Monaco announced on Sunday the departure of coach Robert Moreno after barely six months in charge, with former Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac expected to take over at the Ligue 1 club.
Ex-Spain coach Moreno, 42, was appointed in December after Leonardo Jardim was dismissed by Monaco for the second time in just over a year.
“The club has launched a procedure leading to the departure of Robert Moreno. The Spanish coach was informed of this in a preliminary meeting on Saturday,” Monaco said in a statement.
“Our paths parted sooner than expected but I would like to thank Robert Moreno for accepting the challenge,” added club vice-president Oleg Petrov.
“Together with his staff, Robert has done his utmost to improve the team, with enthusiasm and dedication of his time. I wish him all the best for the future.”
Monaco finished ninth in Ligue 1 this past season, failing to qualify for European football as the 2019-20 campaign was suspended in March and then declared over due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to club sources, former Croatia international Kovac will be appointed as Moreno’s successor. Kovac, 48, was sacked by Bayern in November, months after leading them to a league and cup double.
Monaco’s exciting young Nigerian striker Henry Onyekuru is to spend the rest of the season on loan at Galatasaray, the Ligue 1 club announced on Sunday.
It will be the 22-year-old’s second loan spell in Turkey as he shone for Galatasaray last season when he was still at English club Everton.
He scored 14 goals in 35 appearances for Galatasaray who went on to win the Turkish championship.
Monaco, who signed the Nigerian for 17 million euros during the summer, have not included an ‘option to buy’ clause in the loan, suggesting that Onyekuru remains a part of their long-term strategy.
Since his arrival in the principality, Onyekuru, who joined Monaco on a five-year deal, figured in just four matches under Leonardo Jardim who was sacked just after Christmas and replaced by ex-Spain boss Roberto Moreno.
Leonardo Jardim has been fired by Monaco just over a year since he was previously sent packing, a source close to the club told AFP on Saturday.
To general surprise the 45-year-old was reappointed in January, just three months after he was sacked and replaced by Thierry Henry, who oversaw a disastrous tenure.
French sports newspaper L’Equipe are reporting Jardim will be replaced by the Spaniard Marcelino, who led Valencia to the Spanish Cup before getting fired for rowing with the club’s owners in September.
Other sources are suggesting former Spain coach Robert Moreno is also in the frame.
Jardim found himself again facing mounting scrutiny in his second spell after a humbling home defeat by Lille in the French League Cup in mid-December.
In their next match however Monaco thrashed the same opposition 5-1 in the league.
The Portuguese originally landed himself in the spotlight in September as Monaco picked up just three points from their opening six games despite a summer outlay of 135 million euros ($150 million).
Five wins in six helped douse the flames but the abject display against Lille stoked fresh concerns about the direction the club, currently in seventh in Ligue 1, was heading.
In happier days Jardim led Monaco to the French title and a Champions League semi-final in 2017, before the club’s Russian owners cashed in.
They sold Kylian Mbappe to Paris Saint-Germain, Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy to Manchester City, Fabinho to Liverpool, Thomas Lemar to Atletico Madrid, Djibril Sidibe to Everton and Falcao to Galatasaray.
Newly-appointed Montreal Impact boss Thierry Henry vowed to learn from the mistakes of his disastrous reign at Monaco on Monday but called for patience as he attempts to revive the fortunes of the struggling Major League Soccer outfit.
Speaking at his first press conference since his appointment by Montreal last week, the 42-year-old former France and Arsenal superstar insisted he was ready for the challenge despite his troubled tenure with Ligue 1 side Monaco.
Henry was sacked by Monaco in January after only 100 days in charge as the team nosedived into the relegation zone following his appointment, with just five wins in 20 matches.
“For me, the way I put it is always [either] you win or you learn, and I learned a lot there,” Henry said of his spell at Monaco.
“It’s about coming back, always. You have to get up and be in front of what happens. The only mistake that you can make is not learning from what happened.”
Henry, who was also an assistant coach to Belgium during the country’s 2018 World Cup campaign, where they finished third, said his experiences were part of his evolution as a manager.
