12 of the best quotes on Matt Le Tissier: ‘The Maradona of Southampton’

Quick Reads

Plenty of players have won more trophies than Matt Le Tissier throughout their careers – but only one man will forever be known as ‘Le God’ at Southampton.

Le Tissier was the prime example of a one-club man, shunning interest from the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea to stay loyal to Southampton, for who he made 540 appearances and scored 209 goals in a 17-year career.

One of the most mercurial talents to grace English football, the attacker was one of the game’s great entertainers and had a taste for scoring f*cking ludicrously good goals.

Despite his abundance of natural talent, a focus on what he couldn’t do meant Le Tissier won a criminally low tally of just eight caps for England.

But we’re only interested in what made Le Tissier so exhilarating to watch, which the likes of Xavi explain pretty well.

Matt Le Tissier

“You have to be willing to try something a little bit different and you don’t want to have the fear of failure.

“I think a lot of people tend not to try things because they think it will look foolish if it doesn’t come off, whereas I was a little bit the other way round. I didn’t have any great embarrassment if it didn’t come off.”

Xavi

“His talent was simply out of the norm. He could simply dribble past seven or eight players but without speed – he just walked past them. For me he was sensational.”

Alan Ball

“Whether you like it or not he is the best player at this club by a million miles. His goals will keep us up. For him to do that he can’t run and tackle because he’s useless at that. Get the ball to him.”

Alan Ball

“He wanted so much responsibility and no one else gave it to him. Not the responsibility where you stick your foot in, but getting the ball in the hard part of the pitch.

“He was just phenomenal, he was brave. He had the heart of a lion. That was a massive thing that no one knew. He kept Southampton up single-handedly for years.”

Mick Channon

“You need to have been a Southampton supporter to really appreciate him. For no other player in the country could have done what he did for this club, not Beckham, not Keane.”

Dave Merrington

“People would say that Matt didn’t work hard enough, but they would overlook one thing: that he was a genius.”

Manolo Gabbiadini

“You could say he’s the Maradona of Southampton – a bit like how Naples has Maradona, here they have Le Tissier.”

Mick Channon

“There is something even more important. Matt will have inspired a whole new generation of Southampton players and Southampton fans.

“Kids of 11 and 12 will have dreamt of being Matt Le Tissier, will in 20 years’ time be fathers taking their own sons to the games. The 32,000 people who came on Tuesday won’t forget him. How much of a failure is that?”

READ: A love letter to Matt Le Tissier, the greatest ever playground footballer

Sadio Mane

“He is a great legend not just in Southampton, but across football.”

Matt Le Tissier

“I loved being the centre of attention and the main man. I wanted to entertain people and sticking one in the top corner from 25 yards was a pretty good way of doing that.”

Patrick Barclay

“Of all the hackneyed arguments football has produced, there are few I detest more than the one that drones along those lines: ‘Because Le Tissier stayed with Southampton, he lacked ambition.’

“It not only misses the point; as Glenn Hoddle, under whom he won the last of his eight caps, once remarked, he had a burning desire to impose his will on opponents with pure skill. To do it his way.

“And that, in my view, is more ambitious – not to mention brave – than running around a lot or kicking people.”

Matt Le Tissier

“I played the game the way I wanted to play it, and had I gone on to a bigger club, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that.

“I knew I probably wouldn’t win any honours, but when you’re at a club that size, staying in the Premier League for 16 years gave me as much pleasure as winning a medal if I’d gone somewhere else.”


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