Top facts about Willy Sagnol, former legendary defender

Sun 30 January 2022 | 17:30

Willy Sagnol, the manager of the Georgia national team, spent much of his professional career playing for Bayern Munich in Germany's Bundesliga. Read on to learn more facts about Willy Sagnol.

David Frédéric Sagnol (born 18 March 1977) is a French professional soccer coach and former player who featured as a defensive midfielder and center-back throughout his career.

A former player, he is now the coach of the Georgia national team.

Willy Sagnol’s age

is 44. Here you can find out the most important facts about Willy Sagnol, ex-France defender and the head coach of Georgia.

The first fact about Willy Sagnol is that he spent the most of his professional career with

Bayern Munich

, who competed in Germany's Bundesliga. He has also represented France in the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1997, the FIFA World Cup in 2002, UEFA Euro 2004, the FIFA World Cup in 2006, and the UEFA Euro 2008 tournaments.

After five appearances at the U-20 World Cup in Malaysia, Sagnol made his senior international debut in Istanbul on November 15, 2000, winning the game 4-0. In the early years, Sagnol was only used as a substitute, as he had a strong, internationally experienced competitor, Lilian Thuram.

With the Équipe Tricolore he won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2001 (three games) and 2003 (two appearances, after a red card in the preliminary round again in the final).

An important fact about Willy Sagnol is that he took part in the 2004 European Championship and 2008 European Championship and the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where he played all games as a regular.

He completed his last international match on June 13, 2008 in Bern in the second group match of the European Championship in the 1:4 defeat against the



For the last group game against Italy, he was not considered by Coach Raymond Domenech. France ultimately dropped out of the tournament as the bottom of their group.

Top facts about Willy Sagnol:

Sagnol began his career in the world of football at the old club where his father played in Haute-Loire, Montfaucon-en-Velay, where he developed his game as a right defender, as well as on the right wing in midfield.

From there he progressed, eventually joining the region's flagship team, AS Saint-Étienne. An impressive performance over a period of two years earned him a transfer to

AS Monaco

in 1997, where he experienced his first major professional success, winning Ligue 1 in 2000.

Willy Sagnol early life

Willy Sagnol, who was born in Saint-Étienne, gets his first name from Willy van de Kerkhof, a Dutch player who was a double World Cup finalist in the 1970s.

Speaking about

Willy Sagnol’s parents

, it should be mentioned that his father, Jacky Sagnol, a sales representative for heating equipment in the city and a fair host in the countryside, introduced his son to football at the club in their small town of Montfaucon-en-Velay (1,207 inhabitants listed in 1999).

The father noticed in Le Progrès one day that AS Saint-Étienne is holding a recruitment session and convinced his son to attend.

At the time, Willy spent his Wednesday afternoons with his friends and participating in school sports. "And that was enough for me," he says. “Unlike others, I did not aspire to be a professional player as a child. My calling was to be a police commissioner," he stated in 2006.


Willy Sagnol’s childhood

, it is worth mentioning that he began working at the ASSE training center in 1990. Elie Baup, who was in charge of the Saint-Etienne structure at the time, was known for his haughty authority and proclivity.

Willy Sagnol personal life

A notable

fact about Willy Sagnol

is that he is married and has four children. He is the cousin of French TV presenter Alessandra Sublet, whose father Joël Sublet was a football player for Olympique Marseille in the 1970s.

Willy Sagnol sparked debate on November 4, 2014, when he said, "The advantage of the player, I would say typical African: he is not expensive, generally ready for combat, and he can be described as powerful on the field. Football, however, is about more than just that; it is also about technique, intelligence, and discipline.”

The LICRA, SOS Racisme, and the LDH all condemned these remarks. He eventually apologized. On November 7, however, forty celebrities signed a letter condemning his remarks, and SOS Racisme filed a complaint.

Willy Sagnol professional career

The summer of 2000 saw Sagnol's career take on a completely different dimension. Transferred to the prestigious German club, Bayern Munich, he did not take long to break into the first team. At Bayern, Sagnol consolidated his reputation as one of the best full backs of his generation.

