"It's a beautiful day, it takes me back a few years." Former resident of the pre-training of Paris Saint-Germain, the French international and midfielder of Olympique de Marseille Mattéo Guendouzi returned to Verneuil-sur-Seine, this Wednesday, to inaugurate the stadium that now bears his name. Dressed in white from head to toe, the finalist of the last World Cup burst into the François Pons sports complex shortly before 14 p.m. accompanied by his family and the mayor of the town, Fabien Aufrechter (31). The elected Renaissance has been leading for more than two years this project to baptize the field of honor with the name of the former Parisian Titi.
In the morning, Mattéo Guendouzi had visited the students of Jean-Zay College where the enthusiastic welcome of the boarders did not leave him marble. "I saw the children in college with a big smile, former teachers too with whom we remembered the good times and some silly things I did at school," laughs the player born in Poissy, a few kilometers away. "It's a pride to have a stadium in his name at 24 years old, it proves that I have passed levels since my time here. Verneuil is part of my schooling, my football. I trained on these pitches and I am very proud that I was thought of for the name of the stadium. »
Ziyed, accompanied by his dad, did not expect to meet a player of this stature when he went to train as he does every Wednesday. "He's the second player I've seen in real life," says the apprentice footballer with his eyes full of stars. I don't know what question to ask him, maybe ask him how he managed to become a professional. Adam and his comrades are also thrilled: "We love Guendouzi, he is strong! We think that, when he was younger, he played like us on this field. It's a bit weird, because we're used to saying: we're going to Pons. But the memories will be even stronger with his name. »
"The day was perfect, he really played the game"
During a radiant afternoon, under a beautiful blue sky, Mattéo Guendouzi took the time to advise, exchange, sign autographs and take some photos with the young girls and boys who came to train. Then the day took on a more formal tone when the Titi of OM was invited to win the desk installed on the stadium field. In front of him, more than 150 guests and the parents of the young footballers remained to applaud him.
Mattéo Guendouzi now has a stadium named after him in the Yvelines.
After the mayor's introduction, Mattéo Guendouzi received the medal of the city and took care of his speech. Once the plaque was unveiled, the day ended with a small match on a large field between two mixed teams composed of players between 14 and 16 years old. Between two interviews, the Phocaean put away the cleats to occupy the role of coach. He did not escape questions about the season that has just passed with OM. "There is a taste of unfinished," he told us. A new coach (Tudor) arrived with new game ideas, a new philosophy, we had to adapt. If we are 3rd, it is because we deserve to be in this place, Lens (2nd) had a better season. If they took 6 points against us, it's not for nothing. »
Under contract with Marseille until 2025, the French international should animate the next summer transfer window. Already, this winter, several clubs had positioned themselves (Aston Villa, West Ham). "There will be important discussions with the management to know their desires and mine," simply replied the interested party. In the meantime, Guendouzi will be able to enjoy a few days of vacation, having not been summoned by Didier Deschamps to participate in the next two games of the Blues against Gibraltar and Greece. This Wednesday, he left with a smile on his face, the feeling of having given happiness to all. "The day was perfect, he really played the game. It's the kind of event that makes the city and the kids' eyes shine," says Fabien Aufrechter.
Remember that the place lives its last months under the PSG logo. From January 2024, the young residents will officially integrate the new Poissy campus built for 300 million euros by the Qatari owners of the club. A move that will mark the end of an era since the Parisian nuggets have resided there since the 1997-1998 season.