Interview in English




Buon giorno Paolo,


E un momento importante per noi supporters, semplicemente per le persone che amano lo sport. Veramente, se vogliamo vivere i futuri eventi con fervore, vibrare con passione guardando i match futuri del circolo di nuotatori de waterpolo per essere un vero supporter dei giocattori e del coach, è necessario di conoscere anche le persone che sono attori dello sport e della vita del circolo.

 « E adesso in inglese—«  :

This is why it is interesting to get to know you, to know more about your personality but also your story and your ambitions.



So, I’m using the « tu » form because we are from marseille,but also because you are Italian and that helps mediterraneans to get closer, to trust each other without lack of respect.


Your name is Paolo MALARA, born on 20th March 1960 in Genova, Italy, with your parents and one brother, you have no children. When you have discovered pools, it was not for swimming or playing waterpolo, but to train with the young section of divers not underwater diving but jump diving. Yes, picture yourself the impressive diving boards which often prove a bit scary when you stand ten metres high above the water or more.


You were ten years old when you decided to play waterpolo and start this sport unknowingly that was to become your passion. But before getting there, you had to go swimming from your first year each morning at 6 o’ clock to catch up your lack of training to improve your endurance in contrast with your mates who were much more experienced.


« Repetition makes you progress » thanks to your work and perseverance , you were able to play as a professional in the group A team of the italian championship as summed up below :




Championship series A


-       1979-1980------- Sportiva Sturla

-       1980-1981-------  Sportiva Nervi

-       From season 1981-82 to 1985-86------- Rari Nantes Bogliasco

-       1986-87 and 1987-1988---- Pescara

-       1988-1989----- A.S. Roma Nuoto

-       1989-1990------ Volturno Sporting Club

-       1990-1991 and 1991-1992---- Pescara




You did not play in the italian team because as you said you were not good enough, but your modesty prevents you from saying that you won italian and european titles as a player similar to the football League.


For information Paolo has been associated for some time with Habawaka and its famous international youngsters competition : «  I’m looking for their happiness by their getting to know waterpolo,
my passion. » But, Paolo is also a member of the international trainers association (15 members). «  We give our advice, we bring a service, we convey our know-how as professional trainers. »






Then after many long years spent as a waterpolo player, you have started your career as a trainer. You began  your career in Pescara as a trainer for three seasons from 1992 to 1995. As you’re saying : «  I have made my first mistakes, my first tactics setups to get quick results, as :


Titles and classifications gained as a trainer in PESCARA :

Season 1992-1993

-       Wins the final of Cup of Cups

-       Wins the final of the Super Cup

-       Fourth position in championship and eliminated by Savone Club in the play- off semi finals

Season 1993-1994

-       Wins the final of Cup of Cups

-       Finalist of the Super Cup (2nd position)

-       Fourth position in championship and eliminated by Volturno Sporting Club in the play- off semi finals

Season 1994-1995

-       Finalist of Cup of Cups (2nd position)

-       Third position in championship and eliminated by Posillipo in the play-off semi finals

Season 1995-1996

-       Collaboration with the National Junior Italian Team



Season 2008- 2009

-       MALTA’s  championship (2nd position)

Season 2010

-       Chiavari Nuoto



And then, you came to France on the French Riviera in the land of the « salade niçoise », in the opponent club of the CNM and your results proved to be up to your expectations, as shown below :






Season 1996-1997

-       Champion of the French Championship

Season 1997-1998

-       Champion of the French Championship

-       Champions Cup (sixth position)

Season 1998-1999

-       Champion of the French Championship

-       Champions Cup (eighth position)

Season 1999-2000

-       Champion of the French Championship

-       French Cup (1st position)

-       Champions Cup (eighth position)

Season 2000-2001

-       Champion of the French Championship

-       French Cup (1st position)

-       French Cup (first position)

-       Champions Cup (seventh position)

Season 2001-2002

-       Champion of the French Championship

-       Champions Cup (sixth position)

Season 2002-2003

-       Champion of the French Championship

-       Champions Cup (fifth position)

Season 2003-2004

-       League Cup

-       Champion of the French Championship

Season 2004-2005

-       Vice Champion of the French Championship






«  I am glad to play waterpolo and to have an international experience ; I have been able to visit many countries, to travel and meet sports personalities at the Olympic Games or elsewhere. »





-       Europe’s vice Champion « B »

