Fabien Barthez Profile
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.