The Missed Opportunities of Ligue 1 Clubs
Many Ligue 1 clubs had the chance to attract world-class football stars.
Diego Maradona and OM (1990)
If Bernard Tapie had succeeded in convincing Diego Maradona to join Olympique de Marseille, Corrado Serlaino, the president of Naples, declined the offer.
Hristo Stoichkov and PSG (1992)
After winning the Champions League with Barcelona, Hristo Stoichkov, with only one year left on his contract, was seeking a new challenge. PSG President Michel Denisot seized the opportunity to convince him to join Paris. However, Joan Gaspard, the vice-president of Barça, categorically refused to let him leave for Paris.
Miroslav Klose and Auxerre (1993)
Miroslav Klose, hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father, former AJ Auxerre striker Jozef Klose, underwent a trial at the age of 15. However, his performance did not convince Guy Roux, the coach of Auxerre.
Diego Forlan and Nancy (1994)
Determined to establish himself in Europe, Diego Forlan left Uruguay at the age of 15. He went through the training centers of Nantes and Nancy in France, but unfortunately, he was not accepted.
Ronaldo and Cannes (1994)
Cannes demanded a transfer fee of two million euros for the 18-year-old Ronaldo. The amount was considered high by the leaders of the Riviera club.
David Trezeguet and PSG (1995)
David Trezeguet arrived in France in the summer of 1995 and underwent a trial at PSG. Although he wished to stay, he requested the provision of an apartment, which the Parisian leaders refused.
Roberto Carlos and PSG (1995)
Roberto Carlos, who had recently become a Brazilian international, was close to joining PSG. While coach Luis Fernandez was convinced, the Parisian leaders hesitated to invest 5 million francs when they already had Patrick Colleter in the team.
Samuel Eto’o and PSG (1995)
Samuel Eto’o, who was 14 at the time, underwent a trial at PSG but was rejected due to lack of proper documentation.
Zidane and Dugarry and PSG (1996)
Zinedine Zidane and Christophe Dugarry, who had led Bordeaux to the UEFA Cup final, were close to joining PSG. However, the demanded fee of 35 million francs by Girondins de Bordeaux was considered excessive by the Parisian leaders, who were unwilling to sell their star player Raï.
Ronaldo and PSG (1997)
Cannes was not the only Ligue 1 club to miss the opportunity to sign Ronaldo. As the Brazilian prepared to leave Barcelona, PSG aimed to secure his services. However, Pierre Lescure, the boss of Canal+, refused the move out of respect for subscribers supporting other clubs in the championship.
Mario Jardel and OM (2001)
Upon his return to OM, Bernard Tapie aimed to make a strong impact. His priority target was Mario Jardel, who was scoring goals for Galatasaray. However, the deal was derailed by agents.
Youri Djorkaeff and OM (2001)
Mario Jardel was not the only prestigious target pursued by Bernard Tapie. The new boss of OM also hoped to recruit Youri Djorkaeff. Although he convinced the World Cup winner, an agreement could not be reached with the leaders of Kaiserslautern.
Adriano and PSG (2001)
When Vampeta arrived at PSG, Inter Milan retained part of the Brazilian’s rights. As a result, when PSG exchanged him with Flamengo for Reinaldo and Adriano, they had to choose between the two Brazilians. The Rouge et Bleu followed their instincts and opted for Reinaldo.
Cristiano Ronaldo and OL (2002)
In the summer of 2002, Olympique Lyonnais had the opportunity to exchange Tony Vairelles for two