Match night, the Stadium of the Unicorn Amiens is a place abrasive and magical, where we hear coaches, transferred unceremoniously, whisper in the ear of the local press not to attack their successors, and where a king without a crown does not have a minute to lose in front of the media while he spends half an hour doing selfies with all the kids who ask him in the parking lot.
We showed up Saturday in the Somme to see the locals being lugged (1-2) by FC Nantes, and we measured the contradictory and confused violence that carries a modest club – the 17e budget forecast of Ligue 1 – on the front of hexagonal football: blows, fury even before it starts when the defender Bakaye Dibassy puts his teammates in a circle to catch them one by one and the red cards raining; Dibassy this time, Eddy Gnahore two weeks ago in Nice. The goalkeeper, Régis Gurtner: "It's pissing. We whip, and that's it. " Norwegian defender Haitam Aleesami: "This is the first time I'm experimenting with this (nearly two hours outnumbered three meetings, ed). I'm not from here, but it's hard to understand. "
"A wall, you break it or you climb it"
The Slovenian coach Luka Elsner, caught in a sort of vaguely Yugoslav sentimental outbursts: "We had this point (from draw, 1-1 to ten minutes of the term) tight at the back of the hand. There, in the hollow. We let him fly away. I can not say to Bakaye: "Do not go there." It's his game to go there, you have to put some impact, he's here for that. After, no one works to play the games 10 against 11. I blame ourselves, but not the players. It's complex. You understand ?" Nothing at all. "We must go to the end of our limits. It was necessary to hang on, jump everywhere, put in three if it had been necessary. A wall, you break it or you climb it. But you do not stay in front. "
An hour later, Elsner was still sitting there grumbling on a staircase. Football is a theater. The Picard team conceals within it a lot of players capable, if not to break the wall, at least to head into the head first several times. The king without a crown is not one of them. Except to be a hardcore football fan in his virilist version or a supporter of the club, Gaël Kakuta (28) is the only reason to make the detour via the Unicorn stadium on game night. There is the player, his catch of ball, and supports that earned him the nickname "Black Zidane" there is a life of that: one day in June 2007, this native of Lille signed a contract linking him to the great London club of Chelsea three days before his 16 years.
And there is the fantasy of the player, the shadow on a career that will have taken him to 11 clubs in a dozen years, from Bolton (in Greater Manchester) to Rayo Vallecano in Spain via Dijon, the Netherlands or Hebei China Fortune FC, in the north-east of the country. On Saturday, the playmaker did what circumstances required him to do, listening absently to Elsner's instructions – it is first in Kakuta that we speak, a sign of power and influence – at each stop of the game. game by emptying a bottle of fleet. He especially saw passing the warheads over his head, never formalized, and tried to do the best with the poor situations of two against five that offered him a configuration of match where his teammates have released oars of 10 meters to compensate for their numerical inferiority. In exile by his own talent: Kakuta came out at 70e minute, he did not make the head so far, and who knows? Perhaps the collective exacerbation and the unfailing solidarity of its partners will have made up for the unpleasant impression of having been a virtuoso concertist to play In the moonlight to a starting pot. We would have liked to ask him.
But Kakuta is a suspicious guy: "No, no … next time …" A present enjoins us to insist. When we answer that nothing is serious, that the player may prefer the silence like you and me, Kakuta hears us pronounce his name and misunderstands: black look, two or three words to us and he spins a little rag keep company with sponsors, the kind of after which professional players would do well. Especially the night of defeat. The player will not spend ten minutes. And join his loved ones at the entrance of the stadium, before getting lost among the kids and selfies. In truth, Kakuta never speaks. He closed immediately: the conditions of his exfiltration to Chelsea, which will see the Racing Club of Lens who trained him to attack the English club before the International Federation of Sepp Blatter to denounce the looting of his football school, have permanently vaccinated. History has retained the pot of land (Lens) against the iron pot (the club of Chelsea), prohibited recruitment before letting the Artesians a few million compensation to regain his freedom of maneuver on the transfer market. The real story is darker.
