22 January 2019 - 10h33
The 23-year-old left-back, who arrived in the Principality in the summer of 2017, died of a long illness on Sunday.
At such a young age, Raphaël Guillaume’s only concern should have been to enjoy life. His pleasure was to put on his kit, join his teammates on the field and score goals. He was a handball player, as was his father and as his brother, Andrea, still is for Istres, in the first division. But the nets will no longer tremble under his many cannon shots. Raphael Guillaume passed away on Sunday. He lost his most important game. He had just turned 23.
Raphaël passed through Saran in the first division in 2016/2017. His performances with the Mainvilliers-Chartres Handball (N2) were not missed by the Loiret club for who he then signed. But the insignificant playing time he was given there did not allow him to express himself. So, in the summer of 2017, he made the radical decision to leave the handball elite and go down a level by signing for AS Monaco in the National 2 (fourth division). Xavier Mangematin, then coach of the team, found the right words to convince him to join the AS Monaco project. Raphaël Guillaume, who was at “rock bottom” after his experience in the Loiret region and was considering resuming his studies, a HND in accounting and management, did not hesitate. Fifteen months ago, in an article published by La Gazette (La Gazette 516), he even told us of his desire to rediscover “the passion and pleasure of playing” in the Principality, despite the pain of “leaving (his) family”. His mother had come to see his first game. The passion was coming back and the good performances followed. “I had a bad experience at the top level but I must not let that stop me, why not play for Monaco,” he declared in our pages in October 2017. But the beautiful story took a completely different turn, first with a point of suspension, then a final point.
The terrible news came last March. A very serious brain disease. The fight against relegation with AS Monaco would have to be put on hold, getting better was now the battle that Raphaël Guillaume had to fight. He used his desire and rage to win against the disease that was eating away at him, a fight for life that lasted ten months. Since Sunday evening, AS Monaco Handball has been mourning a talented player but above all a “particularly endearing boy” appreciated by all. Raphaël Guillaume, at just 23 years old, had his whole life ahead of him to return to the top level.
Everyone at La Gazette de Monaco sends their sincere condolences to his family and loved ones
En Principauté pour “retrouver le plaisir”
Il y a quinze mois, à l’occasion d’un portrait (La Gazette 516), il nous confiait même son désir de retrouver « la passion et le plaisir de jouer » en Principauté, malgré la peine de « quitter (sa) famille ». Sa maman avait fait le déplacement pour assister à son premier match. Les sensations revenaient, les bonnes performances s’enchaînaient. « J’ai vécu une mauvaise expérience au haut-niveau mais je ne dois pas m’arrêter sur ça. Pourquoi pas avec Monaco ? », avançait-il dans nos pages, en octobre 2017. Mais la belle histoire prenait un tout autre virage, connaissant d’abord un point de suspension, puis un point final.
La terrible nouvelle tombait en mars dernier. Une maladie au cerveau le stoppait net. La lutte contre la relégation avec l’AS Monaco ? Raphaël Guillaume avait dorénavant un autre combat à mener : guérir. Il transposait alors son envie et sa rage de vaincre contre la maladie qui le rongeait. Un combat pour la vie qui aura duré dix mois. Depuis dimanche, l’AS Monaco Handball pleure un joueur talentueux mais avant tout un « garçon particulièrement attachant » et apprécié de tous. Qui, à tout juste 23 ans, avait toute la vie devant lui pour retrouver le haut-niveau.
Toute l’équipe de La Gazette de Monaco adresse à sa famille et à ses proches ses sincères condoléances.
Photo © Laura Arcoleo
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