* Prices may differ from that shown
On the eve Barthez's potential to a world cup final i've decided to write about him.
On the back of frances world cup win in 1998, Barthez gained a reputation for flair and competency through his performances in denying some of the worlds best strikers in the worlds ultimate competition.
subsequently Man U spent £7+ million bringing him to england to fill a hole left by the departure of the epic peter schmieichel. indeed this problem has been there all the time up until the signing of edwin van der sar.
Barthez's continual antics however led to his eventual departure from Manchester to france
If you had said to Fabian Bhartez theres was going to be a stike today he probably would have ducked and then blocked this end of the channel tunnel (think about it). This has to be the worst signing at Old Trafford since Peter Davenport. The career move is a bigger disaster than Dan Quayle,(the man who asked a young lady at a function who she was,replied im your secret service agent),when he added the e of the end of potato. If there was one game that the Frenchman was seeking his redemption in, statistically the omens were not good in this crunch encounter. Chelsea have only lost three times in twenty eight before today’s noon kick-off stretching back twenty years. Come 1.49,Manchester United had extended that odious run to twenty-nine with a catastrophic three nil defeat. United are like a great heavyweight champion down on one knee as the blows rain in. Another thunderous punch by the Londoners splatters blood on the canvas like the unusual sight of a rash red seats long before the final whistle at Old Trafford.. The champion’s knees are wobbling, double vision, like the keeper going one way, and the ball the other. Soon to sprawl on the canvas after losing four of the last six painful rounds. Their torso is as bruised as the egos, it’s painful to see great fighters fall in slow motion. The cause of this collapse is the shock sacking of their other ten million investment in Stam and the performance of the clown prince between the sticks. He looks more like a musician than a footballer. Both at ten mill were grossly over priced and I suspect that Fergie who bartered the deals through his son trousered a portion of that. New management might not take to the little cocky Frenchman between the sticks. He may be swinging from a noose like his compatriots on the wrong side of the French revolution.the ways its going .The Stretford End wont tolerate much more of this buffoonery, and face saving
from the departing manager. Alex won’t back down over accommodating five world class players in the teams midfield by dropping Cole, so I cant see him sacking the worlds most expensive keeper from his signature. Clearly the current formation isn’t working and Alex really couldn’t give a quassiant. Like a fading boxer caught by a lucky punch, United never really recovered from that Rickets’ goal against Bolton and will have to knock out some bums coming up to recover their confidence. And the first way to do that is to remove this clown from the goal. He can’t control the box anywhere near Schmichaels booming dominance and is too small on crosses. The miss match of defenders have no confidence in him to shout for a disputed ball, or bellow instructions like the big Dane that would echo around the Theatre of Dreams.Bhartez is bringing nightmares to a decaying empire. Just as Bhartez was conceding in the first five minutes, Michael Owen and Lundberg were sliding in goals at 3.05.The title is conceded now without doubt. Fowlers move to Leeds with six of Liverpool’s points in his pocket will give Leeds a welcome boost further down the M6. Uniteds replacement keeper in Roy Carroll kicks like one of those guys in Bruce Lee films who’s first for the chop. But he’s far better than comedian currently turning the handle on the floodgates. If you listen carefully, you can hear fingers tapping on keyboards dumping the French Keeper from their fantasy teams. Who would have thought United would have lost eight games by December First. Chuck in the five or so they lost in the 2000-2001championship run-in and you can see just how inept the defense and Bhartez are. The little guy is averaging nearly two goals conceded since his arrival and his glamorous girlfriend’s departure. Surely the boss can’t tolerate much more of this carnage. It is fair to say that Europe
and a grandious Hamden Park finale has been Furgusons first priority this season with the league an after thought. The Champions League is the true measure of a great manager and a second win would move Alex into the great English club coaches hall of fame. The Euro TV money and the signing of Bhartez were geared towards that league in his last two years and that makes it a clear priority over the domestic fare. Not only is the French national keeper throwing away Uniteds chances, but its fair to say his world cup ones to. Lauren Blanc, who im sure replaced Stam because he was the first name on Bhartez speed dial wont be kissing the head of the bald one.
