“Puzzle theory” and “connection between players”, Luis Campos reveals how he builds his team during a masterclass at the Sorbonne

Luis Campos was a guest at the Sorbonne’s economics school on Friday to give a conference on the theme of the transfer window. The opportunity for PSG’s current sports advisor to present his ‘puzzle theory’ to explain how he builds his teams.

The insane capital gains made on the sales of Kylian Mbappé, Bernardo Silva and Victor Osimhen are projected onto the enormous whiteboard of the Descartes amphitheater for introduction. “I have to point out that I didn’t earn all this money for myself,” Luis Campos smiled in front of an audience of students, who all came to hear one of the most influential sports leaders in the world explain his way of working. .

PSG’s current sports advisor was a guest this Friday at the economics school of the Sorbonne (Paris) to give a conference on the transfer window and take part in a question and answer session. The opportunity for the Portuguese, who also passed Monaco and Lille, where each time he built a French champion team, to explain “the Campos method” for an hour.

Powerpoint supported, the Parisian leader presented, who did not hesitate to draw diagrams in chalk on the blackboard to illustrate his comments, in particular his ‘puzzle theory’ to explain the way he constructs his teams. “Football is a team sport, for me a team is a puzzle of 22-24 players,” the Portuguese introduced for the first time. Before you project an image representing a puzzle of the Eiffel Tower.

“This puzzle is very beautiful. But if we remove two pieces and replace them with pieces from another very beautiful puzzle… the Eiffel Tower is terrible, pictured Luis Campos. However, we got some really nice pieces from another place. Sometimes we say about a player: ‘He’s extraordinary, I love him’. But you have to see if he fits well in the team, otherwise he will destroy your work.”

“What I am strong at is finding players who can combine well with each other”

Without ever delving too far into the economic considerations that punctuate the daily lives of the students sitting before him, Campos continued his demonstration by emphasizing the need for additional staff.

“The most important thing is the connection between each player, like in neurology. You can have eleven extraordinary players, but if they don’t connect with each other, it can’t work. What I’m strong in is finding players who can can be combined well with each other. When Monaco became champions in 2017 (he took part in building the team between 2013 and 2016, editor’s note), the strength of the club was the connection between all these players. The year after the title, Monaco sold Bernardo Silva for a lot of money and bet big money on another player to replace him (he does not mention the player, editor’s note). They bought the player with the best stats in the world. But they forgot that he played close to the line all the time… where Djibril Sidibé used to go.”

“Hakimi and Mbappé? If they can be friends, that’s great, but the most important thing is that they win on the pitch,” Campos added about the complicity between certain players outside of football. A team where the players barely said hello to each other. , but they were so professional that they gave everything to win, they worked together with the aim of winning. You don’t have to be best friends, you have to be knowledgeable about the game.”

Players “A1”, “A2” and “B2”

While mentioning the need to defend “the culture of the club, the city and everything that has been set up in recent years” when making choices in the transfer market, Campos then elaborated on another theory dear to him: the distinction between players “A1”, “A2” and “B2”.

“For me, a team must have four A1 players, a fundamental player who can win games or points on his own. An A1 in the goalkeeper position, an A1 in defense, an A1 in midfield and an A1 in attack. He is the backbone of the team. Not two, not three… just one A1 for each line. Then there are the B1’s, the young players who can one day become A1. They are free electrons, young people with extraordinary talent who have been sold for a lot of money. Bernardo Silva, Nicolas Pépé in Lille… They have all transformed into extraordinary players. After all, the A2s are team players. They are not the best in the world, but they are very important.”

PSG’s “new direction”.

Confronted with him, the students seemed convinced. But they did not hesitate to ask him a few questions about PSG, especially to find out if he regretted certain recruitments. “Football is a collective game. As soon as we play less as a team and a player is more important than the club or the team, it becomes more complicated,” he replied without going into details – even if the arrival of Lionel Messi and Neymar are among some in the thoughts.

“At PSG we have the example of one or two players who change a lot this year and who are better adapted. We think much more collectively. This means that everyone can shine. It is a new direction that we have taken. the club and I I think this will result in fewer failures for certain players.” And Campos concludes by returning to his famous theory of the puzzle: “The puzzle is taking shape… but only the field will validate the work done or not.” This will not go unnoticed by observers and all PSG supporters at the end of the season.

Felix Gabory Journalist RMC Sport

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