PARIS (Reuters) - Paris St Germain have turned to the uncompromising German coach Thomas Tuchel to finally boost the club’s Champions League record after years of relative failure.
Former Mainz and Borussia Dortmund coach Tuchel signed a two-year contract to succeed Spain’s Unai Emery, who achieved a domestic treble but failed to establish PSG as top contenders in Europe’s elite club competition.
Despite spending a world record 222 million euros ($265.8 million) to attract Neymar during the close season, the Ligue 1 side were eliminated in the last-16 of the Champions League by Real Madrid. The Brazil forward missed the second leg through injury.
PSG also signed Kylian Mbappe last year, but France’s hottest prospect could not help them reach the semi-finals, which was the team’s goal this season.
The Ligue 1 champions have failed to go past the quarter-finals of the Champions League since big-spending Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) took over in June, 2011.
“It is with much joy, pride and ambition that I am joining this big club, Paris St Germain,” said Tuchel.
“I can’t wait to start working with all these great players who are all amongst the best in the world. With my coaching staff, we will do everything we can to help the team reach success, including on the international scene.
“Paris St Germain has enormous potential and it is by so far the most exciting proposition in football. I am also impatient to get to know the Parc des Princes, a famous European stadium and one that boasts an incredible atmosphere.”
It is undoubtedly on the European scene that Tuchel will be expected to deliver, PSG having this season won the Ligue 1 title as well as the French and League Cups.
Tuchel left Dortmund last year with one year left on his contract because of a strained relationship with the club’s board, just after winning the German Cup.
His ability to deal with a locker room filled with big names will be closely monitored.
German media reported that the 47-year-old had met with Neymar on Sunday.
The Brazilian has been linked with a possible transfer to Real Madrid, but Neymar hinted he would be staying in Paris when he posted a picture on himself on social media wearing the 2018-19 PSG shirt.
Club president Nasser al-Khelaifi was also quoted as saying on Sunday that Neymar would stay at PSG at “2,000 percent”.
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Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Andrew Roche and Christian Radnedge