For Manchester United, this entire season has been one faltering stumble after another. It started way back in pre season friendlies as Alex Ferguson started out with a new formation to accommodate his big money signings, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Juan Sebastian Veron. The match at Old Trafford against Celtic had nothing much on it but the Scottish champions simply overran United for most of the game. Never mind, we thought, just an aberration, things will be alright once the real stuff starts. However, the Charity Shield clash with Liverpool was no better as an in form Michael Owen made the United defence look pedestrian and leaden footed. Then as the Premiership kicked off, United started with a simple looking task at home to promoted Fulham. The fluid Luis Saha twice gave the Londoners a shock lead, before United finally managed to work their way back into the game and grind out a win. Now the fun would begin, we thought, but it never did. There was the distraction of Jaap Stam's headline driving autobiography which prompted accusations from Fergie that the Dutchman had lost something and led to a high profile transfer to Lazio. Laurent Blanc was the replacement on a free transfer from Inter, but was obviously just a stop gap introduction and he could not stem the tide. United continued to look astonishingly shaky at the back - even when they came back from 3-0 down to crush Tottenham in an astonishing turnaround in one of the games of the season, they had still been lacklustre and second rate for much of the game. After a dreary defeat at Anfield, Fergie's programme notes derided the critics and promised that the Empire was not crumbling, but then we had the latest debacle in the big clash at Highbury against Arsenal. All the headlines and gossip centred on the two bloopers suffered by Fabien Barthez, especially as they were just the latest in a series of high profile errors from the French keeper
. Bad as they were, however, they distracted the attention from the real problem as Barthez became the scapegoat for the demise. He had played well earlier, making several excellent saves, but ruined it in five minutes of second half madness. One should remember, however, how limited United's whole performance had been throughout the game - they had seized an unmerited lead in their first attack through Paul Scholes, but the game had virtually passed them by. It would suit the Old Trafford regime, however, if the attention centred on Barthez and his eccentric performance so as to mask the genuine malaise which has descended upon United. They are no longer the dominant force they were and the result of trying to find a formation to win the Champions League has been to invite sides to come onto them in Premiership matches, and their soft centre is not capable of soaking up the sort of pressure they have been facing. When they'd had Stam and Schmeichel around they could weather this sort of storm, but they are now a brittle, uncohesive back four and a seemingly insane clown in the net who on his day can be excellent, but is having too many off days. Fergie's face on Sunday at Highbury betrayed it all in a way that had not been evident at Anfield - then he looked drained and exhausted, now he looked positively livid and Barthez will doubtless feel the backlash. He wasn't helped, however, by a defence which lacked rigour and concentration. As the Frenchman screwed up his clearance, only Gary Neville was facing goalwards and they were all caught out when the ball bobbled to the edge of the area. The old confidence and assurance that used to hang around Barthez like a bad smell has temporarily deserted him, however, along with his luck and things are unlikely to improve in the immediate future. Last season, after becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in the world at £7.8m, he looked to have laid t
o rest the ghost of Schmeichel and put the goalkeeping nightmares of 1999-2000 behind United, but he has struggled for most of this year as United have leaked goals like a sieve. Inevitably, he will recover from his current depression - goalkeepers who are good enough to play for World and European Champions do not become also rans overnight, and Barthez is a class act most of the time. His style and insistence on taking risks means that he is always going to be a character and crowd pleaser, while giving his manager nightmares, and such an approach is too rare in the game these days. Still, I think I'll join a million other non United fans in a nasty gloat over the despair of Barthez for the time being.