He was also part of the French squad at the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship, 2002 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2004, 2006 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2008.

On 9 June 2017, Sagnol re-joined Bayern Munich as an assistant coach under Carlo Ancelotti. Ancelotti was dismissed by the club on 28 September 2017 and Sagnol was announced as interim manager.

After managing Bayern for eight days and one match (a 2–2 draw against Hertha BSC), Sagnol left the club when permanent manager Jupp Heynckes and his assistants Peter Hermann and Hermann Gerland were announced.

In 2021, the former France and Bayern Munich defender, Willy Sagnol, was announced to be the manager of Georgia's national football team.

Willy Sagnol club career

A notable fact about Willy Sagnol is that he began his professional football career with Montfaucon-en-Velay, his father's previous club in the Haute-Loire region, where he honed his defensive skills at right back while also displaying outstanding ability on the right side of midfield.


His career grew from there, and he finally ended up at Saint-Étienne, the region's premier team.


After an outstanding two-year stint at


, he was signed by Monaco in 1997, where he had his first taste of success by winning the Division 1 title the following year.

An important fact about Willy Sagnol is that he was also a member of Jean Tigana's excellent Monaco squad that eliminated Manchester United from the UEFA Champions League in 1998 on away goals after a 1–1 draw at Old Trafford.

Sagnol has also played for the French national team. In spite of his good form, he was ignored by national coach Roger Lemerre when he first applied for a call-up to the Les Bleus squad.

Bayern Munich

Sagnol's professional life took on an entirely new dimension during the summer of 2000. After being signed by the famed German club Bayern Munich, he didn't have to wait long to make his way into the starting lineup.

A notable

fact about Willy Sagnol

is that he established himself as one of the most talented full backs of his generation during his time at Bayern Munich. With his exceptional crossing ability, Sagnol distinguished himself as one of Bayern's most important players in the team's offensive play.

He was a sturdy defender who was also as comfortable functioning in attacking positions (typically as a right wing back).

While playing for the Bayern Munich, he was a four-time Bundesliga champion (2001-2003, 2005-2006, and 2008), as well as the UEFA Champions League (2001) and the DFB-Pokal (2003-2005, 2006, and 2008) champion.

Sagnol made 277 appearances for the club in all competitions during his nine-year stint. From his right-back position, Sagnol was especially effective in the final third, racking up 50 assists. Although his tenure as first-team coach under Carlo Ancelotti was brief, Sagnol made an indelible impression on the club as a player.

Sagnol announced his retirement from football on February 1, 2009, citing ongoing issues with his Achilles tendon.

Willy Sagnol international career

At the international level, he had less success, and he was often relegated to the bench, where he played second fiddle to Lilian Thuram on the right flank of the French defense.

It wasn't until the retirement of

Marcel Desailly

and the subsequent promotion of Thuram to the center of the French defense in 2004 that Sagnol was elevated to first-choice status, where he stayed for the following four years.

Sagnol was a member of France's team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, where he started each of his country's seven games on the way to the championship game.

His respectable efforts, which were boosted by France's passage to the final, earned him the distinction of being named one of the tournament's most impressive defensive players. When it came to the most important stage of them all, he kept his greatest performance for the World Cup final.

An important fact about Willy Sagnol is that he was one of the top players in a game that will be remembered more for off-the-ball occurrences than for on-the-field performances.

If Gianluigi Buffon had not saved Sagnol's goal from being immortalized, the Frenchman's name would well have been synonymous with the game's most famous player.

Nonetheless, his performance was notable for a solid defensive contribution as well as significant involvement in several attacking moves, such as when he provided a cross for his captain

Zinedine Zidane

, whose header was once again superbly saved by Buffon, who also made a strong defensive contribution.

At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Sagnol was also on the receiving end of the last penalty shot for France. Fans got to see a totally different side of Sagnol during the qualifying campaign for Euro 2008.