“You have to start somewhere,” he said of his time with Belgium and Monaco.
“I learned a lot about myself. It’s about fighting. This isn’t just my story but the story of everyone in life. Everyone falls. It’s about how you get up.”
The Impact’s sporting director Olivier Renard said Henry beat out several candidates under consideration for the Montreal position.
After meeting Henry in mid-October, it was decided then that he should take on the job of rebuilding the foundering franchise, he said.
Henry, who spent four years in MLS with the New York Red Bulls at the tail-end of his playing career, meanwhile urged Montreal’s fans to be patient, saying success won’t come overnight.
“We have a fresh start and we’re going to move forward to rebuild the team,” Henry told reporters.
“We know the direction we want to go, but you can’t build a new team in two months, or three months or even a year,” he said. “We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, and it will require patience.
“We also need to win back the support of fans. I think this is very important because fans and the city, the community need to feel a connection to the team. It’s up to us to bring them back on our side.”
Marseille’s season suffered another setback Wednesday when they were knocked out of the French League Cup 2-1 at the hands of Monaco, just days after they endured a 4-0 defeat by PSG in Ligue 1.
With just one win in their last seven matches, the pressure is on coach Andre Villas-Boas with a cup exit compounding Marseille’s modest seventh position in the league table which sees them already 11 points behind champions PSG in the title race.
“The first half was disgraceful and we had a big talk at half-time. We said it was not possible and it’s amazing to compare the first half with the second half,” said Villas-Boas.
“We can accept losing to PSG, given their quality but not like this against Monaco.
“I wanted to win this cup, the team as well. It’s a shame as the fans were there for us, from the first to the last minute. Now, we have to give something back to them.”
Despite making seven changes from the side which started the 1-0 win over Nantes last weekend, Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim still had enough firepower to see off Marseille.
Both Monaco’s goals came in the first half.
On-loan striker Jean-Kevin Augustin opened the scoring in the 25th minute from a cross from Ruben Aguilar.
Aguilar added the second goal five minutes from the interval.
Marseille grabbed a consolation in the 77th minute when Benjamin Lecomte put through his own goal.
There will be no let up for Marseille this weekend when they welcome third-placed Lille to the Stade Velodrome.
Wissam Ben Yedder fired Monaco out of the Ligue 1 mire on Sunday with a stoppage time winner that earned an entertaining 3-2 win over Rennes.
Yedder pounced on Keita Balde’s flick two minutes into added time to lash home a powerful left-foot finish and send Leonardo Jardim’s side up to 14th just as it looked as if a handball spotted by VAR had denied them the three points.
Balde thought he had won the game for Monaco seconds before when he capitalised on a dreadful error by Rennes goalkeeper Romain Salin to roll the ball into an empty net, but the video assistants to spot him controlling the ball with his hand.
Monaco started the weekend in 16th but dropped into the relegation playoff places before Sunday’s match. It seemed they would stay there once Balde’s goal was rightly ruled out.
The late goal means they are now level on 12 points with Toulouse, Amiens and 12th-placed Rennes, who have not won a match since August.
Monaco had taken the lead through Ben Yedder’s smart finish after just two minutes. A wonderful solo run and finish from Faitout Maouassa and Adrien Honou’s tap-in put Rennes ahead just after the break.
Monaco levelled after the away side gifted the ball to Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard rolled in Islam Slimani to score in the 57th minute.
Earlier, Claude Puel continued his perfect start as Saint-Etienne coach. Denis Bouanga’s stoppage time penalty at Bordeaux launched Puel’s side into the top half of the table.
The 10-time French champions were second-bottom in Ligue 1 after their home loss to Metz late last month but have won three straight, the last two under Puel. Their turnaround in form, which includes victory over local rivals Lyon in Puel’s first match, has moved them to ninth, ahead of 10th-placed Marseille’s clash with Strasbourg.
Bordeaux meanwhile missed the chance to move into the Champions League positions with their second home loss the bounce.
