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Leagues: UEFA Champions League

Sampaoli leaves Marseille before Champions League return

Marseille (AFP) – Argentinian Jorge Sampaoli has left his position as Marseille coach after guiding them back to the Champions League, the French club announced on Friday.

Sampaoli, 62, arrived at the Stade Velodrome in March 2021 and took Marseille to a second-placed finish in Ligue 1 last season.

“After 16 months of collaboration, this work has allowed the club to take the next step in their new sporting project and qualify directly for the Champions League,” the club said in a statement.

“We are happy with the path taken and emotions shared but after a lot of consideration, the two parties, who are reacting in the interest of Marseille, agreed to bring this relationship to an end.”

In May, colourful former Argentina and Sevilla boss Sampaoli, who also led Chile to the 2015 Copa America title, said he needed further funds to make the most of featuring in Europe’s top tournament.

“Do we want the Champions League for the money or to be competitive?,” he told reporters earlier this year.

“Playing the Champions League is about playing great teams.

“Playing a few matches and not really being a part of the competition seems illogical for me.”

The 1993 Champions League winners have signed Spartak Moscow centre-back Samuel Gigot and teenager Isaak Toure before returning to the competition for the first time since 2020, when they won just one group game.

But France defensive midfielder Boubacar Kamara has left for Aston Villa on a free transfer and defender William Saliba has returned to Arsenal after his loan spell.

Marseille start their new Ligue 1 season on the weekend of August 5-7 by hosting Reims.

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