Dismissed as a "water carrier" by Eric Cantona during his playing days, Didier Deschamps's title success with Marseille confirms that he is one of the brightest coaching lights in the modern game.
Born in the Basque Country city of Bayonne in France's extreme south-west, Deschamps came through the ranks at the legendary Nantes training centre and made over 100 league appearances for the club between 1985 and 1989. After a season each at Marseille and Bordeaux he returned to Marseille in 1991 and it was in his second stint at the Stade Velodrome that his career took flight.
He won the French title in 1992 and became the youngest captain in European Cup history when, aged 24, he led Marseille to the inaugural UEFA Champions League title after a 1-0 defeat of AC Milan in the 1993 final in Munich. Disgrace descended upon Marseille the following year when they were found guilty of match-fixing and stripped of their 1993 league crown but Deschamps landed on his feet after jumping ship to join Juventus.
He won three league trophies, one Italian Cup and his second Champions League title during five glorious years with the Turin giants before winding down his club career with Chelsea and Valencia.
Deschamps's international achievements were even more spectacular. It was he who lifted France's first ever FIFA World Cup™ after their victory as hosts in 1998 and he repeated the trick when Les Bleus added the UEFA EURO to their trophy cabinet two years later. A composed, efficient holding midfielder, Deschamps was derided for his lack of attacking spark by former team-mate Cantona, but he has proved just as shrewd a reader of the game as a coach.
He began his managerial career at Monaco, leading them to the French League Cup in 2003 and the Champions League final the year after, before guiding Juventus out of Serie B following their demotion for match-fixing. Marseille was Deschamps's next port of call in 2009 and, after a steady start, he brought their 17-year wait for a trophy to an end with victory in the French League Cup before securing their first Ligue 1 title since 1992.
"When the referee blows the whistle, they (the players) don't hear me anymore," said Deschamps, 41, earlier this season. "On the pitch, the protagonists are the players. It's their ideas and their intelligence that will make the difference."