I remember the first time I ever saw Fabien Barthez play was during the 1998 World Cup finals, when he was part of the France team which went on to win the tournament for the first time. My immediate reaction was that he was a very chancy goalkeeper, in the mould of Liverpool's crazy Zimbabwean Bruce Grobelaar, but he did have a certain flair and was very effective, denying some of the best strikers in the world time and time again. I suspended judgement at that time because there's a saying in football that you make your own luck and at least Barthez seemed to enjoy his football and was one of those characters that are few and far between in modern football, dripping charisma all over the place and trailing the beautiful model Linda Evangelista around behind him for a girlfriend. Still, I marked him down in my imaginary little black book as a typical continental keeper, all flash and show, and prepared to bide my time. However, most decent judges seemed to rate him as being a top notch keeper, and it was one of the most poorly kept secrets in football when Alex Ferguson splashed out £7.8m the summer before last to solve a goalkeeping crisis which had cut to their heart since the departure of the enormous Peter Schmeichel in 1999, following the Treble triumph. In so doing, he made Barthez the most expensive goalkeeper in the world. The first choice, Mark Bosnich, was hounded out after a series of dodgy performances, the Italian Massimo Taibi proved a gross mistake and Raymond van der Gouw was quietly competent, but Old Trafford demanded a presence at the back, much in the same style as Schmeichel. The first season seemed to bear out Ferguson's judgement and Barthez proved again and again how good (or lucky) he was. But that was last season and already this season Barthez has committed some real howlers and given away far too many opportunities. It was hinted that he had learnt his lesson and had co
me through the bad match, but then along came Arsenal and one of the most dismal 90 minutes of Manchester United's season. Both Arsenal and United were suffering from a long run of poor fortune in the Premiership which has seen them well off the pace, but clashes like these are always passionate affairs and good viewing. The Gunners, as the home side, went off like a train and were swarming all over United in the first half but couldn't find a way through and then as United appeared to have weathered the early storm, they had virtually their first attack, driven by Mikael Silvestre's surge down the left wing and deftly cut back cross for Paul Scholes to quietly steer home. 1-0 to United and it looked like they were back on their way to one of those coldly efficient ground out wins that they have been so good at delivering over the years. Arsenal had had the majority of the possession and the territory but kept running aground on a hard pressed, but resilient rearguard action. It was shocking, however, how little United had been in the game. Beckham's name had hardly been mentioned, Veron was oddly off colour, Keane looked like he was feeling his way back in and Scholes had been anonymous apart from the goal. Van Nistelrooy had seen little of the ball and their defence, which had recently seemed very out of sorts, were content to just punt the ball anywhere in order to clear their lines. The pressure and the tension told in the second half when first Gary Neville gave the ball away deep to allow Arsenal to quickly go onto the offensive and put Ljungberg in on the right. His deft flicked lob left Barthez stranded to bring the Gunners back into the game, but that was nothing to the drama to come, as the Frenchman's world simply fell apart. First, one of the best footballing goalkeepers in the world, who normally clears so well, scuffed a back pass to the edge of the area as his back four star
ted running upfield, allowing Thierry Henry to pounce on the mistake and slip the ball home to give Arsenal the lead. Then, minutes later Barthez came running out to make a fairly standard save at the right edge of the area, before spilling the ball to give Henry another easy open goal to hit. Ferguson's face was an absolute picture as Barthez wallowed in despair. One could only guess at what would go on in the United dressing room after the game. If Fergie had been tired after the Liverpool defeat, one could imagine him being totally apopletic after this farce. Clearly, most of his United team had been off form and anonymous, but it would be the gaffes of Barthez which would live longest in the memory. It's not the first time that the eccentric antics of Barthez had threatened his Old Trafford reign, but certainly a cluster of errors this season already has brought focus on whether he can still cut it. If Stam was dumped because Sir thought he was past his best, then surely it will not be long before the axe starts to get sharpened. Thirty year old Barthez started his professional career when he was 18 with Toulouse, where he played for 3 years before joining Olympique Marseille. His first season with the club ended in triumph when they beat AC Milan to clinch the European Cup. However, the club were soon disgraced by a match fixing scandal and demoted to the second division. However, that didn't stand in the way of Bathez's career and in 1995 he joined Monaco, a year after making his first appearance for his country. He has been a regular ever since and has won a European Championship medal to go with his World Cup success, although he is rather better known for his head making the acquaintance of the lips of French team mate Laurent Blanc - Sacre bleu!!! For a time around his move to Old Trafford he was rated as the best goalkeeper in the world, but his continual antics have
seen his stock fall pretty low in recent months. He may soon be seeking new employers.
