there was a certain amount of rivalry, big personalities running the two clubs with Bernard Tapie in Marseille, Michel Denisot here in Paris. For the fans, I think they were great football matches, and great memories because you always wanted to win and give it everything.”
You won the title in 1994, with a run of 27 games unbeaten. In your opinion, was that team one of the best in the club's history?
“I wouldn't say the best, but the start to the season was incredible. We constructed something very strong match after match, the fans were there, and the work of the previous seasons paid off in the end. It was the first time I'd won a title as a first-team regular all season, so it was really special.”
The 1996 European campaign remains a highlight in the club’s history. What was the most memorable moment for you?
“The double-header against Celtic. We'd won 1-0 at home, and everyone was expecting us to be eliminated in the return leg in Scotland, because we weren't high on confidence at the time. We ended up playing with five at the back and we were very strong and calm. We won 3-0 there and the away fans applauded us off the pitch... It still gives me shivers, it's a great memory!”
The club's turning 50. What does that mean to you?
“It's very important to celebrate. I think it's going to be a great party. It's good to remember the first titles, and hopefully we'll see many more in the future!”