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Garcia appointed new Marseille coach

Marseille (AFP) – Marseille’s new American owner on Thursday appointed former Roma and Lille boss Rudi Garcia as the club’s coach on a three-year deal.

Garcia replaces Franck Passi and will take charge for the French giants’ clash against arch-rivals Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.

“Rudi Garcia, 52, has signed a three-year contract. He will take up his role” starting Friday, when he will attend this weekend’s pre-match press conference, Marseille said in a statement.

The appointment, Marseille’s fourth different coach since the start of last season, comes just three days after US tycoon Frank McCourt completed his purchase of the Ligue 1 side from Margarita Louis-Dreyfus.

“When I met Rudi, he told me straight away he wanted to win the Champions League,” said McCourt, who has vowed to restore Marseille to their former glory after the team finished a lowly 13th last season. 

“I immediately knew he would be the man for the job,” added the Boston-born former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Garcia guided Lille to a league and French Cup double in 2011 and was last in charge of Roma before he was sacked in January, having steered the Serie A side to successive second-place finishes behind Juventus.

Roma earlier confirmed they had terminated Garcia’s contract by mutual agreement, with the Frenchman then still tied to the Italian club.

McCourt has laid out plans to invest heavily at the Stade Velodrome to reverse the fortunes of the nine-time French champions and swiftly installed Jacques-Henri Eyraud as the club’s new president.

“Rudi Garcia brings together all the required qualities to join our club’s project. He is used to high-intensity environments,” said Eyraud. 

“His track record over the last five years is exceptional. He is one of the few French coaches to have succeeded abroad in a major league.”

Marseille currently sit 12th in the table after two wins in their last three matches and are coming off their worst season since 2001.

Marcelo Bielsa resigned as manager after the opening round of matches last term and was succeeded by Passi on an interim basis before former Real Madrid star Michel took over.

The Spaniard was then sacked in April as Passi once more stepped in to fill the vacant role, and Marseille supporters will hope the arrival of Garcia can help resurrect the 1993 European champions. 

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