There’s some stuff you just can’t doubt, like, umm, David Beckham only scores from free-kicks because I say ‘He won’t score from there!’ (I got a few rather horrid looks from some rather drunk men when I stood up and screamed it very loudly in the last World Cup’s England Vs Argentina match, but hey, who cares, it worked, even though we did lose (but lets blame Shearer for that). It doesn’t work for Manchester United as much as England at the moment, but then that’s another thing you can’t doubt: Manchester United ain’t on form. No sir. And ooh, what’s that about? Because there’s a lot of things to do with Manchester United’s big problems with conceding goals at the moment, and well, you know, I’m beginning (however much I love, admire and respect him) to think it wouldn’t have been such a bad thing if Sir Alex Ferguson HAD left last season. Ah. ‘Tis true, probably. We need new faces, in every part of the team: particularly the defence (either bring back the old face of Jaap Stam, get rid of Laurent Blanc (even though he’s only just arrived), put Roy Keane in the Centre (‘cept we wouldn’t get the same motivation pushing forward, but at the same time would sort out the fitting Scholes back in thing), or me, at Right back (you know, I do think that would be the best, but well, there might be a few things stopping that from happening, but oh well, I’ll get the kit-woman job soon (though our Albert does a grand job)). Ah yes, and our goalkeeper. Yes, Barthez. I know it’s hard for you, but don’t laugh, please (Especially not if you’re a Liverpool fan, because I’m laughing at you… Phil Jevons) It’s an embarrassment, really. I used to love Barthez, when he first came to Old Trafford, because of the relief of finally finding someone half decent to sort out the goalkeeping problems we had then, but now, well, I d
on’t, really. I’ve known it for a while, but I don’t really think he’s that wonderful, and it’s not because of the last few matches (Deportivo La Coruna and Bolton Wanderers). Y’see, it’s like this: Unfortunately I never quite got over the loss of Peter Schmeichel, sort of like I never got over the loss of Eric Cantona, but for different reasons. It’s really got something to do with the time I started watching and playing and enjoying football, and enjoying Manchester United. At that time, Schmeichel was there: already a pretty huge name in the Manchester United team, the backbone of the squad, saving us from many a defeat. And well, I loved him. Really, I did (not as much as I love(d) Cantona, but I did love Schmikes). And that’s the problem really, seeing Peter score for Aston Villa shook me hard, it struck me that he was no longer really ours (even though he is, really, because there’s some players which you love so much they always belong to your club), and he’s now *against* us, competing for the Premiership title (probably won’t happen, but Villa are still fighting for it, nonetheless). It feels wrong, it doesn’t feel like there’s still the presence of the huge Danish red nosed blond haired Giant sitting in the back of the net. When Big Schmikes left, there was always going to be a problem of finding a new ‘keeper, because Peter meant lots to everyone: not just the fans like me, of my age, who had grown up with his photograph on their bedroom walls and learnt to spell and pronounce his name properly, but for everyone, really, because he had made such an impression, he had proved himself and shown himself, something that any player has to do to be loved and cherished. Without Schmeichel, the Treble winning season wouldn’t have been the same, nor would any of the other matches we won whilst he was guarding the goalposts. And that’s wh
y it came as such a shock to me when he announced a season/half a season before that he was going to retire, because I knew, and was probably right, that he could go on. Raimond Van Der Gouw was already at the club, as the second goalkeeper when Schmikes left, but however much a great goalkeeper, at the time he didn’t seem like a suitable choice for the number one shirt, although looking back that was a huge mistake made by the club, I think. He should have been played, and he should have been given a chance. However old he was, he was, and is, a damn fine ‘keeper. Oh, and Kevin Piklington just faded away. So Massimo Taibi popped up, an Italian goalkeeper, who’s name was probably the finest we could have bought, but quite simply he didn’t fit in well. His career at Old Trafford was short, but not sweet. Ended, even though he had a game or so afterwards by the Southampton Match of that season: a rather huge Taibi miss-kick leading to an embarrassing So’ton goal from Matt Le Tissier (The ball sort of trickled through Taibi's legs, if you didn't know why it was so embarrasing). That match sort of proved everything, however brilliant his name on paper (I have an old football management game, I should know) he wasn’t right, and was rather rubbish, for us anyway. And Bossie came back, another buy that I thought would be rather good. Ten years before he had been on the United team sheet, the Australian National Goalkeeper coming from Aston Villa along with Dwight Yorke (one of Ferguson’s rather fine buys, though not so fine right now). He started off well, something a lot of Manchester United goalkeepers do, but again he wasn’t right. He was then shunted into third goalkeeping position (possibly forth, if you think about it, with Paul Rachubka breaking through) behind Van Der Gouw when the man I’m supposed to be talking about arrived for a rather well spent few million, and away to Ch