With excellent attempts on goal and still producing his signature crosses for teammates like Thierry Henry against Scotland at Hampden Park on 7 October 2006, Sagnol was one of the better players on the field.

The French right defender Sagnol was one of the team's better players in their upset defeat to Scotland, with an amazing three shots on goal from his right back position, with one in particular forcing a spectacular save from Scottish goalkeeper Craig Gordon.

His 50th appearance for his nation came the following week in a match against the Faroe Islands in Paris. Sagnol's performances in that qualifying campaign once again shown that he could be relied on to offer steady defensive play while also adding added quality when entering the attack.

Willy Sagnol coaching career

A notable

fact about Willy Sagnol

is that he was the head coach of the French U–21 team from 2011 until his appointment as the head coach of Girondins de Bordeaux on May 23, 2014.

He signed a two-year contract with the company, which terminated on June 30, 2016. The Girondins de Bordeaux had previously hoped to appoint Zinedine Zidane as their coach. This was Sagnol's first coaching position at the professional level.

The next season, Sagnol finished sixth in Ligue 1, reached the 10th round of the Coupe de France, and reached the round of 16 in the Coupe de la Ligue in his first campaign.

There were three wins this season: a 4–1 victory over Monaco, a 3–2 victory over Paris Saint-Germain, and a 5–0 defeat to Olympique Lyonnais.

Bordeaux overcame AEK Larnaca and Kairat Almaty to qualify for the UEFA Europa League group stage at the beginning of the 2015–16 season.

Following a victory, four draws, and a defeat to begin the season, Bordeaux has gone on to win the league. Bordeaux suffered a 6–1 defeat to


on matchday seven, on September 23, 2015.

Sagnol was fired from his position on March 14, 2016, after a 4–0 defeat in the Derby de la Garonne. Sagnol returned to Bayern Munich on June 9th, 2017, this time as an assistant coach under

Carlo Ancelotti


Ancelotti was fired by the club on September 28, 2017, and Sagnol was named as the club's temporary manager the following day.

Sagnol departed Bayern after managing the club for eight days and one match (a 2–2 draw against Hertha BSC), when the club announced the appointment of permanent manager Jupp Heynckes and his assistants Peter Hermann and Hermann Gerland as the club's new management team.

Willy Sagnol quotes

About what led to his appointment as Georgia's coach, he has remarked: “Rather than a club, I wanted to manage a national squad. The Georgian Federation is led by former players with whom I had a lot of contact in Germany. They instilled in me an instant feeling of trust, and I eagerly accepted the position with excitement and desire.”

“My experience with the French Football Federation was fantastic. International football works in a manner that I like, and it's something I'd want to do again. I'm in a nation that wants to grow and where I can contribute to that growth.

“It's a medium-term endeavor for me, even though there's no such thing as long-term these days. The present precariousness of club coaching roles complicates the situation even more. Projects that are both attractive and practicable may not always come at the proper moment.”

“I felt a great deal of anger and anguish at how their play-off final qualifying for the Euros had slipped through their fingers. This, however, shows that the qualification was feasible and that the possibility exists.”

“There are an increasing number of young people entering the workforce, and working with them is always exciting because you can see how far they've come.

I'm interested in this project since it comes up at the appropriate moment and presents a genuine challenge. We're fully aware that we won't win the World Cup, but there's a desire to keep improving at both the federation and squad levels.”

He has said no particular aim has been assigned to him for World Cup qualifiers as Georgia coach: “since we know we're in a tough group with teams like Spain and Sweden, who have a lot more experience than us, we didn't set a specific aim.”

“Our objective, I believe, is to make it harder for others to qualify. We have enough talent to... we have young players that are motivated, so we don't need to put any restrictions for ourselves. Regardless of who we play, we want to have our own playing style and personality.”

“The national team's purpose is to adapt to contemporary football, which is characterized by transitional play and rapid forward movements. Players must also have self-confidence and trust in their own exceptional skills, as well as be willing to take chances in games.”

“Without taking chances, a squad like Georgia has no chance. You can't merely defend and expect for your opponent to commit a foul. Being ambitious in the game forces you to make errors.

