Claude Pape’s destiny of Corsican football icon revealed in a book

heading towards 40 years of disappearance More Great players in the history of Corsican football, Our collaborators Jean-Paul Cappuri, Jean-Richard Graziani and Jean-Marc Raffaele Explore the most intimate corners of a unique destiny, in a work that goes beyond the field of play

Jean-Paul Cappuri will never forget the horrific memory of a table football game on January 28, 1983. In Bar du Fengu, the young journalist provencal-corsica There used to challenge, in moments of rest and relaxation, the sporting playmaker who was then, at the age of 33, contemplating the end of his career. “It was early in the afternoon. Once the game was over, Claude had left us saying he was going to play tennis at Miomo. I, for my part, had joined the Bastia Agency of the newspaper , which was not too far away. In the afternoon, a phone call told us the terrible news to the editorial staff. It was at first a question of disquiet before his death was announced.

A few days earlier, at his home in Bastia, Claude Pape had confided in Jean-Marc Raffaele, who at that time was sharpening his pen on writing chorus-morning, The final interview of “The Bald God” will never be published in its entirety*. “I contacted him after an exchange with his wife, Maddie, who showed me a stack of press clippings from the beginning to the end of his career. It was the perfect time for a great interview.”

January 28, 1983 was also the day Jean-Richard Graziani turned 23, who, for his part, had not started his career as a journalist. “I was still a soldier on the German border, I only heard the news the next day. The duty officer came to tell me: ‘Daddy’s dead’. But since he pronounced the name by marking two syllables, I thought he was talking to me about my grandfather. When he added that it happened on the tennis court, I knew it was about Claude.”

Only he could have written this book.

“Claude’s family put their trust in us, without the slightest need”

Because he belongs to a generation of journalists who knew how to rub shoulders with character, moreover at a time when footballers led every man’s life, our former colleagues have taken on a great task. To have strengthened already unmistakable relationships: Claude Papi, icon, A large-format book, obviously a great gift for year-end celebrations, a work enhanced by Javier Grimaldi’s layout and supported by the most journalistic approach possible: lots of photographs, many unpublished shots, many reading entries Beyond the story divided by topics including countless testimonials. Amongst football’s biggest names who were introduced to the once brilliant number 10’s brilliant and confusing ball handling.

Read this also. FT: Thirty Years Later, Claude Is Still With Us

Since taking a step back from his professional career chorus-morningThe three friends started joint projects. This book, they got down to it together. Naturally. “It all started with a discussion on the Place Saint-Nicolas, Jean-Marc says. It was in late 2021. We were talking about Claude Papi until we realized that 40I His death anniversary was drawing near. From there the idea of ​​making a book was born. A work that Jean-Paul proposed to dedicate to the life of James Dean, a man of destiny whose brutally interrupted existence would have reinforced the legend that has been tirelessly told to this day. “Beyond the player and extraordinary man whose memory lives on to younger generations, there was still much to learn and tell. We immersed ourselves in the archives, contacting many people, including Claude’s family, who insisted “Told gives us a lot of things to do, providing us with the amount of documents we can confidently document without the slightest requirement on the rendering of our work.”

One year’s work is necessary for the preparation of this book. “More than we expected, Jean-Richard says. At first, we tell ourselves that our knowledge of the character and access to the archives will make things easier, until we realize that Claude Papi’s life, however short, is much shorter than we might imagine. is beyond that. The more we opened the thread, the more we discovered and rediscovered.

This Friday, with the opening of the first round of signings in Porto-Vecchio (read elsewhere), the trio of journalists will surely have the opportunity to tell their first readers how they will be able to revisit a star’s spectacular journey Were. And that of a man who aspired only to the simplest existence with his family and in touch with his land.

“He went back to the locker room to rest”

Talking about a book before it is released in bookstores is never to reveal its contents, but above all to share impressions. Time and space travel, in this case…

Of course, the epic sweep across Europe of this memorable 1977–1978 season cannot be overlooked, and neither can the other highlights of Claude Pape’s career. The reader certainly expects to find again images that have long been famous. He will discover many others who have been behind the scenes of the history of the sport to date. A new character who, in terms of the man’s life, becomes almost exclusive on the pages.