elsea went Mr. Bosnich, only just reappearing now, the other day, against Leeds United. So, I’ll talk about him, as this opinion’s for him: Fabien Barthez, the rather wild, daring, risky, possibly dangerous current number one goalkeeper, and I suppose what we (as Manchester United supporters, though I suppose some other team’s supporters might be asking it as well) have to ask ourselves, is what is going on? Obviously something isn’t right: Fab’s a great goalkeeper, he’s got great ability, but he isn’t playing how he should be. Well, my reckoning is pretty simple really, and yeh, it’s got something to do with his rather wild, daring, risky, possibly dangerous play, that I loved to love when we were on form. I do think, like many, that he has got to ‘calm down’ a bit. When the whole team isn’t performing, particularly the defence, I don’t think it’s really the time to be daring. Obviously, playing Wes Brown out of position isn’t going to help the situation, but I do think, that at the moment, he is too relaxed. He’s consistent: but consistently bad, and I’m certain that Sir Alex Ferguson should have dropped him on Saturday, and given Roy Carroll another chance to show himself. He’s a bit more stable, and a bit more reliable, he’ll sort of, I suppose the best way to say it is play buy the rules, and by that I mean play how a goalkeeper should play when his club’s in the situation that Manchester United are in currently. Obviously there’s a lot behind Barthez: he’s been around, he’s played for many a top club, starting off his professional career (he played amateur football at Lavalanet FC) with Toulouse in 1990, then going to Marseille in 1992 and from then onto Monaco in 1997, and what mattered to me: Manchester United in 2000. He’s been the French National Goalkeeper for a while now, and yes, that’s a big
achievement for a footballer, especially in the goalkeeper’s position (though in no way am I denying that it’s not such an achievement to play for your country in other positions), because as a goalkeeper there’s often a few players competing for just the ONE place. And you know, currently they’re the holders of both the World Cup (though, ahem, I think that might change with England’s current form ;)) and the Euro2000 competition. But, even though that does mean a lot, does it really mean a lot. Would I rather have the Northern Ireland goalkeeper playing more regularly, or even if it was possible (though I doubt he’d ever come back again) the Aston Villa ‘Keeper. Hey, even the Manchester United U19 goalie would do at the moment, providing he was on form. The thing about Barthez is, comparing him again to Schmeichel, which perhaps I shouldn’t do considering there were other goalkeepers between Barthez and Schmikes, is that he does not demand the respect that Peter Schmeichel did from the defence, which perhaps is one of the reasons why I do not feel as safe. It might also be something to do with the relaxed attitude of his job, but even though Barthez is a very confident player himself, something which you can tell when he does make all his risky, daring moves, he does not bring confidence, and I do not believe that with Barthez in goal the team is confident, especially not the defence. We do need confidence, perhaps the main thing that is stopping us winning at moment (you know, I have great confidence with the attacking side of things, with Ruud Van Nistlerooy and everything – though the Ruud stranded up front on his own in the 1 position of the 4-4-1-1 does make me feel a bit iffy about everything). And that’s it, I suppose. This would probably be better situated in a section about the current Manchester United goalkeeping situation rather than Barthez, but well, it is about Barthez, b
ecause he needs to change. Something needs to happen, whatever it is, otherwise the rather mellowed Alex Ferguson (who’s old version probably would have dropped Barthez on Saturday) is going to have a pretty dire and hard last season, and I’m going to have to hold my head up high, and keep teasing Liverpool about their ‘plastic’ treble compared to the real one we might have been able to win with a decent defence and goalkeeper. Yeh. That’s it, ain’t it: it’s time to stop relying on the glories of the past, and start focusing on the future. [Oh, and yeh, one more thing before you go: if you want to know a bit more about Fabien Barthez (journals, what he thinks of his Manchester United team mates etc) then go to http://www.fabienbarthez.com].