Since my arrival, I've had the impression that everyone wants to go in a different direction. It will, of course, need compelling outcomes, since these are what give you confidence.”

“Georgians are proud of their country, and there are players who are beginning to emerge on the European stage and who must be the driving force behind this.”

“A decent outcome based only on performance would be third place. Aiming higher would be a great result, but it's still too early to say, particularly in the present context, with more difficult and arduous travel and a lack of followers.”

“I admire the pros who are presently playing all of their games in empty stadiums. It's not easy, and it demands a great deal of self-sacrifice and mental fortitude. However, we must be able to succeed even under these challenging situations.”

Willi Sagnol has said that

Roger Milla

is his all-time World Cup hero, “Roger Milla was my hero. At 40 years old, I can still picture him celebrating after scoring a goal for Cameroon! This is, in my opinion, one of the most significant moments in World Cup history. He was a living legend and a household name in France.”

About his personal favorite World Cup match, he has said, “Because it's one of the first matches I recall, France-Brazil in 1986. I was nine years old at the time.”

“We couldn't see it since we were in Mexico, but I was able to watch it with my father. The delight of Luis Fernandez, Zico's failed penalty in regular time, Socrates' missed spot kick in the shootout... These are stunning photographs.”

Willy Sagnol thinks that the greatest player of time is Pele, “There can be only one, and that is Pele, the King. Living in a society when pictures and media are so crucial, it's easy to have the notion that there are many stars now, but they're nothing like Pele of that period. He had the ability to transcend everyone, including his teammates, opponents, and spectators. He was incredible.”

He has said that he had been so lucky during his national playing career: “I was really lucky to have been able to compete in two World Cups and two European Championships. There were no titles at the end of them, but it was fantastic in comparison to my childhood dreams.”

“I felt honored to wear the jersey and represent my nation. From the first day to the final day of a World Cup, you feel as if you're soaring. It's fantastic.

However, in 2006, we slammed into the ground with a thud. I was disappointed that I was unable to get a World Cup winner's star for my nation, but what has remained with me the most is the incredible human journey I had with beautiful teammates.”

About Zinedine Zidane, he has said, “I recall playing with one of the finest players in the world, who was not only a terrific player but also a fantastic guy, 15 years ago. Perhaps his last blood rush to the skull made him human again – and human people make errors all the time.”

“Unfortunately, he arrived at an inopportune moment. We couldn't pretend that we would have won if it hadn't occurred, even though there was a lot of rage after the game. Football is a team sport, and we must constantly emphasize to young people that they are accountable for their own performance as well as the team's performance.”

“Without a doubt, and by a wide margin, he is the most talented player I’ve ever seen. We may discuss guys like

Cristiano Ronaldo


Lionel Messi

, who are exceptional goal scorers and set out to score a lot of goals.”

“Zidane's major goal was to improve the team's performance. That is why he is my first choice. He could have done a lot more on his own and been much more individualistic in his play since he has the necessary skills, but he had the desire to help the team succeed and improve his teammates. He deserves a monument just for that.”

Some quick facts about Willy Sagnol:

With his excellent performance he began to be noticed to be called to represent Les Bleus, although initially he was not taken into account by the national technical director Roger Lemerre.

In the summer of 2000, Sagnol's career took on a completely different dimension. Transferred to the prestigious club FC Bayern Munich, did not take him finally to the national team, too.

At Bayern, Sagnol cemented his reputation as one of the best defenders of his generation. A solid defender but equally comfortable operating in attacking positions (often on the wings), his great ability marked him out as a key player in Bayern's offense.

With the Bavarian club, he won the Bundesliga in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2006, as well as the UEFA Champions League in 2001 and the German Cup in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008.

At international level he has been less successful, often being on the bench and playing as a substitute for Lilian Thuram in the right sector of defense for the French national team. It was not until the retirement of Marcel Desailly and the subsequent move of Thuram to the center of the French defense that Sagnol finally became the starting right back in 2004.

