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PSG fires coach Galtier after disappointing season

PARIS (AP) – Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) fired coach Christophe Galtier after a disappointing season, with former Spain and Barcelona manager Luis Enrique expected to be announced as his successor.

PSG in a statement thanked Galtier, who had one year left to run on his contract, “for his professionalism and commitment”.

Galtier’s assistants Thierry Oleksiak and João Sacramento have also been fired and won’t be part of the next coach’s staff.

PSG has announced a press conference without elaborating.

In its so far ill-fated quest for Champions League glory, PSG will be appointing an eighth coach in 12 years of Qatari ownership, with World Cup top scorer Kylian Mbappé set to play for a fifth coach since joining in 2017.

Enrique has been without a contract since Spain’s elimination from the World Cup last year.

The 53-year-old coach took over the national team in 2018 to start revamping the squad after its elimination in the round of 16 of the World Cup in Russia. He temporarily left because of the illness and eventual death of his young daughter, but returned in 2019.

PSG’s head coach Christophe Galtier talks to PSG’s Kylian Mbappe. PHOTO: AP

He helped Spain reach the last four of the Nations League twice, and also led it to the semifinals of the European Championship. He was more successful with Barcelona, winning the Champions League, La Liga, and Copa del Rey in his first season in charge.

Galtier led PSG to another French league title as expected, but the club was eliminated early in the Champions League and the French Cup by rival Marseille this past season. PSG’s form slumped after the World Cup, with 10 losses in 28 games in 2023.

PSG was unbeaten in all competitions when the European season paused in November for the World Cup in Qatar. Mbappé’s league-leading 29 goals arguably saved the club from losing the title, which was retained with only one game to spare, and just one point ahead of unheralded Lens.

PSG’s final game was a 3-2 defeat to modest Clermont and highlighted the glaring weaknesses in midfield and defence that Mbappé’s goals have papered over.

In addition to his star-studded team’s mediocre performances, Galtier was destabilised by allegations he made racist comments when he was in charge of French club Nice.

He has been summoned to stand trial in December as part of the investigation. Galtier signed a two-year contract last July after leaving Nice, which hired him after the French coach’s outstanding leadership led Lille to the title over PSG in 2021 in a huge upset.

Lille was the only team to deny PSG the trophy in six seasons with Mbappé, who joined for EUR180 million after winning the title with Monaco in 2017.

Since cash-rich Qatari investors QSI took over in June 2011, Carlo Ancelotti is the only coach not to be fired, leaving for Real Madrid in 2013.

But Ancelotti was hired only after Antoine Kombouaré was astonishingly axed in December 2011 when PSG was three points clear of Montpellier at the top.

PSG lost the title by three points in an embarrassing defeat, and the casual way in which Kombouaré was replaced set the tone for over a decade of musical chairs.

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