Last night's Champions League game between Man Utd and Deportivo La Coruna provided me much mirth! After Van Nistelroy's excellent opening goal and a long period of United dominance, Barthez's error that gifted Deportivo an equaliser was the sort of schoolboy mistake that has managers reaching for their thesaurus for an alternative phrase to 'sick as a parrot'. For those of you who missed the footage, Wes Brown put in a decent tackle inside the box which sent the ball in Barthez's direction. Instead of booting it 60 yards upfield Barthez left it for Brown (who had correctly left it for Barthez). The result was the simplest and (for a not particularly neutral Liverpool supporter) funniest goal I've seen scored against United since Barthez struck a Travoltaesque pose as Di Canio bore down on his goal last year. Two minutes later Deportivo were 2 - 1 up as a result of very sloppy defending. Van Nistelroy proceeded to score with a sublime finish off a ball that came off Beckham's bum a minute later - certainly a great spectacle to see so many goals. Barthez was to provide the piece de resistance however. Mid way through the second half a hopeful pass saw Wes Brown run back towards his goal, well in front of the opposing player to take control of the situation. Barthez decided to take matters into his own hands (or not) by charging out of his goal. He missed the ball, handled outside of his area (for which he should have been sent off IMHO) and then watched helplessly as the ball was comfortably slotted home. To see a keeper make one mistake of such magnitude is always a laugh. To see two is something special particularly if it means Man U throwing away 3 perfectly good points at Old Trafford. I believe that Sander Vesteweld is going cheap if Sir Alex is interested!
Well. I am sat here now watching The Premiership and the Newcastle vs Manchester United game has just finished and what a great match it was. I was looking for a flaw in the Man United team as to why they lost this game and it seemed to be Fabien Barthez. He is said to be one of the greatest keepers around at this time, but this season he hasn't really done aswell as he should be performing. After joining from Monaco last year for a world record fee of £7.75m for a goalkeeper. Last year his performances were not only flawless but flamboyant and was very pleasing to watch for United fans and neutrals watching the game. He would use skills to flick the ball away and take it round some of the greatest strikers in the world. This season he has seemed to be a completeley different Fabien Barthez in goal for United. He has made many mistakes already and we are only into the 2nd month of the season. For instance Robert Lee had a strike at goal today and Barthez just let it slip through his grip. Now I know you can't criticise people for one mistake but Barthez is occasionally throwing himself about and is being a bit to characteristic. Now it is unfair to blame just Barthez as the whole United defence is performing under par this year. After selling Stam in bizarre circumstances and drafting Laurent Blanc who today proved too old as he was beating by Craig Bellamy for pace which cost United the 4th and vital goal. So as a whole no one is too blame for United's bad defensive record but if I had to put a name on it, it would be Barthez.
Fabien Barthez has a lot to live up to when he first came to Manchester United. The great Peter Schmichel had left, and Mark Bosnich, Raimond van der Gouw and most spectacular Massimo Taibi had all failed to fill the void. A few heads turned when the signing was announced, Fabien has a reputation for being a little bit erratic and charismatic, and he may not have got on with the hard lined Alex Ferguson. Nether the less Ferguson is a shrewd player in the transfer market, not afraid to pay out big money, over £7 million for Fabien, and nearly £50 million for Veron and van Niesterooy combined and more often than not he pulls out a bargain (Bosnich and Taibi aside). With Manchester United having aspirations of European glory they need the squad to match. Fabein is a proven world class keeper, but with France he has a world class defence ahead of him. The Neville brothers and Silvetster (although the later seems to be improving) are a weak link and I only really like Stam and Johnsen from the United back line. With Barthez in goal the defence looks a lot more secure, but if I wanted to be challenging for European honour, the work that has been done is good, but more around the back four in needed, as shown by United going out in the European Cup last year to Bayer Munich. Fabien Barthez was born in Lavelanet, France on the 28th of June 1971, and so has just turned 30, still young as keepers can go, look at Seaman, Lukic and Goram, and they need experienced to learn all the angles and techniques. His father was a professional rugby player; perhaps that is where Fabien gets his handling skills from? He signed professional forms with his first club, Toulouse FC in 1989 at the age of 18. He spent three seasons with Toulouse, before moving south to Marseilles in 1993. At the end of his first season there he won the European Cup, but Marseilles were later involved in a big scandal, and in 1995 he moved to AS Monaco. On the way he won his first
