The Granit Xhaka incident at Arsenal recently showed what can happen when tensions between players and fans rise, but things have seemingly reached another level at Lyon.
So much so that their Brazilian centre-back Marcelo could well be left out of the Champions League game against Benfica after an escalating conflict between him and the fans, for his own safety.
Before Lyon’s game against Toulouse at the weekend, Marcelo was pelted with missiles and insults from the stands, and even the player’s family have become involved.
But how did things reach this point? Julien Laurens explained on this week’s European edition of the Totally Football Show.
“We’ve got a lot of problems with ultras at French clubs at the moment. At Nice, they were not happy, at Bordeaux they were not happy and wanted to the CEO to resign, so they said nothing for the first ten minutes then started releasing flares, and we’ve seen problems at Lyon as well with Marcelo, the centre-back.
“After the Benfica game when Lyon lost 2-1, after a big mistake from the goalkeeper, the ultras waited for them at Lisbon airport. On the way to the plane, Marcelo had an altercation with some of the ultras, they insulted each other and almost had a fight.
“The ultras haven’t forgiven him for it and he’s the one they’re targeting all the time: him, his family and it got so bad and the atmosphere is so hostile around him, that Garcia is against the idea of playing him at home against Benfica.”
One man who almost certainly will face the Portuguese giants will be Memphis Depay, who once again bailed Lyon out in the Toulouse game, scoring an injury time goal to secure a 3-2 victory.
“It’s always the same debate: should you play for him, basically build your team around him? Because he’s capable of moments of brilliance like that nobody else in that squad can do – or do you need him to be a bit more collective and part of the team?
“I don’t know where they would be without him really, he’s been that good. OK, sometimes he disappears, sometimes he’s a bit selfish and should pass the ball, but he’s still an incredible talent and it would be crazy not to build the team around him.”
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