Euro 2024: “Perfect match”, “lion in match”, Adrien Rabiot Rabiot is an “indisputable member of the Blues” for his former coach Alain Casanova

Euro 2024: “Perfect match”, “lion in match”, Adrien Rabiot Rabiot is an “indisputable member of the Blues” for his former coach Alain Casanova

Adrien Rabiot très à l'aise pour son entrée dans l'Euro. MAXPPP – Nick Potts

Omnipresent against Austria (0-1), Monday, despite a last month without playing, the midfielder of the French team confirmed that he was an essential cog of the Blues. A status that does not surprise his former coach at TFC, who remained under the spell of their half-season together.  

A time for reflection then the answer. At a press conference, Adrien Rabiot is well-versed. He is also in his life as a player for the France team, where he has just followed the same logic. A month of rest, spared from the two preparation matches due to muscular fatigue, then a response, at a very high level, against Austria on Monday. A way of confirming the new stature taken by the Blues in recent years. And the maturity reached at the age of 29 by a “Duc” long reduced to his status as a rebel.

"For me, with Kanté, they were the two best on the pitch against Austria, appreciates Alain Casanova, his coach in Toulouse from January to June 2013. For a player who was uncertain, it was a very good match, perfect even."

Casanova: "The 2022 World Cup allowed him to gain confidence"

Rabiot could also have added an assist to his return. But Kylian Mbappé missed his face-to-face meeting. An anecdote on the scale of the performance of the Juventus player, absent from the field since May 20. But already at the height of an increasingly assertive status in selection (44 capes).

"Previously, there was competition with Pogba and Kanté. But the 2022 World Cup allowed him to gain confidence and become a full-fledged executive, believes the former TFC technician. It has become one of the best environments in the world. In fact, even when he's not good, he's good. He is very reliable in all areas. He’s an indisputable player in the French team."

From 2018 to 2020, years of lead

The road traveled is immense for a player long cataloged among the capricious. No longer selected for having refused to be a reserve at the 2018 World Cup, which he had notified to Didier Deschamps by email, Rabiot had also left PSG, his training club, after being banned in 2019. Before his mother and advisor, Véronique, did not describe Noël Le Graët, then president of the FFF, as a "liar", the following year.

At the end of this negative sequence, marked by the death of a father suffering from a neurological syndrome, the “Duc”, his graceful stride and this raised head in all circumstances, finally found the Blues in the middle of Covid. To confirm all the good seen from a very young age, despite a winding journey.

Winding journey and "confidence in him"

Passing furtively through Manchester City then the hope center of Castelmaurou, in Haute-Garonne, Rabiot landed in Paris at the age of 15. Before Bertrand Reuzeau, current director of the Montpellier HSC training center, advised Carlo Ancelotti to integrate it into professional training. Loaned to TFC a few months later, for half a season, Rabiot revealed himself to the face of Ligue 1.

"He had a lot of self-confidence, certainty in his game. We could already see his great potential, remembers Casanova . We did everything we could to keep him for another year but we couldn't."

"Humanly, he was very mature and he was already a great competitor. I have very good memories of it", continues the ex-coach, who has not forgotten this disconcerting ease of turning around with the ball under the pressure. "He was capable of doing it, like Xavi, Iniesta, for whom it’s natural. For him too, it was innate."

Captaincy at Juve and maturity

Since then, Rabiot has gone through the stages and conquered Juve, until wearing the armband five times during the last season. Leadership and personality already perceptible in Toulouse. "In the group, there were experienced boys, like Capoue, Sissoko, Didot, etc., recalls Casanova. He arrived with his 17th birthday. But what was remarkable was that he could be in the background in the locker room, and become a lion during a match."

Eleven years later, the hair is tied up, the matches have passed and Adrien Rabiot has continued to grow. To reach full maturity ? "I have the impression that around the age of 30 is the time when we feel our best. I hope it will continue, he replied to the media on Wednesday. After a time of reflection, obviously.

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