Fabien Barthez Profile

Fabien Barthez

Fa­bi­en Alain Bar­thez, born Lavelan­et, Fran­ce, June 28, 1971. Born and grow­ing up in the old to­wn of Lavelan­et in South­ern Fran­ce, Fa­bi­en Bar­thez began his ca­reer wi­th Toulouse in 1990 be­fore he was sold to Olym­pique de Mar­seille two years la­ter. Wi­th The Pho­cians, the goal­keeper won the French Cham­pi­on­ship as well as the Cham­pi­ons Lea­gue in 1993. 

Fol­low­ing over 100 fir­st class ap­per­ances for Olym­pique de Mar­seille, Fa­bi­en Bar­thez joi­ned for­ces wi­th Jean Tigana´s Monaco in the sum­mer of 1995. Af­ter help­ing Monaco to bring ho­me the French Cham­pi­on­ship in bo­th 1996-97 and 1999-2000, he was sur­pris­ingly bro­ught from The Red and Whi­tes to reign­ing Eng­lish Pre­mier Lea­gue Cham­pi­ons Man­chester Uni­ted by Sir Al­ex Fer­guson as a re­place­ment for the Old Traf­ford club´s epic Den­mark in­ter­na­tion­al goal­keeper Pe­ter Schmei­chel in a high pro­file £7.8 mil­lion deal at the be­gin­ning of the 2000-01 sea­son. Shortly af­ter­wards, the suave shot stop­per was han­ded his com­pet­it­ive fir­st te­am de­but for Uni­ted in a 2-0 de­feat ag­ainst Gi­an­luca Vialli´s Chel­sea si­de at Wemb­ley Sta­dium in the FA Com­munity Shield on the 13th of Au­gust 2000, and had his Carling Pre­miership bap­tism in a 2-0 vic­tory over New­castle Uni­ted in front of al­most 70,000 spec­tat­ors at The Theatre of Dreams on the open­ing day of the 2000-01 cam­paign, wi­th Ronny John­sen and Andy Cole scor­ing the goals for the hosts. Af­ter set­tling in, Bar­thez pro­ceeded to win the Pre­mier Lea­gue title wi­th Man­chester Uni­ted dur­ing his in­aug­ur­al year in the UK, but fol­low­ing the rap­id and sig­ni­fic­ant ini­tial suc­cess at the fam­ous and le­gendary foot­ball in­sti­tu­tion, his goal­keep­ing strength was ap­par­ently some­how un­der­mined by over­con­fid­ence, and the way­ward net­mind­er be­came some­what too big for his goal­tend­ing gloves in the eyes of the in­creas­ingly frus­trated and in­cred­u­lous Sir Al­ex. Even tho­ugh the South­ern French­man was rated as one of the finest goal­keep­ers in the wor­ld by most pun­dits, the ex­ceed­ingly ec­cent­ric per­former hit an in­con­sist­ent patch dur­ing his third year at Man­chester Uni­ted, and he edged to­wards the bizarre when he com­mit­ted some really non­sensic­al and note­worthy net­mind­ing mis­takes in the Premi­ers Lea­gue win­ning cam­paign of 2002-03. And as his con­tinu­al antics raised nu­mer­ous ques­tion marks pla­ced ag­ainst his men­tal health, Bar­thez sub­sequently lost his place in the fir­st te­am to Uni­ted States in­ter­na­tion­al Tim How­ard af­ter hav­ing notched up well over 100 fir­st te­am ap­pear­ances for The Reds.

The Gal­lic goal­tender played in his swan song mat­ch for Man­chester Uni­ted in a high scor­ing 4-3 tri­umph over Span­ish Primera Di­vi­sion gi­ants Re­al Mad­rid in front of an at­tend­ance of more than 65,000 spec­ata­tors at Old Traf­ford in the UEFA Cham­pi­ons Lea­gue Quart­er Fi­nal on the 23rd of April 2003 be­fore his soc­cer ca­reer as­pir­a­tions turned back ho­me to the coun­try of the Franks where he would sign a con­tract wi­th his for­mer em­ploy­er Olym­pique de Mar­seille in the spring of 2004. At St­ade Ve­lo­drome, the flam­boy­ant foot­baller amassed over 50 fir­st class out­ings for the club be­fore he fin­ished off his long and dis­tin­guished ro­und ball ca­reer wi­th fel­low Cham­pi­on­nat out­fit Nantes At­lantique at the back end of the 2005-06 sea­son. Capped 87 times by Fran­ce, he de­b­uted in­ter­na­tion­ally for Les Tri­colores in a 1-0 Kir­in Cup win ag­ainst Aus­tralia at the Uni­ver­siade Me­mori­al Sta­dium in Kobe in Ja­pan on the 26th of May 1994. The ac­ro­bat­ic net cus­todi­an, who like most French­men had a Na­po­leon Bona­parte char­ac­ter in­side him, la­ter went on to win the 1998 Wor­ld Cup in Fran­ce as well as the 2000 Euro­pean Cham­pi­on­ship in Bel­gi­um and the Neth­er­lands wi­th his na­tion, and the ami­able and pop­u­lar ath­lete was de­servedly made an Of­ficer of the French Le­gion of Hon­our in re­cog­ni­tion of his ster­ling ser­vices to the ga­me of foot­ball in 1998. And al­though his ec­cent­ri­cit­ies ev­entually would sadly bring his Man­chester Uni­ted ca­reer to an ab­rupt and dra­mat­ic end, his goal­keep­ing cap­ab­il­it­ies were sec­ond to no­ne in the Eng­lish Pre­mier Lea­gue. Hav­ing a lar­ger than life per­son­al­ity, Fa­bi­en Barthez´s rais­on d’etre was quite simply to ex­ecute ex­traordin­ary things. Fa­bi­en Bar­thez Play­ing Ca­reer: Toulouse, Olym­pique de Mar­seille, Monaco, Man­chester Uni­ted, Olym­pique de Mar­seille, Nantes At­lantique. Man­aging Ca­reer: None.


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