Jordan Veretout, against all odds

Good news for OM: Boubacar Kamara’s successor has finally arrived. At 29, Jordan Veretout returns to Ligue 1 one year from the end of his contract at Roma. The opportunity for the French international to return to Didier Deschamps’ radars and to relaunch for the World Cup. And this even if his arrival divides the Marseille city.

Thanks Paris. By shipping the ghost of Georginio Wijnaldum on loan to Roma, Paris Saint-Germain have given the Marseille rival a little boost. Indirect, of course, but the arrival of the Dutchman in the eternal city allowed Pablo Longoria to finally complete the thorny case of the succession of Boubacar Kamara. The lucky one? Jordan Veretout, French international in full force of age, experienced, and who knows Ligue 1 well. Everything from a good pick, on paper. Except that in fact, his arrival set fire to the Marseille city, which is torn over his case.

First-rate sports reinforcement

On the sporting level, no one can deny that the former Nantes player is a strong reinforcement for Igor Tudor and his flock. OM lost their manager Boubacar Kamara in the middle and replaced him with one of their direct competitors in the France team. Trained and launched in Nantes, without forgetting his freelance from Stéphane, the native of Ancenis also has for him to know Ligue 1 well, with nearly 200 matches to his name. Add to that a solid five-year Italian parenthesis between Fiorentina and Roma, where he each time became a manager, and you have the card that Igor Tudor lacked. All this for some eleven million euros, and three years of contract, with a player determined to score his ticket for Qatar next November. A damn fine pickaxe.

How to explain that such a reinforcement is therefore not welcomed with open arms in Marseille? It all started with an anonymous twitter thread, which spread like wildfire in the Marseilles sphere, to the point of seeing #VeretoutNotWelcome trending number one in France on Twitter on Thursday August 4th. The thread in question refers to clear facts, judged in 2017. At the time, Jordan Veretout’s stepfather was accused of sexual assault and sexual assault on one of his daughters, who were minors at the time of the events. Note that a first accusation was made in 2013, without being followed by a complaint. The Saint-Nazaire Criminal Court is handling the case. The man was found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison.

So far, no relation to Jordan Veretout. But the rumor swells: the player would have paid the legal costs of the accused, and therefore “guaranteed” his actions. Some even mention a bail raised by the midfielder to get his stepfather out of prison two years earlier. It is actually a confusion between the sentence required by the prosecutor of 4 years in prison, and that applied by the court reduced to two years. A period of imprisonment open to adjustment of sentence, as specified by law, especially since the culprit is then 75 years old. Still, the player would have assumed the legal costs of his stepfather, according to rumours. We are talking here about lawyer’s fees, since any defendant has the right to be defended in France, as stipulated by the Constitution.

The supporters are scared

Between supporters, the tone rises. The debate ignites. A real witch hunt is organized to determine the good supporters – those against the arrival of Veretout -, and the bad ones – those favorable, or at least not embarrassed -. Usually rather united and benevolent among themselves, the Olympian community is embroiled in a nauseating debate that could be summed up as follows: should we separate the man from the athlete? Even though Jordan Veretout is not the culprit, he is blamed for the facts. The controversy even invites itself to the press conference of Pablo Longoria, who came to present 4 recruits on Wednesday August 3 at the Vélodrome.

The OM boss raises his voice: “There is a question in life. He is condemned ? It’s a guess, that he did something, I can guess about other things. Then there are other questions. You have to look yourself in the eye, have ethics, values. You have to do things right. A rumor is a reflex of current life. On social networks, someone puts something and everyone has to follow. Popularly judging someone, for a guess, is that fair, morally acceptable? I ask myself these questions. It’s the current society, we need to think about these things. You have to respect people. »

In the hours that followed, it was the lawyer for Jordan Veretout’s father-in-law who climbed the ladder to try to contain the fire. “I never met him and I never spoke to him. I was paid by my client’s daughters, who supported their father from start to finish” assures Me Joseph Cohen-Sabban at Figaro. “I never received any money from him. I never got him on the phone either, and I never saw him either. To be honest, I found out he was Sabrina’s husband this morning.” he adds to footmercato. This calms some of the supporters, while others respond with screenshots of comments from the sisters-in-law and the wife of Jordan Veretout. If gray areas still hover around this sordid affair – how do you know if the money paid by the accused’s daughters, including the player’s wife, was not won by Jordan Veretout? -, the midfielder has indeed signed for Olympique de Marseille. And he will quickly have to be on the level to forget all that.

By Adrien Hémard-Dohain

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