French champion PSG names Unai Emery as its new coach

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 29, 2016 10:04 AM
French champion PSG names Unai Emery as its new coach
FILE- In this Wednesday, May 18, 2016 file photo, the then Sevilla's head coach Unai Emery celebrates after winning the Europa League final soccer match between Liverpool and Sevilla in Basel, Switzerland. Emery has been named as the new coach of Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer


PARIS (AP) — Unai Emery, who guided Spanish club Sevilla to its third straight Europa League title last month, has been named as the new coach of Paris Saint-Germain.

The French champion said in a statement Tuesday that Emery has signed a two-year deal, with the option for an extra year.

The 44-year-old Spaniard replaces Laurent Blanc at PSG.

"It's with great pride that I have accepted the task of coaching Paris Saint-Germain," Emery said. "This club has become one of the most powerful in Europe over the last few seasons."

Blanc was fired on Monday, only months after he signed a new two-year contract.

Despite leading PSG to back-to-back domestic trebles — an unprecedented level of success in the French league — Blanc fell short in Europe, failing to get beyond the quarterfinals of the Champions League during his three seasons in charge.

"I am very happy to welcome Unai Emery as new coach of Paris Saint-Germain," PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said. "Unai will bring all of his experience, passion and qualities in terms of his coaching and on a human level."

A former midfielder with Real Sociedad, Emery coached Valencia from 2008-2012 before taking charge of Sevilla in 2013, following a brief spell at Spartak Moscow.

Emery will take "an active role in the recruitment campaign" — PSG said — as the club looks to strengthen its team following the departure of star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Blanc's future looked in doubt when Al-Khelaifi gave an interview to newspaper Le Parisien last month, saying changes would be made before next season.

Without naming Blanc his demise appeared likely.

When the club's Qatari owners took charge in June 2011, they made winning the Champions League their priority.

In his interview, Al-Khelaifi said he sensed the players were going to lose the quarterfinal return leg against Manchester City in April because they lacked motivation.

He also spoke in glowing terms about the extreme commitment shown by players from Atletico Madrid — coached by Diego Simeone — in the Champions League final against Real Madrid; and also by Unai's Sevilla team when it rallied to beat Liverpool 3-1 to win the Europa League for a third straight season.

"(Emery) has a proven talent to get the best out of a team," Al-Khelaifi said. "I'm convinced our fans will enjoy the spectacular football our team will play."

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