In their third qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup, the Blues will meet Miralem Pjanic’s Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday March 31 (8.45 p.m.). Revealed in Ligue 1 in Metz then in Lyon before going abroad in 2011, the current FC Barcelona midfielder had such a promising outbreak that he had even been approached by the France team. A look back at the emergence of a metronome as it does not happen much anymore.
He could have been aligned by Didier Deschamps, but it is obviously Bosnia-Herzegovina that he will guide on Wednesday March 31, determined to knock the world champion off his pedestal. Miralem Pjanic reminded us moreover at the microphone of Canal + last November : “I could have played for the France team when I arrived in Lyon (in 2008). Domenech called me, but I had already made up my mindAt the time, aged 18, the midfielder politely rejected the advances from France, but also from Luxembourg, where he grew up until he was 14.
“My dream was Bosnia. I know what my country has been through, and seeing such fanatic supporters is something for me. It would have hurt my heart if, on the other side, Bosnia was watching one of its own playing for the France team“, justified the man who was born in Zvornik in the former Yugoslavia, a city sadly known for the massacres which left nearly 4000 dead between 1992 and 1995. Massacres that his family had managed to flee just before the explosion of the war to rally Germany, then Luxembourg.
After having made his ranges with FC Schifflange and impressed in the youth categories of the Luxembourg selection, he crossed the border in 2004 to complete his training at FC Metz. This is where this small, silky-touch midfielder makes his professional debut. Despite the inexperience of his 17 years, Grenats coach Francis de Taddeo does not hesitate to throw him into the deep end of the French first division against Paris Saint-Germain on August 18, 2007 (0-0) .
Everything is going very quickly for the young midfielder who directly shows his ease in the passing game as well as an above-average vision of the game and technical qualities. He signed his first professional contract just three months after his first appearance in Ligue 1. During the 2007-2008 season, Pjanic sparkled with a team that finished last and therefore relegated to the second division (5 goals and 38 matches for him).
“In Metz, we had Robert Pirès, an incredible player, who could eliminate everyone on his left side. We had Saha, a puncher, a feline entering the arena. There was also Adebayor, as strong in the air as in the feet. But Pjanic is something else, moments of pure talent, of evidence, of an overwhelming beauty “, remembered De Taddeo when he spoke of the man he still affectionately calls “Miré” in SoFoot columns.
It is an uninhibited and daring performance against Lyon in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France (1-0 defeat of Metz), of which only a video compilation as old-fashioned as pixelated (see above) remains, which allowed him to assert itself as a very great talent in the making. Juggles, blinds, strikes from afar and other delicacies have caught the eye of the opponent that day. At the end of his very first season in the elite, Miralem Pjanic therefore sets his bags in Lyon, just seven times champion of France.
Acclimatization is not easy with the Gones. During his first season in the Rhône, he was away from the field for several weeks because of a fractured fibula and ended the season without having scored a single goal. OL are not champions for the first time since 2001, without knowing that they will no longer be so until today. But the 2009-2010 financial year allows Pjanic to settle among the executives, in the middle of Michel Bastos and Lisandro Lopez, after having had time to learn from Juninho. Later, in 2015, the Brazilian will crown him as the “best free kick taker” of his time.