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Deschamps returns to lead Marseille to title
by Paul Kennedy, May 6th, 2010 1:34AM

TAGS:  france


[FRANCE] Didier Deschamps, captain of France's 1998 World Cup championship team, is building quite a record as a coach. Deschamps, once dismissed by the great Eric Cantona as being nothing more than a "water boy," guided Marseille to the 2010 French league title, its first since its 1993 title, which was later stripped away because of match-fixing.

Marseille clinched the league title on Wednesday when it beat Rennes, 3-1, and second-place Auxerre fell to Lyon, 2-1. The league title came two months after Deschamps led OM to the French League Cup title, its first title of any kind since the 1993 VA-OM scandal that involved Marseille's attempt to fix a French league match with Valenciennes.

Marseille president Bernard Tapie, a well-known businessman and politician, went to jail along with Jean-Pierre Bernes, the club's general manager. Three Valenciennes players -- including Argentine great Jorge Burruchaga -- and one Marseille player received suspended sentences.

Marseille had its 1993 French title taken away from it and was banned from defending its Champions League title -- the only one won by a French team.

The late Robert Louis-Dreyfus later took charge of Marseille and injected millions of dollars into the club, but it failed to win anything.

Deschamps captained Marseille's 1993 championship team that also won the UEFA Champions League that year. He later played at Juventus, Chelsea and Valencia.

He's enjoyed a short but successful career as a coach, leading Monaco to the 2003 French League Cup title and 2004 UEFA Champions League final and led Juventus back to Serie A in 2007 following its relegation in a scandal of its own.

Deschamps took over Marseille from Belgian Eric Gerets last summer just three days before Louis-Dreyfus' death from leukemia -- Louis-Dreyfus' widow, Margarita, now owns the team -- and brought in Argentines Lucho Gonzalez and Gabriel Heinze, who were both instrumental in OM's success this season.

Cameroonian Stephane Mbia and Senegalese Souleymane Diawara came from Rennes and Bordeaux, respectively, and anchored the middle of the defense.

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