Bordeaux manager and former French international Willy Sagnol had some things to say about African soccer players this week. As you can probably guess, they were racist as hell.
Sagnol was speaking to a journalist from French paper Sud Ouest when he was asked about the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations, the bi-annual tournament that kicks off this January.
"There will be much fewer Africans joining Bordeaux," Sagnol started off, "because I don't want 12 players who disappear for two months every two years."
As things go, this is more or less understandable. Teams with key African players and little cover on the bench could ostensibly have the title hopes derailed every other year when their African stars leave for national team duty, play in a grueling, three-week tournament, and take a bit of time to recover before joining back up with the club. This is fine. But Sagnol kept talking.
"The advantage of the typical African player," he continued, ominously, "is that he is not expensive when you take him, he's generally ready to fight and he is powerful on the pitch. But football is not just that, it's also technique, intelligence, discipline."
Sagnol, however, did admit to fucking with Nordics.
"Nordics are good. They have a good mentality," he said. "A football team is a mixture, it's like life, it's like France. You have defenders, attackers, midfielders, fast ones, big ones, small ones and technical ones."
It's never good to start off something with "the typical [insert enormous continent full of people]," and it's definitely never smart to lob the same bullshit concerns black players face in every single sport: that they're physically-gifted, naturally-talented brutes, but lack the intelligence, skill, creativity, drive, and humanity necessary to understand or master the game. This is self-evidently untrue, and in few places more so than France's Ligue 1, where there are a shit ton of African players. In Sagnol's eyes, though, the greatest trait Nordic players have is their intelligence, while one of African players' greatest advantages is that they're cheap.
People pointed out that the 37-year-old manager—who started the 2006 World Cup final alongside African-born French citizens Patrick Viera, Lilian Thuram, and Claude Makdélélé as well as Zinedine Zidane, who's of African decent—was a flaming bigot, so today he apologized in a press conference, saying, "If I may have shocked, humiliated, or hurt people then I am sorry."
Here's a video of Sagnol's interview with Sud Ouest for the French-speaking contingent:
Bordeaux play RC Lens on Saturday. Allez, RC Lens.
Photo Credit: Associated Press