Mauricio Pochettino has been appointed Paris Saint-Germain’s new manager, replacing the sacked Thomas Tuchel following a difficult start to the domestic season.
Pochettino is back in management just over a year after his sacking at Tottenham, whom he had led to the Champions League final the season before but he has only been handed an 18-month contract on a deal that runs until June 2022. There is an option to extend for a further year.
He was seen at PSG’s training ground on Saturday and was announced shortly after 3pm as the French champions new boss.
In a statement, Pochettino said: ‘I am really happy and honoured to become the new coach of Paris Saint-Germain. I would like to thank the Club’s management for the trust they have placed in me.
‘As you know, this club has always held a special place in my heart. I have wonderful memories, especially of the unique atmosphere of the Parc des Princes.
I return to the Club today with a lot of ambition and humility, and am eager to work with some of the world’s most talented players.
‘This team has fantastic potential and my staff and I will do everything we can to get the best for Paris Saint-Germain in all competitions. We will also do our utmost to give our team the combative and attacking playing identity that Parisian fans have always loved.’
PSG were on the hunt for a new manager after dismissing Tuchel on Christmas Eve, just hours after securing a 4-0 win over Strasbourg in Ligue 1 – and four months on from guiding his side to the Champions League final.
Pochettino met up with PSG chiefs on Christmas Eve and has now finalised a sensational deal to take over at the Parc des Princes, after biding his time to find the right project following his Tottenham sacking.
Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaïfi said on the appointment: ‘I am proud to see our former captain returning to Paris Saint-Germain, as the Club has always remained his home.
‘The return of Mauricio fits perfectly with our ambitions and it will be another exciting chapter for the club and one I am positive the fans will enjoy.
‘With the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino, Paris Saint-Germain is committed to continue to build and move the club forward over the coming years.’
Pochettino will be raring to get going with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar at his disposal, as he looks to make a seamless return to football management following five years with Spurs.
The Argentine manager played for the Ligue 1 giants between 2001 and 2003 before moving to fellow French side Bordeaux. Pochettino previously admitted back in 2016 that it would be his ‘dream’ to take over in the French capital.
He previously told RMC Sport: ‘One day I would like to train PSG. It’s part of my dreams. It’s a club that I follow a lot. I try to see all the matches. Especially in the Champions League.
‘I spoke with Jean-Louis Gasset (assistant to then manager Laurent Blanc) several times. Come back to Paris one day, why not?’
The 48-year-old has been out of work for 14 months since being replaced by Jose Mourinho at White Hart Lane, and was previously considered as future options for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
But he has now taken the reins at PSG, and there will be great expectancy on his shoulders to deliver the goods from the off.
During his five years with Tottenham, Pochettino turned Tottenham into Champions League regulars after a brilliant transformation of his side. However, trophies eluded him in north London before he was dismissed following a horror run of form at the start of the 2019-2020 campaign.
A completely different task lies ahead in Paris with the wealthy French club desperate to clinch the Champions League after years of domination domestically.
There will be huge pressure on Pochettino’s shoulders to deliver the biggest prize of all, which is the only trophy currently missing from their cabinet. But while European glory is at the forefront of PSG’s minds, Pochettino will need to immediately resolve the club’s Ligue 1 fortunes.
Having won seven of the last eight Ligue 1 titles, it was widely expected that PSG would romp to glory once again this campaign.
But they certainly haven’t had it all their own way, sitting third in the table – a point behind leaders Lyon and Lille.
Pochettino’s first match in charge of PSG is expected to be against Saint-Etienne on January 6 following the conclusion of the league’s winter break.