-       Qualified for Europe’s Championship « A »

-       Europe’s Championship 2001   (12th position)

-       14th Mediterranean Games (3rd postion)

-       Europe’s champion « B »




Season 2005-2006

-       Qualified for Europe’s Championship « A »

-       Final Cup (5th postion)

-       World League 2006 (13th position)

-       Europe’s Championship (5th position)

Season 2006-2007

-       World Championship (5th position)

-       World League 2007 (10th position)

Season 2007-2008

-       Qualified for Olympic Games

-        World League 2008 (7th position)

-        Europe’s Championship (5th position)

-       Olympic Games (9th position)



Paolo even had experiences outside Europe, by being China’s and Iran’s  selector and as he points out in his interviews :  they are good memories, a great experience, the only drawback is that China has no good championship which does not help to go ahead as in Italy. »





Season 2011-2012

-       2nd Final Men’s Waterpolo development Trophy

-       World Championship under 20 years old (10th position)

Season 2012-2013

-       1st and 3rd Asian Waterpolo Cup




Season 2013-2014

-       World League 2014 (8th position)

-       Asian Games South Corea (3rd position)

-       4th Asian Junior Championship Indonesia (4th position)

Season 2014-2015

-       World League 2015 (8th position)

-       World Championship 2015 (15th position)







When we started to talk about Marseille and the Club, Paolo’s eyes began to shine. He could recall in this club his italian memories, his childhood and his passion. So I asked him how he perceived the future of the Club ?


First, I do nothing without consulting the sports management, I am not here to impose anything, only to get results and manage to bring back the club’s identity : « the sport’s spirit and the fun ». That is why I ask for instance from the professional players to have lunch together in order to get to know each other, to get a cohesion which will enable us to know each other in hard times.



But how have you been contacted ?


I met Frederic Audon in Belgrade during the European Championship. I have known him since I was the French Team trainer. I also know Marc Amardheil well and Yann Vernoux who were there too in the French Team during the time I was in the club, consequently we got on very well.


When I returned to my home in Genova, Fred sent me a SMS on 19th March to meet him quickly which I did on the following day in Marseille : « I remember it well because that is the day of my birthday. (smile) ». As Olivier (a former trainer) had left for good, Fréderic gave me two options to start my contract «  at once or in late august », as you know I chose the first option.


And your ambitions for the Club ?


Marseille is a big famous club in Europe. We need to project ourselves on a european scale, but our goal remains the French Championship and Nationale 2 but with a more european outlook.





Paolo, do you want to recruit foreign players ?


«  First of all, I think that it is a pity that Ugo Crousillat left because he could have been useful with his experience. »

We made a plan for the next five years. In want to recruit a Frenchman on an international level, plus 2 quality players, normally a  international goal keeper should come. On the other hand, I want to keep 3 posts for the club’s youngsters.


The youngters’ club training must be useful for us to recruit inside the Club ; why train excellent players if they leave for other clubs ? that is why we wish to keep investing on training and give the young the possibility to become professionals one day here whithout our recruiting outside. » however, in order to keep the Marseille spirit, I want to keep a hard core of the Marseille’s players.


How is organised the start of the sport’s season ?


From 22nd August, we start again the training. On the other hand, we stay in Marseille, we concentrate on the physical aspect. Preparing events takes time like the European and French Championship.

As far as organisation is concerned, the first team will train on the upper level in the Olympic swimming pool. The other groups will train in the lower swimming pool and one of the youngest group will not participate.



Paolo, do you want to add something else ?


For me, the most important thing is respect, respect for the players, for the managers. We need cohesion because building a team or winning is always hard to achieve. Still, to criticize is very easy. That is why the group spirit is essential to face all the trials.


I would like to say  a few words to the parents, the trainers and the young players :


Thanks a lot to the supporters, to the members for your welcome when I came here.

I would like that the players’ parents, the young who have not been selected with the professionals come to support us during the matches at home. It is important to be together as a team, as parents, as players. The spirit of the club depends on this : it only requires spending an hour after the aperitive and before dinner. (laughs).



 His results since his arrival in the Club :


Season 2015-2016

-       French Cup (2nd position)

-       Champion of the French Championship



Thank you very much Paolo for your passion, your frankness and for this moment so that our readers will understand better your story, your personality and your ambitions.


Long live sport, long live the Club, Long live waterpolo.


The supporters