Monday November 21st, 2016

You can have all the talent in the world but sometimes your face just does not fit. That was how Portuguese centre-back Rolando felt (perhaps without all the talent) when Marseille’s ex-coach Franck Passi told him in the summer to look for a new club. It was only a lack of interest from other clubs that kept him in the south. Midway through his two-year contract, Rolando played for seven minutes this season under Passi – during which time Marseille conceded an equalizer to Angers.

The appointment of Rudi Garcia as new coach on October 20 changed everything. His first match was against PSG and he had no time to prepare his team. During his time at Roma, Rolando had been at Inter and Garcia knew that he could play in a back three if required. He started the game, Marseille drew 0-0 and Rolando was back. Another goalless draw followed, then a defeat to Montpellier, but Sunday Marseille finally won under Garcia: Rolando’s late header beating Caen. 

Rolando has now become one of Garcia’s trusted players. “I always thought he was a hard man but he is nice,” Rolando said of Garcia after the game. “He sees the personal relationship with his players as very important.” Marseille is still in the bottom half of the table, but a first league win under Garcia has them moving in the right direction. It could be a busy January at the Velodrome. 

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