Sports"Sometimes you take walls, that's normal" ... What is...

“Sometimes you take walls, that’s normal” … What is it, the documentary series from Amazon for the 50 years of the club?

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Not easy to enter the privacy of PSG. The club, engaged in limitless development since the arrival of the Qataris in 2011, is keen to keep its inner workings warm, while it is in the process of becoming a global brand under the impetus of extraordinary recruits. So when we received the invitation from Amazon for the launch of the last three episodes of its documentary on the Parisian club, after the broadcast of the first (an immersion in the group during the Final 8 of the Champions League in Lisbon) he A year ago, we were wondering what we were going to fall into.

“I always have modesty in relation to the locker room”

Moreover, if Leonardo had had the last word each time, the series would not have existed. Or his end result would have been limited to players getting on the plane, at best playing cards in their rooms. Not really sexy, the sports director agrees with a laugh today. “I am a problem for them [les réalisateurs], because I always have modesty in relation to the cloakroom, to the meeting rooms, he explained last week during the presentation at the Parc des Princes. It was a nightmare for them in Portugal, we tried to cut everything. I know it’s important to have privacy, but I’m having a little trouble. “

That, the show runner Manuel Herrero, like the two directors Benjamin Montel and Sebastian Perez Pezzani, knew it very well before embarking on the adventure. In short, you are welcome, but not at home either. “When you attack a team like PSG, obviously sometimes you take walls, it’s normal, says Montel. But we also had some great surprises, we spent a lot of time with the players, we were able to do very long interviews, with guys who weren’t used to being interviewed like that. “

Anyway, the three men, who work for the CAPA agency, were not there to film Nasser Al-Khelaïfi and Jean-Claude Blanc arguing, if this scene ever existed. This series was created to celebrate the 50 years of the club, created in 1970. Slowed down by the Covid, filming resumed last season, thus resulting in three new episodes – available since Friday on the platform of the American giant, more turned the history of PSG, its great figures and what defines its identity.

From this point of view, episode 2, entitled “The children of the Park”, is in our eyes the most interesting. Because the most intimate. He takes us to Bondy, with a visibly moved Kylian Mbappé, and follows Timothée Pembélé (19, loaned to Bordeaux this season) who is going to visit his childhood friends in Val-d’Oise. All wear the local pride jersey, which made its professional debut last year. “The suburbs are where it comes out, where everything grows,” comments Presnel Kimpembe, the common thread of these 50 minutes as a standard of the Parisian formation.

Youth and “duty to remember”

“Paris, perhaps more than any other city, is so cosmopolitan that everything that happens here is a bit global. This is why it is very important for us to keep this Parisian anchoring, to pay attention to the transmission, says Leonardo. It can come from anyone, from anywhere, we want to keep the root of the club. “This is why those in charge of the youth teams are in charge of some historical reminders, when” the duty to remember is a little forgotten “, smiles Vincent Guérin, winner of the Cup of Cups in 1996 and now assistant coach. of U19.

This is also why Kimpembe’s importance extends beyond the pitch. The vice-captain of PSG, world champion, it seems he got caught up in the interviews that changed him a little from the ordinary. “It was not uncommon for him to arrive halfway wanting to do it, and when he left he hugged me because it felt good to bring up subjects he never talks to anyone about. , assures Benjamin Montel. Sometimes guys would laugh because I was trying too hard to psychoanalyze them, but in the end I think it was a good experience for them. “

Presnel Kimpembe during PSG’s qualification against Bayern in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in March 2021. – Dave Winter / Shutterstock / SIPA

A raw material of great value, which in our opinion would have deserved an even greater place in the story. But there were boxes to fill in, in a fairly short format. Episode 3, “Spirit of conquest”, looks at the nascent rivalry with Barça, the ambition to win the Champions League but also the strategy to gain ground internationally. The series does not revolutionize the genre, but has the merit of sweeping wide enough to satisfy everyone. And especially to allow to see some famous faces again. Rai, Ronaldinho, Ibrahimovic or Beckham appear on the screen as the episodes go by, for a wealth of testimonials about the club quite unprecedented.

“Obviously football is a little different planet”

It’s hard not to feel a particular tenderness for the Englishman, who hasn’t even stayed a year and who still talks about the Park, where he played the very last match of his career in 2013, with stars in his eyes. “Paris was an important phase in my career and in my life. I feel like I played there for 16 years, not 6 months, ”he says with apparent sincerity.

Typically the cam of Manuel Herrero, known in particular to Canal + viewers for having recounted the impact of sport throughout the world for more than ten years in the program “The new explorers”. “Obviously, football is a planet a little apart, because of the stakes, the exposure, the media coverage. But the inner springs of those who participate in it remain the same. These are journeys, human stories, he believes. That’s common to all sports, and that’s what interests me. The speech is grounded. We imagine that at least that was needed to convince Leonardo.

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