Lost in translation

From marriage proposals live on TV and wishing he could gun down dodgy Leos, to dissing Wenger and ‘Comedian’ Mourinho, Raymond Domenech’s controversial comments would earn him the trophy for the world’s whackiest football manager — and that’s one more trophy than he’s actually won as a coach.

Here’s 10 of his best quotes from a new book on the French manager.

1 “When there is a Leo in defence, my shotgun is always ready! I know he’ll want to show off at some stage. (A Scorpion) is a fighter who forces others to react. He can gee them up, but two Scorpions end up killing each other. I had time to prepare my recruitment policy and I made some choices that weren’t linked to sport.”

— Domenech in 1999, recalling how he dropped all Leos and Scorpios from his Lyon team. He actually won promotion to Division 1, the only achievement on his CV.

2 “You can have an affectionate relationship with your squad and know when to give some slaps. You can cause more harm with words than with slaps. And I know how to do that.”

— Speaking at his first press conference as national boss in 2004.

3 “I have always been bothered by people who are liked by everyone, under any circumstances. That means you have no opinion, that you agree with everything, that you are a sponge. Me, I’m more like a razor.”

— Watch out Neil Ruddock. Raymond in France Football, May 2002

4 “Houllier, Wenger and that other comedian, Mourinho, I have nothing against them. But is the objective to make their belly buttons shine or to make sure the French team works?”

— Speaking on French television in 2006 after Wenger had complained about Henry playing too many games for France and Mourinho likewise about Makelele. We’re still unsure why Houllier was in the firing line.

5 “I only have one thing to say now, today. I only have one plan, that is to marry Estelle. So I’m asking her for real today. I know it’s hard but it’s at these times that you need everyone around you. And me, I need her.”

— His extraordinary marriage proposal to girlfriend Estelle Denis live on television seconds after France were knocked out of Euro 2008 with an audience of 13 million gutted fans.

6 “Forgive me for having a trace of humanity at a time when I should have stayed cold, professional. Behind my coach’s shell I had a hope, I wanted to tell the people I love that I love them. I had a moment of human weakness.

“It was a communication error, I shouldn’t have said it at that time. But it was an impulse. For a moment I wasn’t a robot, sorry about that.”

— And his bizarre apology the next day.

7 “Good morning everyone. There’s a lot of you today. Ah yes, that’s right, the smell of blood interests you. I’m off to a good start, aren’t I? I’m really happy about one thing, that the guillotine doesn’t exist anymore.

“Otherwise I could see a few people here who’d be absolutely delighted to send me to the scaffolds. But I haven’t killed anyone. Maybe I would have been treated better off if I had ... ”

— A scathing address to journalists at Clairefontaine the day before France-Serbia, where a defeat would have cost him his job.

8 “Sometimes I say to myself that if I was face to face with myself, then I would hate myself.”

— Raymond on Raymond in L’Equipe ub June 2006.

9 “I am a permanent contradiction.”

— His response after his inconsistent choices were questioned following 3-1 defeat in Austria in 2008.

10 “Where does infinity end in the universe? We’re told that a ball of energy created the universe.

“But before that, where was this f**king ball? I am fascinated by what we can’t understand. I can give myself headaches thinking about it.”

— No. We have no idea what he meant either in this 2008 interview with Le Matin newspaper.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox