Local coach Christophe Galtier lasted just a year on the bench for Paris Saint-Germain, whose Qatari management have promised to finally deliver the coveted Champions League trophy to the hall of fame. This does not happen. With a record of 50 34-6-10 and only one trophy – the French league championship – he exits the stage through the back door.
A two-year contract with Spanish expert Luis Enrique ended the search for his replacement in a chair that wobbled before he sat down. And expectations are high again, the nugget of the French club wants to enter the pantheon of great Europeans.
“All those who support the team are in tension and believe that it will finally happen”, reveals the feeling of the Czech international David Rozehnal, who worked in the city of the Seine in the years 2005-2007. “But I’m afraid it won’t go as planned anymore,” he says with deep concern. “There is a very particular environment in Paris Saint-Germian”, he reveals.
To bring the French club to the top of Europe – the national trophies do not count against each other due to the incomparable financial conditions – an already quite strong constellation of recognized experts tried in vain. Local giants Laurent Blanc, Antoine Kombouaré and the lesser known Christophe Galtier, German wax face Thomas Tuchel and charismatic Italian great Carlo Ancelotti, who otherwise reaps laurels wherever he goes, have disappointed.
The Spanish coach was already on the bench, the team was managed by Unai Emery for two seasons in 2016-2018, who rose to prominence at Valencia FC and Sevilla FC. He ended up like his predecessors and his successors: at home without competition (seven trophies won out of eight possible), in the European arena without the coveted throne.
Today, his compatriot takes over the team. “I don’t think there is anything harmful in the fact that the Spanish coach is coming,” Rozehnal said. “The mentality of both nations is quite similar and Luis Enrique will also try to make the team play nice and technical football,” says the Euro 2004 bronze medalist in Portugal, who has also gained experience in English, German, Italian and Belgian. high level competitions.
The famous Spanish journalist Juan Castro of the prestigious Catalan daily Marca supports his compatriot. “I am convinced that it is a good choice for the Parisian club”, he asserts. “Luis Enrique will stabilize the team, instill an attacking spirit, but also discipline,” he said. “He’s going to be successful,” predicted Castro.
The pressures will resist
As one of the few players – a technical midfielder – to go through Barcelona and Real Madrid, he played for the Spanish national team for 11 years. “He played under enormous pressure, nothing surprises him anymore”, Rozehnal positively accepts this fact. “I like coaches who have had a great playing career, I can pass on other things to my proteges that they don’t read in the methodical sheets,” says the 2002 European Under-21 champion from his own experience.
The Spanish publicist joins him in this observation. “It’s not easy to manage a locker room of individuals like Paris Saint-Germain,” he underlines. “Luis Enrique can do it because he has experienced it himself”, he underlines.
And he launches the main argument. “He has already won the Champions League as a coach,” he recalls the year 2014/2015, when the new coach of the French champion triumphed with Barcelona. Messi, Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Pique, Dani Alves were part of the squad that beat Italy’s Juventus Turin 3-1 in the final at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. And also the Brazilian “bad boy” Neymar. “He left them free, while leading them to the goal according to his ideas and his intentions”, explains Castro.
And it is precisely the fact that he has already coached Neymar, already famous for his sometimes difficult to admit escapades on and off the pitch, which gives hope that they will understand each other again. “Neymar is not going to make it difficult for him,” said the Spanish publicist.
Departures of big stars
As after every season, there is a big earthquake in the best French club. And not only as a coach, in this century alone, there have already been 13 on the bench, but also in the staff. The Qatari owner has enough resources to buy stars of the best luminosity, literally wasting millions of euros.
After two not-so-successful years, perhaps the greatest footballer of all time, seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and new world champion, Argentine scorpion Lionel Messi, are gone, it’s still unclear how the megastar French Kylie Mbappé will behave, whose contract expires in a year, refuses to extend it and threatens to let him go for free. He is attracted to Real Madrid, FC Liverpool and other powerful clubs.
Luis Enrique Martinez Garcia
- Born May 8, 1970 in Gijon
- Player career: Sporting Gijón (1981–1984), La Braňa (1984–1988), Sporting Gijón (1988–1991), Real Madrid (1991–1996), FC Barcelona (1996–2004)
- Spanish national team: 1991–2002 (62/12)
- Achievements: Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games winner, 1996/1997 Cup Winners’ Cup winner, three-time Spanish champion, three-time Copa del Rey winner
- Coaching career: FC Barcelona – B team (2008-2011), AS Roma/Italy (2011-2012), Celta Vigo (2013-2014), FC Barcelona (2014-2017), Spain national team (2018-2019 and 2019-2022 ), Paris Saint Germain / France (2023).
- Achievements: Bronze of the European U21 Championship 2015, winner of the Champions League 2014/2015, double champion of Spain
Brazilian Neymar is once again struggling with private issues. He was fined 16 million Brazilian reals by the Brazilian state authorities, or more than 72 million crowns, for having built a building on his land in Mangratiba, located on the coast of the state Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro, without a permit. And they have to stop the next build.
The 2010 world champion, Spanish stopper Sergio Ramos, also left the team, the ambitions invested in him were irretrievably lost.
Billions for reinforcements
However, the club has been diligent in recruiting. Lucas Hernandez, the 2018 world champion and silver medalist from last year’s championship in Qatar, will appear in France for the first time. Paris paid 45 million euros (about 1.08 billion crowns) to Bayern Munich for him. “I’m very happy!” he said when signing the contract. “I’ve waited a long time for the transfer to PSG, the right moment has finally arrived. It’s a special day for me and I’m happy to be here,” he added, adding that he was looking forward to work with the new coach.
Also caught in inland waters, midfielder Asensio arrived from Real Madrid after his contract ended. “Being part of such a great club as PSG is a privilege. I can’t wait to join my new teammates and start working towards the goals we have set ourselves,” he said. Slovak stopper Milan Škriniar, whose commitment has already been confirmed this winter, comes to thicken the defense.
The French club then activated an exit clause in the amount of 60 million euros (nearly two and a half billion crowns) to buy the twenty-two-year-old Uruguayan midfielder Manuel Ugarte, considered the greatest talent of the world, from the Portuguese Sporting Lisbon.
“Luis Enrique knows how to work with these players,” reports a journalist from Marca. “It takes advantage of their abilities, but it also takes discipline and responsibility,” he says.
With a new Spanish coach, Paris Saint-Gemain are beginning to write the next chapter in their quest to conquer the Champions League.
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