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Kombouare leaves PSG, Ancelotti expected to sign

Kombouare leaves PSG, Ancelotti expected to sign

Antoine Kombouare left as coach of Paris Saint-Germain on Friday, paying the price for not being a glamorous enough name for the club's ambitious Qatari owners.
PSG began negotiations with Kombouare last week with a view to a separation, and confirmed on its website Friday that "Kombouare is leaving Paris Saint-Germain, as from today."
Former Juventus, AC Milan and Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti was expected to be introduced as his replacement later Friday.
"PSG would like to thank Antoine Kombouare for the professionalism he has shown throughout his time at the club and wishes him every success in his new endeavors," a PSG statement said.
"Antoine Kombouare expressed his gratitude to PSG for the faith it showed in him over the years. He remains the club's biggest fan and has no doubt it will continue to have success in the years to come."
After replacing Paul Le Guen in 2009 and leading PSG to the French Cup the following year, Kombouare guided the club to the top of the French standings at the winter break.
However, PSG's elimination from both the Europa League and League Cup did not sit well with QSI, which took over the club in July.
His departure heralds a major break from the club's traditions.
Like his predecessor Le Guen, Kombouare was a highly respected former PSG player, a fans' favorite, someone who knew the club inside out and had a bond with it that ran fiercely deep.
He had helped bring stability to an oft-troubled club once riddled with problems of football violence and a long-standing racist element among some fans that nearly brought the club to its knees. Two PSG fans died in separate incidents of hooliganism outside the Parc des Princes stadium in November, 2006 and early last year.
"I find it scandalous to sack Kombouare, a coach who was liked so much by the players," former France forward Christophe Dugarry said recently on Infosport television.
Former France goalkeeper Gregory Coupet, who played the previous two seasons under Kombouare's stewardship, was not surprised by the news.
"It was rather predictable, given all the talk about Ancelotti, and the meetings (sporting director) Leonardo had with him," Coupet said on RMC radio station. "The winter break was the ideal moment (to announce) it, although it's all happened pretty quickly."
The shakeup seems unlikely to end there. After Ancelotti's arrival, former England captain David Beckham is widely tipped to follow when the transfer window opens on Sunday.
Although QSI has already spent (EURO)82 million ($116 million) on players this season, Ancelotti should have plenty more funds if he needs them.
As well as QSI's need for a famed manager to help broaden its global appeal, PSG's elimination from both the two cup competitions may ultimately have cost Kombouare his job. QSI stipulated at the start of the season that the team should set its sights on winning three trophies.
"This was always going to happen, ever since the Qatari owners took charge of the club," former PSG president Charles Villeneuve said. "The only thing is they should probably have done it at the start of the season."
Ancelotti can still repeat his feat at Chelsea by winning the domestic double in his first season, although Kombouare will get some of the credit if PSG does win the league for the first time since 1994.
A stalwart defender for PSG during the club's heyday from 1990-95, Kombouare was part of the PSG team which reached the Champions League semifinals in 1995.
A tough-tackling defender with a fiery temperament, PSG's fans adored him and nicknamed him "Golden Helmet" because of his ability to score headed goals from corners.
In the return leg of the UEFA Cup quarterfinal against Real Madrid in 1993, Kombouare charged up the field deep into injury time to score the goal that knocked Real Madrid out and put PSG into the semifinals.
However, given the huge spending spree at the start of the season _ including a French record (EURO)42 million ($60 million) on the 22-year-old Argentina midfielder Javier Pastore _ fans expected to watch entertaining football every week.
This has not been the case, with Kombouare's team often eking out wins rather than tearing teams apart.
A poor run of form in November sealed Kombouare's fate as PSG lost 1-0 at home to Nancy, then 3-0 away to bitter rival Marseille and 2-0 at Salzburg in the Europa League.
By the time PSG turned things around, Ancelotti was in the frame and it was too late for Kombouare.


Updated : 2021-07-28 00:09 GMT+08:00