Even today, then-president Lensois, Gervais Martel, is convinced that some people, within his club, have worked for the boy to go into exile: "It was not lost for everyone." The guardian of the kid, a bistro keeper, was asking for a large sum in cash for Kakuta to sign in his training club: the Artesians refused, Chelsea put a million euros on the table and "Black Zidane" found himself a year later to share the training of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and other Didier Drogba. And he did not ruin an oar.
"Without any pretensions, I could see that I was doing things in training that others did not know how to do, he explained in 2018 on the Canal + plateau. I lived on my qualities. I told myself that sooner or later, I would be titularized during games. And that, I'll show enough to never leave the team. " There is hardly ever a return: a season and a half in the dryer and the direction of the Blues sends him on loan at Fulham FC: "There, it's left or double. If your first loan goes bad, you'll lose your hand for a long time. " And you become something that sports directors of clubs are refilent at the mercy of deals to obscure counterparts, the international nature (Spain, China …) transfers of football stoking the dark side of operations. This is how one builds a world-trotting life.
But it's not a family life. From 2017, the player, now father, makes it known that he wants to land somewhere. The rest can be read on his wife's Instagram account: Thermomix application stories, salty pancakes, diapers delivered at home, and Amiens cathedral in every way. Something has happened but if you do not hear the principal, it's hard to know what. John Williams, the all-powerful sports director of the club picard, got his hands on Kakuta for the first time in the summer of 2017, on loan: the player illuminated the austere expression – a small side the beauty and the Beast – from the Amois team and he left as he came after one year, prisoner of a contract signed elsewhere. "Let's say he did not always understand why his teammates did not have his talent, explained Saturday a close to the locker room. Sometimes it annoyed him anyway. "
The invoice of Unai Emery
According to various witnesses, no one has taken it up again. Since the sports hierarchy was clear, we had nothing to say to her, and Kakuta had nothing to hear. In January 2019, however, he tried to return to the Somme forcefully: just minutes from the end of the winter transfer window, he was in a lounge at the Unicorn stadium with his agent and Williams, praying that the deal with Rayo Vallecano, owner of the player, is done.
The Spaniards did not give the green light. And Amiens has made it back this summer for 2 million euros, at least officially: even taking into account his recent hip injury, it is worth five to eight times more for everyone, which leaves an aura glittering. miraculous on the Picardy convolutions of the player. Over time, Kakuta has built a work ethic of his own: Arenal's former Paris-SG coach, Unai Emery, who coached Kakuta to Sevilla in the 2015-2016 season, did not has not supported that the player, who prefers to work in his corner with his own fitness trainer, is out of his control. And the Basque has made him pay the bill: five (ends of) games in one year. When Kakuta told the story on Canal early 2018, we remember having judged him hard: detached, pretending to take his former coach – and his prerogatives, the physical aspect being not the least – over the leg .
At the revoyure, the impression is more favorable: a free man, certainly accustomed to see noon at his door. Maybe because he was not given a present. Perhaps also because a player who is so strong in his younger years always stays in the eye of those who make football live, especially as he is still doing enough for this idea to come to the surface. . Here, people's eyes on this guy changes, he will change again but his life does not change, and he lugs.
His children attend a private school in the city center: the director sent a message to the parents of the other students to ask them to stop sending their kids to ask for game tickets to the offspring of the player. It's so cute. It tells Amiens as a home port and it says territorialized football, that of the last century, a continent engulfed unrelated to the globalized history of "Black Zidane". We would have loved to talk to him. After, the first of the rights of the player is that of keeping quiet.
Grégory Schneider Special Envoy in Amiens (Somme)
(tagsToTranslate) Gaël Kakuta (t) Chelsea (t) Amiens (t) Kakuta (t) Zinédine Zidane (t) Unicorn Stadium (t) Spain (t) Defender (s) RC Lens (t) Canal + (t) FC Nantes (t) Sum (t) Rayo Vallecano (t) Football (t) Unai Emery (t) Sooner or later (t) L