Monaco have signed Nigeria international Henry Onyekuru on a five-year-deal from Everton, the French club announced on Monday.
“I’m very happy to join a great club like AS Monaco. I will give everything to improve and help the club to have a great season. I look forward to meeting my teammates,” the 22-year-old told Monaco’s website.
Onyekuru, who has made 11 appearances for the Super Eagles, originally joined the Premier League side in 2017 but has spent the two past campaigns on-loan with Anderlecht and Galatasaray.
The winger scored 14 league goals in Turkey last season and reportedly joins the Ligue 1 outfit for 17 million euros ($19 million).
Leonardo Jardim’s options in front of goal could be strengthened further with Sevilla’s France forward Wissam Ben Yedder being linked with a move to Stade Louis II.
However former club captain Radamel Falcao and Portugal wide-man Rony Lopes have been linked with moves away from the Principality.
Monaco midfielder Cesc Fabregas Eyes Champions League Return With Monaco said on Wednesday his main aim is to take the Ligue 1 club back to the Champions League, a trophy he is yet to win in his illustrious career.
Fabregas joined the Principality outfit in January from Premier League outfit Chelsea but they will miss out on European competition altogether as they sit in a lowly 16th position in Ligue 1 with seven games to go.
“For next season the objective set by the club is clear, we are not here for a good time. We are here to take Monaco to the Champions League, it’s my dream,” he said.
The closest Fabregas has come to lifting European club football’s most coveted prize was as a runner-up with Arsenal in 2006.
A World Cup winner with Spain in 2010, the 31-year-old said he left Stamford Bridge due to a decrease in playing time under new boss Maurizio Sarri, who signed midfielders such as Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic last summer.
“I could have extended my contract with Chelsea. A new coach came in with players like kids. It wasn’t possible for me to play anymore,” Fabregas said.
Fabregas arrived at Monaco to work with former teammate Thierry Henry as the boss but he was sacked and replaced them by the club’s former head coach Leonardo Jardim after less than fourth months in charge.
“It’s true, Thierry’s departure was a shock, but it’s in the past. I’m thinking about Monaco’s future, its rescue and my future, which will be here,” he said.
Leonardo Jardim returned for a second spell as Monaco coach on Friday, just over three months after he was sacked, the struggling French Ligue 1 club announced.
Jardim replaces Thierry Henry who was suspended on Thursday and then sacked on Friday with the team second-from-bottom in the French top division with just 15 points.
Portuguese coach Jardim, 41, has signed a deal until June 2021 and will take charge of the team for Tuesday’s League Cup clash against Guingamp.
Monaco’s chief executive Vadim Vasilyev said that it had been a mistake to sack Jardim after the 2-1 home defeat to Rennes on October 7 last year.
His departure, however, would have been comfortably cushioned by a reported 8.5 million euro pay-off.
“Today we realise that the story of Leonardo Jardim at the club did not end as it was meant to. Leonardo should have been given an opportunity to continue his job,” admitted Vasilyev.
Jardim joined Monaco in 2014 and took them to a first Ligue 1 title in 17 years in 2017. They also made the Champions League semi-finals.
“Our club is going through a very challenging period. I am ready to admit that I personally bear the responsibility for this,” added Vasilyev.
“We have to acknowledge that during the summer transfer window, we sold too many key players and, despite considerable investments, mistakes were made with respect to their replacement.
“This did not allow us to create a new, competitive team. The decision to dismiss Leonardo Jardim was also premature.”
Former Arsenal and France striker Henry earned the Principality club just two league wins since his arrival in October.
However, his departure will not come cheap.
He was reported to be earning an estimated 3.2 million euros a year. With two and a half years still left on his contract, Monaco’s owners face having to pay out another eight million as compensation.
“Thierry Henry is a football legend but due to a very unfavourable mix of circumstances, including, above all, numerous injuries to our players, hampered him from quickly and effectively leading the team out of the crisis,” said Vasilyev.
Franck Passi will be in charge of the team for the weekend clash against Dijon.