Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery said Friday he will leave the French club at the end of the campaign after Champions League failures in both his seasons in charge.
Emery’s two-year contract ends in June and he had been expected to leave anyway.
He said he met with PSG’s Qatari president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and sporting director Antero Henrique and “we decided that we would not continue to work together”.
“I’ve told the players,” Emery said at a press conference on Friday ahead of the league match against Guingamp on Sunday.
The German Thomas Tuchel, without a club since his tumultuous departure from Borussia Dortmund in May 2017, is seen as the hot favourite to succeed Emery by French media.
“His immense passion for football and his commitment to the job have allowed the club to continue to anchor itself among the elite of French and international football,” said Al-Khelaifi in a club statement.
“I congratulate Unai for his commitment to our project and I wish him, on behalf of the club, full success in the challenges that await him.”
Spaniard Emery arrived having achieved continental success, winning the Europa League three years running with Sevilla.
But his track record in the Champions League at Sevilla, as well as with Valencia and Spartak Moscow before that, had left much to be desired and Emery’s time in France will forever be associated with failure in that competition.
PSG had previously reached four consecutive quarter-finals following the Qatari takeover of the club in 2012, but Emery oversaw a humiliating defeat to Barcelona in the last 16 a year ago, losing 6-1 at the Camp Nou after a 4-0 win in the first leg.
The club then committed to spending 400 million euros ($483 million) on Neymar and Kylian Mbappe alone — the two most expensive transfer deals in history — last year, but Paris were eliminated in the last 16 again this year, going out to Real Madrid.
Those defeats suggested that, far from closing the gap to Europe’s elite, PSG were going backwards.
– Uncertain future –
Under Emery, PSG lost their French title to Monaco before regaining it this season. The club won the French League Cup both seasons. They took the French Cup in 2017 and are back in the final this year where they face third-division Les Herbiers on May 8.
“To achieve its number one objective, which is the Champions League, the club first of all needs to be strong in France,” said Emery, 46.
“This year we have won the club’s seventh league title and we are only missing one to become the most successful club in France.
“I am sure that in the coming years, by continuing to win everything in France, the club will do it.”
Asked if he had any regrets from his two years at the Parc des Princes, Emery added: “I am very happy to have had the chance to work here. It is a great experience as a coach.
“This has been a good season but we still have the French Cup to left to win.
“We lost against Real but they are showing that they are maybe still the strongest team in Europe.”
Emery’s future is uncertain, although he has been linked with a return to Real Sociedad, the club from his native Basque Country whom he played for at the start of his career.
“I’m going to see what’s best for my future,” Emery said. “I’m very focused for Sunday (and Guingamp) and the final of the French Cup. After that I’ll see.”
With four games of the Ligue 1 season remaining, PSG can still become the first team ever to get to 100 points in France’s top flight.