One hundred goals, one hundred and one assists and one more debate about his legendary status at Olympique de Marseille. By converting his penalty against Ajaccio last Saturday (1-2), Dimitri Payet became the first Ligue 1 player to total 100 goals and 100 assists in his career, proof of the progress made by number 10 of OM. But this record has above all awakened the eternal debate of the legends of the Olympian club.
Dimitri Payet, an OM legend?
The answer to this question is hardly in doubt for Eric Di Meco, the former rough defender of OM, as he explained to an RMC listener: « How can you say that Payet, a player who does not hasn’t won anything in your shirt and who scored half of his goals and assists in Nantes, Saint-Etienne and Lille, that he’s an OM legend? Do you know what the history of this 130-year-old club is? These are guys who have scored 194 goals in this jersey [Gunnar Andersson]who scored 44 goals in a season [Josip Skoblar]who won Ballons d’Or [Jean-Pierre Papin] « .
Alain Pecheral knows very well the history of OM, which he followed for nearly 30 years for the newspaper The Provencal, even being the origin of the term « papinade » to designate JPP’s volleys. And he is more measured, giving Di Meco « wrong and right ». “I would put Payet in the legends of OM, even if he did indeed score goals in other teams to reach this record. But it’s all fresh, ”he tempers.
Does the era influence the status of legend?
Obviously the era, and the time, play an important role in this legendary status. Those of Alain Pecheral (74) are not the same as those of a supporter born in the 2000s. And the absence of Skoblar, who scored 44 goals, a record, during the 70/71 season, in the legendary eleven drawn up by the supporters for OM’s 120th anniversary, is proof of this. No offense to Eric Di Meco. “It’s because they haven’t seen them play! And there are very few documents, images from the time. With all the friendship I have for Mamadou Niang (3rd in the attackers of the legendary 11), Skoblar was really a phenomenon, ”said Alain Pecheral.
On the other hand, the passage of time can bring certain players into this category, as for Joseph Alcazar, first scorer for OM in the French professional championship in 1932. « The more time passes, the more facts and people become legendary . On Alcazar, there are for example some fables according to which he made the guard move back to the Huveaune by pulling too hard”, laughs the former journalist.
Drogba more in the legend than Niang?
In any case, this is what the classification of the attackers of the legendary 11 of OM says, since the Ivorian ranks 2nd with 18% of the votes, against 16% for Mamadou Niang. “Yes Didier Drogba is a legend because he scored spectacular goals and led OM to the European Cup final. While he only scored 19 league goals, and only played one season in the Olympian jersey. Unlike Mamadou Niang, who is also a legend. A status he built for himself by scoring more than 100 goals in the jersey of OM, which is not nothing, ”says Alain Pecheral.
Is legend status really definable?
The answer is obviously no, as we have seen in the previous examples. “Is it the duration, the number of titles, the brilliance, it is still quite indefinable as a term”, considers the former journalist. And to illustrate these words he takes two contrasting examples: “Roger Scotti, who was the record holder for the number of matches with more than 400 appearances for OM, before being beaten by Mandanda, is a legend. Drogba only stays one season, but a blistering season with a European final, and he is also a legend. »
He also quotes Basile Boli, who entered into legend for his victorious header in the 1993 Champions League final. “As for the year 93, we remember Boli. While in the team, he is not at all above the others. But he scores, and this goal is enough to make him a legend, ”recalls Alain Pecheral. But beyond all these debates on the legends of OM, Dimitri Payet can still boast of having invented a new status: that of « Marseillais for life ».