The Club

Pablo Longoria : "Giving maximum coherence to the project"

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On Saturday 25 June 2022 at 07:55
A few days before the resumption of 1st team training scheduled for 29 June at the Robert-Louis Dreyfus training centre, the president of Olympique de Marseille takes stock of the changes that took place before the summer and looks ahead to 22-23

Last week you decided to appoint a Director of Football. Can you tell us more about this position?


This is an evolution of our organisation. In order to continue the club's development, I want to surround myself with very high-level staff at all levels. This position is essential to guarantee and maintain coherence throughout the sports policy, particularly in the decision-making process. This is very important to me.


So you have appointed Javier Ribalta, with whom you already collaborated during your time at Juventus from 2015 to 2017. What were the reasons for your choice?


Javier is one of the most talented people in football. I believe in the embodiment of projects by young leaders who already have a lot of experience. For several years now, at the highest level, he has demonstrated his ability to adapt to all the changes in football. This capacity is essential to obtain results, which he has achieved in the various championships he has worked in. The work he has done at Juventus is extraordinary. He has shown creativity and perseverance. Javier has had my full confidence since our first discussions on the evolution and future of football. We share the same vision and we are guaranteed to implement the best strategy for the club.


David Friio, who has been with the club since 2020, has been appointed Sports Director. What will be the responsibilities of each of them?


What is important for me is to have complementarity in the organisation chart. We are strengthening David's position to give more clarity to the evolution of our organisation. In a more operational role, David will be responsible for the day-to-day relationship between the management and the professional group, as well as the management of the scouting teams. In a more strategic role, Javier will add value to the existing organisation through his creativity. In the end, it's all about working together, each in their own field with their own expertise, to serve the club.


Director of Football, Director of Sport and also a Technical Director in charge of training in Marco Otero. Why did you choose this profile?


Marco is one of the greatest training specialists in Europe. He has changed the mentality on training of all the clubs he has worked in. He is a reference at international level, recognised for his work and methodology. He also has a great capacity to adapt to different countries, clubs and players. In Valencia, when we worked together, we agreed on the direction we wanted to give to the project. And if I analyse what he did there between the time he arrived and the time he left, it was one of the best jobs done in Europe in recent years.


What are Olympique de Marseille's training objectives?


Training must be one of the pillars of the project. Training is the identification with the club, the identification with the city. It is very important for our identity. The club must transmit its values and its culture from the very beginning. And training is the gateway to the players of tomorrow's Olympique de Marseille. It is a question of identity and culture of the club.


We are on the threshold of the 2022-2023 season and its summer transfer window. What is your approach and what are your ideas for the club?


We have targeted the positions that we want to strengthen and those where we need to improve. At the moment we are facing a very speculative market. So we have our objectives but we have to remain consistent with this trend, as we have done since the first day at the club. This consistency must also be reflected in our playing identity, with player profiles determined to join us by this idea of building the team and who wish to fully commit to the club's project. These are the bases. Then, we work by priority.


How important is your relationship with Jorge Sampaoli on a day-to-day basis and especially in this transfer period?


I repeat, but it is so important: we want to give the project maximum coherence. That's the key. Like last season, we must all work together in the same direction. On recruitment, it's a real logic of collective construction with Jorge and his staff, around two aspects: the style of play of the team and the profiles of the players, who must be complementary to each other. It is an essential work with many problems, which must result in our capacity to put the individual at the service of the collective with a very strong identity of play. That's why it's very, very important that everyone can think together and work in the same direction for the good management of the project.