You don’t have to miss anything to learn things, down to the tiniest details of the hunting license, on which his middle name, Fernand, also appears. But much more intimate than the ultra-mediocre football exploits of the “bald divine” in this life, the family’s destiny will always be irrigated by the love of its family and its attachment to the roots steeped in Porto-Porto. land. The Vecchias since Raphael, the patriarch, had emigrated from his native Tuscany more than a century earlier, settled there to practice his trade as a baker and married Jeanne Taffani, a child of Muratello. Who gave him 6 boys.

Two of them are still alive. Joseph, the eldest, 78 years old, and Mark, 69 years old, did not fail to lead the authors of this work to the sources of family life, both in the story and in the heart of the districts of Porto-Vecchio, which are numbered . Claude Papi’s wife Maddie, and their two daughters, Marie-Jeanne, 50, and Stéphanie, 44, did the same, undoubtedly aware of the importance of publishing this book, also unpublished, serving a memory. In which has been perfect for 40 years. The photographs, sometimes damaged, yellowed from the work of time, collected in old metal cookie tins were nevertheless best used in layout work, sometimes giving them an impressive format. Some will mark the euphoria and aroused emotion, perhaps to the extent of bringing some to tears.

Image of Ximaco in tears carrying his friend’s coffin

Like those cast by Jacques Zimaco, who walked a few months ago in Lupinu on the day of the funeral at the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church to sparkle with the stars carrying his friend’s coffin. The former twirling winger’s distress out there is palpable and poignant, at a time when thousands are deep in thought. Images with an almost unreal look, like in a dream that would bring back a painful day.

How can we not even mention the evidence that flourishes on the pages with press clippings, like common threads drawn by people who are also repositories of memory. Players of yesterday and today, friends, even world stars like Michel Platini, who still have vivid memories of him being an international competitor as a playmaker. Football technicians also answered calls. Jean-Michel Larke, Arsene Wenger, Frédéric Antoinette who admit to being inspired by the game of Claude Papi to lead the training sessions. “It was a special way in which he sometimes performed the ‘one-two’. When he received a pass from his teammate who, instead of giving him the ball, was asking for exemption for a run in continuation, Claude Papi in the opposite direction made an oriented control, then finally passed the ball to his teammate. His intelligence of the game and the quality of his execution confused opponents to redirect play from one side to the opposite. An anecdote that former referee Michael Watrott points out who believed that Claude Pape’s profile broke the image often given to Corsican players, who were seen as defenders of character and tough on opponents.

Read this also. Claude returns to Papi Furiani

For journalists, Pierre Cangioni’s words enlighten and question, referring to the simple and judicious personality that characterizes the character. “Claude was not a man of words. He didn’t like to put himself in the spotlight, which probably served him because very few people with less talent knew how to sell themselves more efficiently. His humility endeared me to him.” So irrational was the effect on the pitch that I wondered whether he knew his own worth.”

What would have happened to Claude Papi if he had lived after January 28, 1983? The answer would undoubtedly be worth another book, for both man and player have left a gulf between the world of the time and the consumer society in which football is lost in myriad errors today. One thing’s for sure. As he confided to Jean-Marc Raphaeli a few days before his death, perhaps there would be no room for regrets today. Claude Papi will undoubtedly continue to be himself, even if it means going against the current climate of the sport that has given him so much.

This is why the words of Father Alex Straw, spoken on the day of the funeral of the “Bald Divine”, still resonate with a prophetic dimension. “He didn’t leave, he went back to the locker room to rest.”

* Finally proposed in the book available for sale this Friday. ** From Coletta Editions.
Jean-Paul Cappuri, Jean-Richard Graziani and Jean-Marc Raffaelli will be on a signature tour
– Friday 18 November at 5:30 pm at the Porto-Vecchio Media Library in collaboration with the Town Hall.
– Saturday 19 November: at 4 pm in the Library Papi of Bastia.
– Friday, November 25: 7 p.m. at Chez Léon, Cateri’s restaurant.
– Saturday 3 December: at 11am in Tabac-Journaux Oliva in Bourgué.
– Tuesday, December 6: 5 p.m. at Alma Bookstore in Bastia.
– Wednesday, December 7: 6 p.m. at Brasserie Le Cosée (5th) in Paris.
– Thursday, December 8: 11 a.m. at Brasserie L’Élysée Saint-Honoré in Paris (8th).
– 9, 10 and 11 December: in Biguglia Christmas market.
– 28 and 29 January: at the Marseille Book Fair.

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