Rudi Garcia sacked by Naples, chronicle of an almost impossible mission for the last French coach in a major foreign championship

The coach who worked for Lyon and Marseille was sacked and replaced by Walter Mazzarri on Tuesday, following another defeat against Empoli (0-1). He leaves Naples through the back door.

His Neapolitan idyll was cut short. Four months after his surprise appointment on the bench of the Italian champion, the Frenchman Rudi Garcia was removed from office, Tuesday November 14, two days after another defeat against the penultimate, Empoli (0-1). This premature ouster seemed inevitable for the former coach of Marseille and Lyon, plagued by disappointing results and difficulties in the management of his group. After just 12 Serie A games, it leaves Napoli in fourth place, 10 points behind leaders Inter.

The graft never took place between the reigning Italian champion and Garcia, whose appointment was largely surprising. The ex-Manceau remained on a mixed experience in Lyon (2019-2021) and ten months without brilliance at Al-Nassr (Saudi Arabia), but enjoyed a good rating in Italy, inherited from a rather fruitful stint at AS Roma (2013-2016). I’m not afraid of anything”he declared during a press conference presenting with great fanfare under the gilding of the prestigious Capodimonte museum, on the heights of Naples.

But the 59-year-old French technician was unable to capitalize on the work of his predecessor Luciano Spalletti, architect of Napoli’s first title in 33 years with a daring game. “It’s always very complicated to come up behind a successful coachindicated last October Fabio Cannavaro, 2006 Golden Ball and former local icon, on TV Play. But I still didn’t expect so many difficulties…”

Lackluster in the game, tense in the locker room

This season, Garcia’s Napoli have only won twice out of seven at their Maradona stadium, where the Partenopei nevertheless collected successes last year. He did not win any matches against big teams (draw against Milan, defeats against Real Madrid, Lazio and Fiorentina), mistakes already criticized when he coached OL or OM. In the Champions League, Naples is in the nails (second in group C behind Real with seven points), but a recent draw against Union Berlin (1-1), until then on a series of 12 defeats, tarnishes the balance sheet.

Beyond these sluggish if not alarming results, Rudi Garcia was especially castigated for a game that was often insufficient compared to the team which scored 77 goals in 38 games last season. “Napoli cannot find continuity, it has lost the identity which allowed it to win the Scudetto”alerted former emblematic defender Ciro Ferrara in mid-October.

Above all, Garcia quickly seemed overwhelmed in the management of his group. From the start of the season, his choice to release star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia while his team was held in check by promoted Genoa (2-2), had been criticized in the transalpine press. The replacement of the other jewel Victor Osimhen in similar circumstances (0-0 in Bologna) a month later earned Garcia strong reprimands from the Nigerian striker.

“He no longer has any authority over his locker room”, judged the whimsical ex-striker Antonio Cassano. In an explosive Neapolitan context, where the slightest actions are overinterpreted by the countless local media, these adventures have polluted Garcia’s short mandate. In any case, it was not necessary for his departure to be mentioned daily, even if his predecessor did not wish to shout with the pack of his detractors. “I have a lot of respect for Rudi Garcia, he showed that he is a decent, balanced person. It was not fair from the first match to compare him with what had been done with this team before”regretted Luciano Spalletti, now Italy coach.

A soaped board

Even if his failure is difficult to dispute, the Frenchman was not helped by his president Aurelio De Laurentiis either. This very charismatic film producer, owner of Napoli since 2004 and often mocked by tifosi for his wait-and-see attitude on the transfer market, has not really strengthened the team. This, however, recorded the departure of Min-jae Kim, the cornerstone of its defense last year, without really replacing him. As a result, Naples has already lost three times, almost as many as last season as a whole (four losses).

Rudi Garcia could hardly survive such a toll. After tormented lease ends in Marseille then Lyon, the French champion coach in 2011 with Lille failed to get back on track, almost 60 years old he will have them in February 2024. With his dismissal, there is no longer a French coach playing in a foreign club among the five major championships. And there are only eight in Ligue 1.

source site-18