international cap in 1994, a friendly against Australia. At Monaco Fabien tasted more success, winning the league title in 1997. The same Monaco team contained Thierry Henry, David Trezegeut and Willy Sangol, now at Chelsea. At Monaco Fabien’s team put Manchester United out of the European cup in 1998 on aggregate and away goals. Internationally Fabien has been a regular for France, and has helped them to the two biggest prizes, winning the World Cup on home soil in 1998, and the European Championships in Belgium and Holland in 2000. Fabien has won a total of 43 caps, and has been vital to the two successes. Can France will the World Cup in 2002 in Korea and Japan, and regain their title? Only time will tell, but they will be one of the favourites. Monaco again won the league in 1999/00 season, but the deal to join Manchester United was agreed in May 2000, and Fabien left France for Old Trafford for a British record £7.8 million for a goalkeeper. At United Fabien was an instant success and silverware followed. In 2000/01 Manchester United again retained the FA Premier league crown, and he will be looking to add to his medal collection in the next few seasons. Fabien has more than proved he can fill Schmeichel’s boots, maybe he will not ever be as intimidation as he stands only 5’11”, but he more than makes up for it with a huge character and personality. On the pitch Fabien is incredibly agile and acrobatic, often choosing to do the spectacular rather than the basics, but it nether the less proves it effective, as the records for goals conceded show. Barthez can often be seen patrolling his half of the field, well outside his area when United are on the attack, but unlike Schmeichel has resisted the temptation to go up for corner kicks, although he did play as an outfield player in a pre-season tour of the Far East this season. He is also famous for his ‘policeman’ arm raised incident in the FA cup last season against W
est Ham, where he just stood with his arm raised for offside as Di Canio shot. Off the field he is equally charismatic. He is famous for celebrity girl friends and living the highlife, and the fact he ended up in Liverpool trying to find United’s ground says a lot for his sense of direction. For all his play-acting he is a superb keeper, and has proved it on several occasions. He has a great kick, either for the ground or from hands, great reflexes, and is very agile, all great factors to have in a keeper. With an improved Manchester United, with Veron and van Niestlerooy it is hard not to see Barthez adding more medals to his collection, both domestically and internationally come this time next year.
After his performance in the recent Asia tournament I am suggesting that Man U's best looking player and I mean Barthez is given a chance in the postition he lusts after... STRIKER He is the best goalie in the premier league and he has a personality too!! Thank goodness Man U have gotten rid of the fat scottish bloke who attempted to stand in for Fab last season. I look foward to another entertaining and unpredictable season from the frenchman. Man U for champions AGAIN
IN 2000-01: concerns about finding a long term replacement for Peter Schmeichel were laid firmly to rest by the flamboyant Frenchman. Fabien is not tall for a keeper, but he is supremely athletic, he oozes charisma and his all-encompassing self-belief transmitted itself to teammates and fans alike. In addition, he emerged as one of the most accomplished dribblers in the side. Fabien Barthez is definitely one of the best goalkeepers in the world, if not the best. At Manchester United he his firmly taken over the reigns from the not so sharp Mark Bosnich and is considered as a true replacement for the brilliant, now at Aston Villa, Peter Schmeichel. He’s a very agile keeper who gets to some stunning shots, making him the ideal man for the job. He’s a crowd pleaser – he can take on strikers, using his skill and often get 1/3 up the pitch! Takes risks, but he’s a solid goalkeeper. 5 stars! Here are some interesting facts: POSITION: Goalkeeper BORN: Lavelanet, France, 28 June 1971 HEIGHT: 180cms WEIGHT: 80kgs TRANSFERRED: from AS Monaco, 21 May 2000 OTHER CLUBS: Toulouse, Olympique Marseille, AS Monaco SENIOR UNITED DEBUT: 13 August 2000 v Chelsea at Wembley (FA Charity Shield) UNITED RECORD: League: 30 Games, 0 Goals; FA Cup: 1 Game, 0 Goals; League Cup: 0 Games 0 Goals; Europe: 12 Games, 0 Goals TOTAL: 44 Games, 0 Goals FULL INTERNATIONAL: France
I rate Fabien Barthez as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. I have just one question; What the hell was he doing with his arm raised in the air appealing for offside against West Ham. It is bad enough when the defence of a team do this, but when the keeper does it you know that something is going wrong. Of course, Alex Furguson did not point the finger at the guily, instead blaming everything including the pitch, rugby, ref, fans, clock-Everything apart from Fabien! He even went as far to say that trying to physic out Di Canio like he did was right! Trying to physic out a man who threatens suicide if his team fails to perform simply isn't going to work! Fabien is a vastly experienced keeper who has been in goal in both the World Cup and Euro 2000 success' for France. He is very acrobatic and is a little extreme too, as he can often been seen juggling with the ball outside his area and taking on strikers and surging past them. It was only a matter of time before one of his little tricks backfired-it backfired in style agianst West Ham. I still think that Fabien is a good keeper after this incidient, it has just proved that the old saying is true: 'Play to the whistle!'
