The French coach Bruno Metsu passed away following a lengthy battle with illness at the age of 59 in his home town of Coudekerque-Village, having enjoyed a number of notable successes both as a player and in management.
A midfielder during his playing days, he made his professional debut with Dunkerque in 1973, but it was at neighbouring club Valenciennes that he was introduced to the top flight. Alongside the likes of Didier Six and Roger Milla, he helped keep the northern outfit in the French elite, and from there he joined nearby side Lille before moving south to sign for Nice.
He then took up the challenge with Roubaix in the second tier and finally hung up his boots at Beauvais in 1987. That was also the club where he began his vocation as a coach, and it was a role in which he would go on to flourish.
Metsu started off as a youth coach at Beauvais and first made a name for himself with impressive campaigns in the Gambardella Cup, a French youth tournament, in the late 1980s.
That earned him his breakthrough appointment as head coach of his old club Lille in the first division, where he emerged as the widely respected man of honour he remained throughout his career.
He continued adding to his prestige during spells with Valenciennes, Sedan and Valence, and his reputation clearly travelled far and wide as he took the reins of Guinea’s international side in 2000, before becoming Senegal coach later in the same year.
“The team are always the priority because that’s the most wonderful thing that exists in football,” the ardent admirer of attractive play once told fifa.com.
“I remember goals from when I was a young coach where everyone got a touch of the ball. There was even one time when my striker scored with a chest control. We were playing so well that the other team were hardly there at all. You can’t imagine how beautiful it is to see that from the bench.”