Four years ago, Julien Maggiotti weighed 103 kilos, was a central defender in N3 and lived on odd jobs. Four years later, he is about to discover Ligue 2 with Laval (he is on loan from Charleroi), comes out of a season with 11 assists in National, and the scale indicates 84 kilos. Since fate likes to wink, the 26-year-old playmaker will play his first Ligue 2 match this Saturday (7 p.m.) in Bastia … In other words at home, in Corsica.
What could be better for a Corsican footballer than to start his professional career on Furiani’s lawn? Maybe wear the Sporting Club de Bastia jersey. But even with the orange Lactel jersey, Julien Maggiotti will live a dream during this first day of Ligue 2. ” This is exceptional. It must be said that I was a subscriber for fifteen years, I invaded the stadium when Sporting went up from the National in Ligue 2 then in Ligue 1. And then, Saturday, it will be as if I were at home. There will be my family and the young people I trained at Gallia Luciana (N3)” details Julien Maggiotti.
Aged 26, he would have seen himself treading the lawn of Armand-Cesari a little earlier. At the exit of the hope pole for example. But the doors closed in front of him. “Like all players, I was thinking of joining a training center, because we were entering the national U16 and U17 categories. But no one came to pick me up, and I went back to Lucciana. I had not given up on professional football, but it had become only a pleasure. , rewinds the Charleroi player, loaned to Laval for the season. And at 17, his talent was already impressive within the flag team of the Corsican club. “I was with my father on the edge of the fieldrecalls Jean-Laurent Santini, manager at Gallia Lucciana. He started from his area, he eliminated all the players and then he scored. »
“In the Coupe de Corse semi-final, Julien was in goal. He saved a penalty in extra time and a shot on goal in the session. » Jean-Laurent Santini, manager at Gallia Lucciana
Ironwork, five and 103 kilos
However, Maggiotti the hitchhiker does not seek to see higher, he discovers a life that suits him perfectly. “Getting up in the morning to go to work, having a coffee with friends in the village, training the children, playing Lucciana, I loved that life” , supports the Laval resident. On the field, moreover, he lets his talent do the talking, without forcing himself: “I didn’t have the lifestyle to play as a professional, whereas as an amateur, you always manage to compensate. I had the lifestyle of a worker. I was a town hall employee, a waiter or an ironworker, so it was hard to combine that with training. » Which did not prevent him from being the best in the team, whatever the position.
“In the semi-finals of the Coupe de Corse, our goalkeeper was expelled before extra time. Julien went into goal. He saved a penalty in extra time and then a shot on goal in the session. We passed and we won the final against the reserve of AC Ajaccio ” , says Santini. As if touched by grace, Maggiotti succeeded in everything he undertook. Illogically, the rest happens at the number ten position. Again, he performs, despite a small snag: not all National 3 playmakers weigh 103 kilos. An anomaly corrected after a click, which will open the doors of professional football to him. “During a five, I met Pascal Camadini (player from Bastia, Lorient and Strasbourg, editor’s note) who told me “You, if you want to play a little higher, you just have to lose a little weight and you will play.” When you know Pascal’s career, you know what he has done and he gives you advice, you have to listen to it. »
19 kilos lighter, ten goals and the cojones to leave everything
In the space of four to five months, the machine gets under way. Maggiotti loses 19 kilos: “I made a sacrifice. I thought, “It’s now or never.” I was 24 years old, and if I didn’t do it now, I would have become this person who in ten years could have said: “Me, I could have played in L2, in L1.” In Corsica, some take the excuse of not wanting to leave to explain that they have not played higher. I didn’t want to be like them. I took my courage in both hands. » If he has to change his wardrobe, he quickly reaps the fruits (and vegetables) of his efforts: he crashes ten times in fifteen games on the restart (before the health crisis stops the season) and hits the eye of Stéphane Rossi, coach of Cholet, whom he already knows. “He called me and told me : “Get ready, jump on the plane, you fly with me to Cholet.” I didn’t need to think, in two minutes I said yes. » At 24, Julien Maggiotti finally left his island “without knowing if I was ready” and his club which he had always refused to leave. No matter, he is already a Gallia Lucciana legend. “He is part of the story” , valid Santini. It was by following in the footsteps of his father, first a player then an educator, that the neo-professional forged his legend there, from the age of five. “Julien is passionate, as a coach, he conveyed a certain positive image. His involvement with the club, beyond the sportsman, was exceptional. He had a youth team in his charge, but in reality he took care of everyone. Now it’s the idol of the club, almost of the city itself, you may not realize. If you go to all the cafes in the area, Julien Maggiotti is Julien Maggiotti” proclaims the leader.
“If you go to all the cafes in the region, Julien Maggiotti is Julien Magiotti. » Jean-Laurent Santini
Ligue 2 before Belgium
The adaptation to Cholet is going well under the control of Stéphane Rossi who protects him, the Corsican grows bolder and arrives in Laval at the start of last season. A success for the expatriate who was voted best player of the season by Laval supporters. The Tango seems to have kept the same ingredients that made its sporting and human success in Corsica. “When I went to see him in Laval, a lot of people asked him for photos, autographs. He makes Laval residents experience what he made us experience.” , emphasizes Jean-Laurent Santini. A Maggiotti Mania who risks touching Belgium, which he will discover under the colors of Charleroi in 2023. The Jupiler Pro League club recruited him this summer before loaning him out for a season in Mayenne. But it is for the moment in Ligue 2 that he will harden up, orange tunic on his shoulders, with a first stage planned in Bastia. Where the attacking midfielder does not rule out returning with the navy blue tunic: “When you are Sporting’s No. 1 supporter, yes, you think about it. It’s a flagship club on the island and we all dream of playing there one day. » But on Saturday, be sure he will know which side he is on. This is not the case for some Bastia supporters, living 20 kilometers away, in the village of Lucciana. They could perhaps trade three points from their favorite Sporting for a goal from their idol.
By Alexandre Le Bris
All comments collected by ALB