It's not easy to come to Old Trafford and follow in the footsteps of previously the best keeper in the world. Bosnich certainly didn't even come close. Alex Ferguson has bought in a stunning keeper who has done just that - Fabien Barthez. £7.8m looks like a bargain now, considering he is a World Cup and European Championship winner. He has brought stability to a defence, that, without the Great Dane had been lacking. Like Schmeichel his presence is felt - even though he is just a small guy. His distribution is as good, if not better. His ability to kick the ball long distances with pinpoint accuracy is a weight off the shoulders of the defence, who along with the crowd would expect the worst from Bosnich all the time. Barthez can also throw the ball great lengths to a player. This is often the start of a familiar united break. He is particularly strong on one-on-ones and shot stopping. He is very pacey and can rush off his line to narrow the angle well. He is good when in the air to catch of punch the ball away. His main weakness comes from free kicks. We have been beaten a number of times from set pieces. This is usually due to him coming too far off his line and not being able to get to the ball in time. Small price to pay though, as I'm sure many people will have realised we don't concede many free kicks around the box. Everybody must have seen him on TV with all his trickery and mind games (though they didn't work against West Ham). The entire crowd love to see him confuse strikers and beat them. If anyone goes to Old Trafford on a regular basis they will see that he is clearly too skilful to be a keeper - volleying crosses into the net in the warm up and controlling the ball with ease. He is a world-class goalkeeper and a snip at under £8m considering the transfer values in today's football. He will continue to improve and hopefully will lead united to more success.
A genuine quality player.
Fabien Barthez was signed this summer to try and solved Manchester United's goalkeeping problems. Since the big dane left a couple of seasons ago they have not been able to find a reliable goalkeeper. Bosnich was signed but never really fitted in. Barthez is a world cup winner with France and decided to join them this season. The decision by Alex Ferguson raised a few eyebrows at the time. I for one thought that Barthez was not really built for the premiership and was too small. He has proved everyone wrong and has turned in some brilliant performances. He is agile and can command the defence very well. His distribution is good as well. He is very experienced and that can only really benefit the United youngsters. He also keeps himself out of the media's eye which will please his manager. The reason that United are so far in front at this stage of the season is partly down to Barthez. He has added an extra something to the team which has been lacking. I cannot see United slipping up this season.
He is nowhere near as good as Peter Schmeichel was when he played for Manchester United, but is one of the best goalkeepers in Europe. Despite being quite a small person, he can dive very far to his left and right, and jump very high. I think after the goalkeeping crisis that Man Utd had before he arrived, they would have been pleased to have had a keeper anywhere near his ability. He signed for the best team in the world from Monaco last year, for £7.8 million. He is worth every penny of that money. I don’t think he is as good as Edwin Van der Sar or Francesco Toldo, both stars in Euro 2000, however, Fabien was part of the side that won this tournament! His kicking is superb. He can kick way past the half way line on a drop kick, and can quickly get the team on an attack on a goal kick. I think he has been behind World Class defences, (not so much the defence of Monaco) for example, France, have a defence of Lizarazu, Blanc, Desailly and Thuram, who all play for Top Class clubs in Europe. Irwin, Stam, Silvestre and Neville of Man Utd, All world class internationals. He has got a good clean sheet record at Manchester United and I’m sure he will have his first Premiership winners medal by the end of this season.
Fabien Barthez an outstanding goalkeeper, easily one of the best playing goalkeepers at the moment, having gotten in to the France team and won the world cup for france against brazil in 1998. No wonder why one of the best players is playing for the best team in england, with man utd. Signing him will help Man Utd's goals conceded column stay next to nothing, whereas when Bosnich, van der gouw and taibi happened to play in goal for Man Utd they seem to have conceded a lot more goals and now with Barthez they will keep clean sheets a lot more through out the season. With being the main goalkeeper for the France team Manchester United have a very good chance of winning the league and winning the champions league.
Fabien Alain Barthez (born 28 June 1971 in Lavelanet) is a French football player who plays the position of goalkeeper. With the French national team, he won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000 and reached the final of the 2006 World Cup. He shares the record for most World Cup final clean sheets with Peter Shilton, with 10. Professionally, he has kept goal for his clubs to a Champions League title and several Ligue 1 and Premier League championships.