Association football manager Association football player Athlete Football player Sports official

Aimé Jacquet

Quick Facts

IntroFrench footballer
Is Sports official
Athlete
Football player
Association football player
Association football manager
From France
Type Sports
Gendermale
Birth 27 November 1941, Sail-sous-Couzan
Age79 years

Biography

Aimé Étienne Jacquet (French pronunciation: ​[e.me ʒa.kɛ]; born 27 November 1941) is a retired French football coach and former player. He was manager of the France national football team that won the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Biography

He was born in Sail-sous-Couzan, Loire. He began his career as an amateur player for his local club, US Couzan, while working in a factory. Scouted by Saint-Étienne, he joined Les Verts in 1960. One of the most successful clubs of the time, Saint-Étienne, won an impressive five league titles and three French Cups in his 11 years with the club. He also played for the national side, but his international career failed to take off because Les Bleus performed poorly during his years on the team. In 1973, he left Saint-Étienne for bitter regional rivals Olympique Lyonnais, where he ended his career as a player.

A “provisional” manager

Jacquet worked as a manager for clubs around France and gained an impressive list of accolades for Bordeaux during the 1980s, leading them to three league titles, two French Cups, two European semi-finals and one-quarter-final. Dismissed by President Claude Bez in 1989, he left Bordeaux to hone his managerial skills with more modest teams like Montpellier and Nancy.

In 1991, he accepted a position with the National Technical Training Centre (Direction Technique Nationale).

In 1992, he was appointed the assistant to then national team manager Gérard Houllier.

After the French national team was knocked out of the running for the 1994 FIFA World Cup by Israel and Bulgaria, Jacquet was made the manager of the national team, but only provisionally. After a promising series of friendly matches (notably a victory over Italy in Naples in February 1994), his provisional status was upgraded to permanent.

Jacquet initially selected Eric Cantona as captain and made him the team’s playmaker. Cantona had successfully restarted his career in the FA Premier League and was playing some of the best football of his career, but he kicked a Crystal Palace fan in January 1995, which earned him a year-long suspension from all international matches.

As Cantona was the key playmaker, Jacquet was forced to make major changes to the team in the wake of his suspension. Jacquet revamped the squad with some new blood and built it around Zinedine Zidane and other younger players, while dropping Cantona, Jean-Pierre Papin, and David Ginola. Jacquet’s choice of players for the tournament caused some fans to grit their teeth but he succeeded in helping France qualify for the Euro 96.

Making it all the way to the semi-finals, Les Bleus managed to show they could survive without veterans such as Papin, Cantona, or Ginola. Jacquet himself stated that the team had done well without Cantona, and that he wanted to keep faith with the players who had taken them so far. The team’s good showing in Euro 96 meant that Jacquet stayed in the media’s good graces, for the time-being.

From doubt to victory

In the months that followed the Euro 96, Jacquet honed his team’s skills in a series of friendly matches. He adopted a very defensive strategy and made fans anxious because his team never seemed to develop a definitive offensive tactic. The press began to attack the team manager, calling his methods “paleolithic” and claiming that the team had no hope for the World Cup. Jacquet, taciturn by nature, did not rise to the baiting, preferring to concentrate on helping his team rather than playing the media game.

In June 1997 at Le Tournoi, cries of “Resign!” could be heard from the stadium as the French team finished third behind England and Brazil, only coming out ahead of Italy by virtue of goal difference. The press continued to label Jacquet incompetent.

The media’s distrust of Jacquet reached fever pitch in May 1998 when, instead of a list of 22 players meant to play in the World Cup, Jacquet gave a list of 28 players, causing the sports daily L’Équipe to write an editorial arguing that Jacquet was not the right man to lead the French team to victory.

However, all that changed when the team began to play in the play-off rounds for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. It was clear that though Jacquet’s team was far from being the most flamboyant in French history, it was a perfectly well-oiled machine that neither injury, nor expulsions, nor suspensions, managed to stop. On 12 July 1998, France soundly beat Brazil 3–0 in the Final. Key to the victory was when Jacquet pointed out to his players that Brazilian marking at set-pieces was somewhat suspect, and Zidane headed two goals in from corner kicks.

Following the victory, Jacquet announced that he was leaving his position as manager of the French national team. He then became technical director of French football in August 1998, a position which he held until his retirement in December 2006.

Statistics

Club performanceLeagueCupContinentalOtherTotal
SeasonClubDivisionAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
FranceLeagueCoupe de FranceEuropeOtherTotal
1960–61Saint-ÉtienneDivision 1210021
1961–62000000
1962–63Division 22100000021
1963–64Division 120202060
1964–6530000030
1965–6627210282
1966–6736520385
1967–68353604100454
1968–69313402010383
1969–70234813010355
1970–710000000000
1971–7221000021
1972–7329341334
1973–74LyonDivision 1152113000193
1974–7570001080
Career total214252831314025929
France national team
YearAppsGoals
196820
Total20

Managerial statistics

TeamFromToRecord
GWDLWin %
LyonFebruary 1976July 1980 7002183000000000000♠183 7001650000000000000♠65 7001420000000000000♠42 7001760000000000000♠76 7001355200000000000♠35.52
BordeauxJuly 1980February 1989 7002422000000000000♠422 7002219000000000000♠219 7002115000000000000♠115 7001880000000000000♠88 7001519000000000000♠51.90
MontpellierJuly 1989February 1990 7001250000000000000♠25 7000700000000000000♠7 7000500000000000000♠5 7001130000000000000♠13 7001280000000000000♠28.00
NancyJuly 1990July 1991 7001400000000000000♠40 7001120000000000000♠12 7001110000000000000♠11 7001170000000000000♠17 7001300000000000000♠30.00
France17 December 199329 July 1998 7001530000000000000♠53 7001340000000000000♠34 7001160000000000000♠16 7000300000000000000♠3 7001641500000000000♠64.15
Total 7002723000000000000♠723 7002337000000000000♠337 7002189000000000000♠189 7002197000000000000♠197 7001466100000000000♠46.61

Honours

Awards

  • IFFHS World’s Best National Coach: 1998
  • Onze d’Or Coach of the Year: 1998

Olders

Aimé Jacquet was made Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d’honneur in 1998, and was promoted to Officier (Officer) in 2007.