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Grégory Coupet

Grégory Coupet
Full nameGrégory Coupet[1]
Date of birth (1972-12-31) 31 December 1972 (age 43)
Place of birthLe Puy-en-Velay, France
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Playing positionGoalkeeper
Youth career
Olympique Le Puy
Senior career*
2008–2009Atlético Madrid6(0)
2009–2011Paris Saint-Germain31(0)
National team

Grégory Coupet (born 31 December 1972) is a retired French association football goalkeeper. He played for Saint-Étienne, Lyon, Atlético Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain and represented France.

Club career

Coupet began his club career with hometown team Club Olympique Le Puy, before going pro with Saint-Étienne in 1994. He made his Ligue 1 debut on 26 March 1994 in a 2–0 victory against Angers.[2] After three seasons, he surprisingly moved to league rival Lyon (the two cities are only 80 kilometers apart, and are long-time local and national rivals) as a replacement for Pascal Olmeta in January 1997.[3] His gamble paid off as Lyon have regularly dominated Le Championnat since 2002 and are also a regular fixture in the UEFA Champions League.

Coupet performed a memorable double save against Barcelona during an UEFA Champions League 2001–02 match, when he first acrobatically headed an unintended lob by a defender to his own crossbar, and then immediately parried a close header by the arriving Barcelona striker Rivaldo.[4][5]

He openly wept during the group photo before France faced Turkey in a 2003 Confederations Cup semifinal match, which had taken place just hours after the shocking death of his close friend and former Lyon teammate Marc-Vivien Foé.[6] Coupet credits the aftermath of Foe's death in helping him gain a new perspective on life, in the process settling his differences with Lyon after having been engaged in nasty contract imbroglios for most of the 2002–03 season, which included at one point his vowing never to play for the club again.

In 2005, Coupet was voted for the first time, at age 33, into the top 10 for the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper Award. He finished with 43 votes, fourth behind winner Petr Čech, Dida, and Gianluigi Buffon, respectively. He has also twice been named Ligue 1 Keeper of the Year, in 2004 and 2005.[7]

On 2 August 2007, Coupet suffered a torn internal medial ligament in his left knee after catching his foot in the net during a training session. He underwent surgery four days later and missed the remainder of 2007, including France's final Euro 2008 qualifiers. He later joked on Lyon's official television network:

"The good that [France] have a rugby World Cup coming and I’ll be able to enjoy every bit of it."[8]

Coupet returned to the squad in the new year making his return in Lyon's 4–0 victory over Ligue 2 side Créteil in the Coupe de France on 6 January 2008.[9]

On 18 July 2008 he was sold to Atlético Madrid for €1.5 million plus €0.25M bonus.[10]

International career

Born in Le Puy-en-Velay, Haute-Loire, Coupet has 34 caps with France. He made his international debut against Australia during France's 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup-winning campaign. He was called up for the 2002 World Cup as the backup to Fabien Barthez, but did not play. The following year, Coupet kept three clean sheets and conceded only three goals in five games as France won the 2003 Confederations Cup, which marked their second victory in the competition in three years. During a commemoration for fallen Cameroon player Marc-Vivien Foé, Coupet broke down on tears, since they both were teammates while playing for Lyon in the French league.

In February 2006, France Football magazine conducted a poll among its readers as to who should be France's first-choice goalie for the World Cup; Coupet received 69 percent of the votes (Barthez received 28 percent).[11]

Though Coupet started six of 10 games in the 2006 World Cup qualifying rounds, coach Raymond Domenech surprisingly elected Barthez as his number one, which would relegate Coupet to the bench once again. Many had expected Coupet to be chosen as the starter due to his excellent performances with Lyon that had contributed greatly to their streak of five Ligue 1 championships. This ultimately led to a row on 25 May 2006 between Coupet and Domenech that resulted in Coupet storming out of the team's training camp in Tignes with his family in tow, but he later returned and made amends with the coach.[12]

Coupet became France's number one after Barthez announced his retirement from both club and country football in August 2006. His first regular stint – during the Euro 2008 qualifiers – however, got off to a less-than-desired start; France were upset by Scotland 1–0 on 7 October and a hand injury suffered in that match kept him out of France's 5–0 victory over the Faroe Islands four days later.

He was first choice goalkeeper for Euro 2008, conceding six goals in three matches as France were eliminated in the group stage.

During the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda were favored by Domenech for the keeping job, with Coupet called up as a reserve for a few games. Coupet was not selected to France's World Cup team, as Cédric Carrasso instead was chosen to join Lloris and Mandanda on the roster.

On 1 July 2010, Coupet announced his retirement from international football, saying: "I will be 39 years old when Euro 2012 commences, and I can't see myself being included in another squad for France, with Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda favoured over me. It happened with Fabien Barthez, he was just too good for me. When he retired, I thought I'd have 4–6 years as France's number 1, but of course it isn't to be as it seems. I therefore declare my retirement from international football, and will not be included in any more France squads. I will not reconsider my retirement now, as I have made up my mind."





  1. "FIFA World Cup Germany 2006: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 May 2010. p. 11. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  2. "L'Equipe – Gregory Coupet profile". L'Équipe. France. 26 March 1994. Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  3. "Olympique Lyon 1996-97". Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  4. "Kluivert Class Earns Barca Win Over Lyon". The Washington Post. 10 October 2001. Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  5. "Champions League – FC Barcelona 2 Olympique Lyon 0". Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  6. "Cameroon player collapses, dies". The Age. Australia. 28 June 2003. Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  7. "The World's best Goalkeeper 2005". Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  8. "Coupet out for four months". Toronto Star .my. 4 August 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  9. Coupet on track for comeback
  10. "SQUILLACI AND COUPET TRANSFERRED; CLEBER ANDERSON LOANED" (PDF). OL Group. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  11. "France Fans Vote Gregory Coupet". Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  12. "Coupet storms out after Barthez dispute". Retrieved 28 April 2011. 

External links

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