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Not noted for his subtlety with words, the larger-than-life figure has offended virtually everyone in French football at some stage. Goal.com picks out his most memorable sayings

FEATURE
By Robin Bairner | French Football Editor

There can be little doubt that Montpellier president Louis Nicollin is one of the most colourful characters of the European game, but the forthright entrepreneur is also a highly-controversial figure, known for his use of choice language and downright-insulting comments.

Always a man to grab plenty of column inches, the larger-than-life president has overseen the club since 1973, but they are presently in their most successful period, lying only a point behind Paris Saint-Germain at the summit of the Ligue 1 table.

On Sunday night, Montpellier travel to the Parc des Princes for a pivotal clash and, in the lead up to the game, Nicollin couldn't help but poke fun at some of PSG's signings, declaring himself to be unimpressed by the players that they've acquired.

Goal.com lists his best quotes, including the one from earlier in the week that got people talking of the 68-year-old once again.

10. "MAXWELL, ISN'T THAT A COFFEE?"

Aiming a blow to PSG ahead of the weekend's clash, Nicollin has mocked the calibre of signings that the capital club have made. Linked with Carlos Tevez, Alexandre Pato and many other top stars, they instead aquired the likes of Alex and Maxwell, and the director was quick to poke fun at Sunday's opponents. The left-back now has a point to prove.

9. "JEAN-CLAUDE DASSIER, HE IS ADORABLE, BUT HE DOESN’T KNOW WHERE A BULL P***** FROM."

At times Nicollin can be easily irritated, and former Olympique de Marseille president Dassier managed to provoke this gem of a quote following a disagreement between the two. Frustrated by a relative newcomer to the Ligue 1 presidential club, the Montpellier president launched this comment towards his erstwhile colleague at Stade Velodrome.

8. "I'D RATHER MY SONS GOT INVOLVED IN SPORT THAN CLASSICAL MUSIC. THAT BORES ME SENSELESS. I’VE GOT NOTHING AGAINST IT, BUT I’D RATHER WATCH CURLING THAN LISTEN TO MOZART."

Involved in Montpellier for nearly 40 years, Nicollin is clearly a man passionate about his club and his sport, and these words of fatherly advice have been taken on board by his sons. Laurent Nicollin now manages much of the day-to-day running of La Paillade, while Olivier is also following his father's footsteps by enjoying a close relationship with the club.

7. "I PREFER [ROLLAND] COURBIS TO [CARLO] ANCELOTTI ... GREAT COACHES ARE THE ONES THAT WIN TITLES WITH HALF-GOOD PLAYERS. WITH COURBIS, HE WON PROMOTION TO LIGUE 1 WITH A HALF-MONGOLOID TEAM."

Political correctness is certainly not high on the agenda of the Montpellier president, who suggested that PSG were wasting their money on the Italian coach earlier this year. Lauded the world over, Nicollin believes that Ancelotti has benefitted from strong financial backing in the past and that the true test of a coach's mettle comes with taking a less able group to success.

6. "I COULDN’T CARE LESS, SO LONG AS HE GETS ME INTO THE TOP DIVISION. IF HE’D BEEN SELLING DRUGS OR RAPING YOUNG GIRLS, I WOULDN’T ACCEPT THAT. BUT I DON’T WORRY ABOUT SUCH SILLY THINGS."

Nicollin proves that he is a man of morals ... well, sort of. Questions were raised about coach Rolland Courbis at the end of the 2006-07 season, when Montpellier were nearly relegated from Ligue 2. There were suspicions that a key end-of-season match against Ajaccio was fixed by Courbis, but it was his transfer dealings while with Marseille that ultimately drew a stint in jail.

5. "WELL DONE BASTIA. THEY HAVE BIGGER BALLS THAN US. WE HAVE SHRIVELLED OLIVES."

After a disappointing defeat against the Corsican side, Nicollin questioned the manliness of his team, suggesting that they didn't possess the same commitment and bravery as their rivals. This is a recurring theme in his tirades, though the "shrivelled olives" comment makes this rant one particularly worth remembering.

4. "MONTPELLIER CHAMPIONS? IMPOSSIBLE. ALL I’M WORRIED ABOUT IS THAT WE MIGHT QUALIFY FOR THE EUROPA LEAGUE. THAT’D P*** ME OFF. WHAT A RUBBISH COMPETITION!"

It's the Champions League or nothing for Montpellier in Nicollin's view. Speaking frankly, the president effectively branded Europe's second-tier club competition as a joke, although if La Paillade were to meet Manchester City or United in the tournament, he would doubtless be a little more welcoming to the extra games.

3. "PEDRETTI RAN THAT GAME IN MIDFIELD. BUT THAT GUY, WHEN HE COMES TO MONTPELLIER, WE’LL LOOK AFTER HIM. HE’S A LITTLE F*****."
Unimpressed by the manner in which Benoit Pedretti - in Nicollin's view - dictated the refereeing decisions of a 2-1 loss against Auxerre, he drew widespread criticism for casually accusing the midfielder of homosexuality. An appology was quickly forthcoming, but it didn't hit the right note ...

2. "THEY LEAVE MORE BIRDS FOR THE REST OF US."
Nicollin may have said sorry, but his comments went down about as well as his initial statement. He said that he didn't have anything against homosexuals because "they leave more birds for the rest of us", but also managed a sexist statement, too, explaining why he made his initial remark: "We can speak freely, talk to each other. We’re guys, not chicks."

1. "MONTPELLIER CHAMPIONS OF FRANCE? IF I WAS MARSEILLE, PARIS, LYON, LILLE OR RENNES, I’D STAB MYSELF IN THE A*** WITH A SAUSAGE! WHAT AN EMBARRASSMENT IT WOULD BE FOR THEM."

There can be little doubt that, going purely by their budget, Montpellier are grossly overachieving this season, and Nicollin has not been slow to let France's 'big clubs' know how demeaning it would be to them if MHSC held their form until the end of the season. Saucisson at the ready, should La Paillade win on Sunday night, then!

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