A notable fact about Willy Sagnol is that he was part of the French squad at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, starting as a starter in each of the seven games played by his country.

His competent performances, coupled with France's progress to the final, led to him being named one of the tournament's most outstanding defenders.

He had his best performance in the biggest match of all, the World Cup final, being one of the best players in that match.

In fact, Sagnol's name might have been immortalized were it not for goalkeeper

Gianluigi Buffon

's successful intervention in a goal opportunity that the French had.

However, his performance was notable due to his solid defensive contribution as well as his significant involvement in various attacking plays, such as on one occasion when he sent in a cross for his captain Zinédine Zidane, whose header was successfully saved by Buffon.

Unfortunately for him, on April 3, 2007, during the draw in the quarter-final match against

AC Milan

in the UEFA Champions League, he severely injured his right knee. The meniscus and ligament damage had kept him off the court ever since. Initially, it was thought that the injury would last about 4 months, but it was extended.

A completely new face for Sagnol was seen in qualifying for Euro 2008. On several occasions he has had good scoring opportunities as well as his usual supply of passes and crosses for teammates such as Thierry Henry.

Against Scotland at Hampden Park on 7 October 2006, Sagnol was one of his team's best players in France's surprise loss to the Scots, having three chances on goal, one of them in particular forcing a splendid save from the goalkeeper.

The next match, against the Faroe Islands in Paris, it was the 50th for him playing in the National Team of his country. His performance in that qualifying phase proved again that Sagnol can be counted on for his consistent defensive play and also to provide extra quality when he joins the attack.

On February 1, 2009, Sagnol announced his retirement from active football due to constant pain in his Achilles tendon. This was not only a blow to Bayern Munich, but also to the French national team, where Sagnol had become the regular in the right-back position for Raymond Domenech's team.

In 2011, he began to work as a scout for Bayern Munich, although at the end of the same year, he began to train the young promises of France. He was the under-21 coach between 2013 and 2014.

On May 23, 2014, he was confirmed as the new manager of Girondins de Bordeaux. He had a promising start in Ligue 1 at the head of Bordeaux, winning his first three games in a row and becoming the leader; although he later lost steam and finished the first round in 6th place, without being able to improve that position in the rest of the championship.

His second season at Bordeaux started off on the wrong foot, as Girondins were in the lower-middle zone of the Ligue 1 table in the first part of the season and failed to get past the Europa League group stage.

The team concluded the first round as 14th and was unable to improve their numbers in the second round, so Sagnol came under fire for these disappointing results. Finally, Sagnol was fired on March 14, 2016, two days after conceding 4-0 at the hands of Guingamp, leaving the Bordeaux team in 14th place after 30 games in Ligue 1.

On June 9, 2017, he joined Bayern Munich as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti. On September 28, 2017, he took charge of the Bavarian first team on a temporary basis, following the dismissal of the Italian.

An important fact about Willy Sagnol is that he was only on the bench in one game, achieving a draw (2-2) against

Hertha Berlin

, before being relieved by Jupp Heynckes. He disassociated himself from the entity shortly after. On February 15, 2021, he was named the manager of Georgia.

His national team debut came on September 5, 2001 in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, where the France national football team won 0–2 against Liechtenstein.

Sagnol was also part of the French national team in the 1997 Under-20 Soccer World Cup, the 2002 Soccer World Cup, Euro 2004 and the 2006 Soccer World Cup, being runner-up in the latter tournament.

Willy Sagnol social media


Willy Sagnol social media

, it should be mentioned that he has an Instagram page (


) with more than 5k followers. In the page we can see various pictures of him with the fans and his friends.

Willy Sagnol body measurements

Speaking about

Willy Sagnol body measurements

, it should be mentioned that the coach is 180 cm and 78 kg.

Willy Sagnol net worth and salary

Willy Sagnol's net worth

is estimated to be around $5 million, according to some online sources (Wikipedia, Google Search, Yahoo Search). His primary sources of income include football manager and football player. We don't have enough information about Willy Sagnol's automobiles or lifestyle.

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