Put a beard on the avunular and spherical Montpellier president Louis Nicollin and he may simply be mistaken for Santa Claus.
Sadly for the supporters of the highest Ligue 1 membership, Nicollin just isn’t a fan of miracles.
“I do not imagine in Santa Claus,” he says.
Nicollin refuses to dream that his staff may massively shake up the percentages and win their first French title after ending in 14th final season.
However on Sunday’s proof, Montpellier can actually pull off the unattainable after outperforming big-spending leaders Paris St Germain for lengthy stretches earlier than leaving the capital with a 2-2 draw that left them one level behind in second place.
The south coast has scored extra targets than anybody in Ligue 1 after 24 video games with 47 and opened an eight-point hole on third-champion Lille, who’ve a recreation in hand.
Provided that they’re bragging about new French striker Olivier Giroud and skillful Moroccan playmaker Younes Belhanda, Montpellier is there to pounce if the load of expectations at PSG sparks much more nerves amongst Carlo Ancelotti’s troops at 14 matches to play.
Nicollin, a 68-year-old entrepreneur and one of the vital colourful figures in French soccer, intentionally missed the Parc des Princes recreation as a result of he felt he had been a fortunate allure in latest away video games.
His refusal to contemplate the title could also be an try and keep away from dishonest on his staff, however his coach René Girard is a bit more assured.
“I would not say I used to be dissatisfied, I’d say pissed off as a result of I believe tonight if a staff deserved to win it was us,” he informed reporters after the 2- draw. Sunday 2.
“We have been impatiently awaiting this match to understand how we have been going to react to this PSG staff which introduced itself as chief of the championship.
“I’ve heard lots of people say we will crumble, and with the pleasure of disappointing them, we’re nonetheless right here.”
Lille stunned a number of France by sealing a league and cup brace final season, proving something is feasible, however a league triumph for Montpellier would really be the very best Christmas current for his or her long-suffering followers.
PHOTO: Paris St Germain’s Kevin Gameiro (R) challenges Montpellier’s Souleymane Camara to their Ligue 1 soccer match at Parc des Princes in Paris on February 19, 2012. REUTERS / Benoit Tessier