Christophe Galtier was French league champion with Lille in 2021 and last season he coached Nice. (Photo: Valery Hache / AFP)
While Santiago Nasar spent his last hours in the Colombian Caribbean city where the action takes place Chronicle of a death foretoldMauricio Pochettino spent his last days in the French capital knowing that his trial did not have the necessary support to continue. Before the departure of the Santa Fe from the technical direction, he will start a new history in the Parisian team.
Zinedine Zidane, Brazilian Thiago Motta, German Joachim Löw, Spaniard Roberto Martínez, Italian Antonio Conte and even Marcelo Gallardo have been cited as candidates to land on the Paris team bench. Among so many brilliant names, one less resounding was chosen to address Pochettino’s post: Christophe Galtier.
The decision marked a first for the club: in the 11 years of managing the Qatar Sovereign Investment Fund, PSG had never looked for a coach to work for a French league team. During this period, Carlo Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc, Unai Emery and Thomas Tuchel passed in front of Pochettino. All have arrived with recent documents from outside of France. Galtier is the other side.
Christophe Galtier, the one chosen for this new stage of PSG. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)
This 55-year-old from Marseille began his career as an assistant at his hometown Olympique (the club where he made his football debut in 1985) in 1999, just weeks after hanging up his boots (his last team was Chinese side Liaoning). Shortly after starting this journey and while he was Bernard Casoni’s assistant, He starred alongside Marcelo Gallardo in the most embarrassing event of his career.
On 7 April 2000, during the half-time of the match that Olympique and Monaco played at the Velodrome for the 34th round of Ligue 1, Gallardo and Galtier got into a fight in the corridor that connected the pitch and the changing rooms. River’s current DT ended up in the hospital that night, with swollen face, black eye and badly bruised chest, and reported that he was the victim of an ambush.
“Gallardo insulted and beat me. I responded with a self-defense reflex “, justified Galtier, suspended for six months due to that accident whose gravity also attracted the attention of Marie Buffet, the Minister of Sport of the government led by Jacques Chirac. “What happened was extremely serious for top-level sport, professional sport and sport in general. What an example for young people who see their idols attacking each other in the corridors of a stadium, “the official complained.
Marcelo Gallardo, the night he quarreled with Christophe Galtier.
Despite that skirmish and the suspension he had to serve, Galtier continued to work at Olympique until mid-2001. Then he had experiences abroad in the Greek Aris Thessaloniki, in the Emirates Al Ain and in the English Portsmouth, and also played in his country in Bastia, Sochaux and Olympique de Lyon, always as an assistant.
His first experience as head coach began on 15 December 2009, when Saint-Etienne sacked Alain Perrin, the coach with whom he was assistant and with whom he had also worked at Sochaux and Lyon. He had to take charge of a team that had only won one of their last nine games and was flirting with relegation.
Galtier managed that season to keep the most successful club in Ligue 1 history in first place. And in subsequent seasons he brought him back to the fore: he was League Cup champion in 2013 and brought him to the Europa League in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Christophe Galtier directed the Saint-Etienne for seven and a half years.
On 29 December 2017, six months after leaving Saint-Etienne, it fell to him to take over a well-beaten team: Lille, which came from a short and unsuccessful cycle under the command of Marcelo Bielsa. After taking the reins with the team in the penultimate step of the standings, Galtier managed to keep it earlier, as had happened in the green jersey team eight years earlier.
After a second place in 2019 and a commendable fourth place in 2020, Galtier’s Lille achieved what seemed impossible: they dethroned Paris Saint-Germain and took the title in 2021. And he did it with a modest budget and a starless squad, which he invented on the advice of Portuguese Luis Campos, presented this week as the new sports advisor for the men’s branch of PSG football.
Just two days after taking the title, he announced his departure. “This four-year cycle is long enough for a coach. I feel like this is the time to leave this beautiful club. I need something else. I don’t want to fall into routine, as happens so many times, as happened to me in Saint-Etienne ”, he justified.
Christophe Galtier celebrates his Ligue 1 title win with Lille on 23 May 2021. (Photo: Lewis Joly / AP)
From there he moved to Nice, with which he completed an acceptable first season, in which he finished fifth in Ligue 1 (obtained the qualification to the Conference League) and second in the French Cup (lost the final against Nantes). In that tournament, they knocked out Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 and Jorge Sampaoli’s Olympique de Marseille in the quarter-finals.
None of this, however, satisfied Julien Fournier, Nice’s football director, who drew a rather gray balance last Friday in an interview published in L’Equipe. “I think Galtier could have been more successful. This team, thus constituted, could have achieved better results. With more offensive thrust, sometimes with more courage ”, said the leader, quite casual towards the coach.
Galtier’s official status in Paris
The 55-year-old coach will be presented at a press conference on Tuesday at the Parc des Princes stadium. He will sign a contract that will unite him for two seasons at the club and will be in charge of leading a team full of stars who want to shine,
The presentation was postponed for a few days, due to the fact that Mauricio Pochettino’s exit from the club was negotiated and closed last week. The Argentine finished organizing the departure last Thursday and agreed to terminate the contract in exchange for around 10 million euros.
“When a club like PSG comes looking for one of your players or your manager, it’s hard to say no,” Fournier said days ago in the face of rumors linking Galtier to Paris Saint Germain. The sporting director was not wrong, and Galtier’s adventure in Paris will begin tomorrow.