The Lyon revolution has come to a halt. The signing, until June 2021, of the Frenchman Rudi Garcia as coach, officialized Monday, October 14, seems to mean one thing: the president of Olympique Lyonnais (OL), Jean-Michel Aulas, is back on the front of the stage.
At OL, the change is decidedly always in continuity: it sometimes has the appearance of an upheaval, especially with the arrival in June of the Brazilian duo Juninho-Sylvinho, as sports director and coach, but to at other times he does not even bother with appearances. And, in this case, it is Juninho who pays the price.
Barely five months after his induction into the post of sports director, the former idol of Gerland sees his power already trimmed. The original sin of the Brazilian resides in this daring bet and unfortunately missed: to launch the beginner Sylvinho on the Rhone bench.
His compatriot, who had never held a position as head coach, was fired after the loss on 6 October in the derby against Saint-Etienne (1-0), a bad result that ended a series almost unpublished seven games without wins.
In its press release on Monday, OL came ahead of critics by emphasizing Juninho's role in this choice. It is he who is cited to justify this recruitment: "I chose Rudi Garcia because he is a fighter who, like us, has the ambition to win titles and succeed on the European stage. He is an experienced coach who has already won trophies. During my various interviews, I had a real football connection with him. We speak the same language in terms of tactics and play. "
Last disastrous season in Marseille
By appointing Rudi Garcia, former coach of Olympique de Marseille, whose three-year experience with this club has been cut short after one last disastrous season (5e of Ligue 1 and eliminated in the group stage of the Europa League), however, Mr Aulas reminds everyone that he is the only boss on board.
The robot portrait of his "ideal coach" is proof of this: a coach who speaks French, who has the experience of the Champions League and who accepts restrictive conditions so as not to upset the teams in place.
The first condition has pushed away coaches like Argentina's Jorge Sampaoli or Spain's Marcelino. The last was right for the candidacy of Laurent Blanc, a favorite time but who works with his own assistants and his own physical trainer.
In a bad position since his dismissal from Marseille, Rudi Garcia has agreed to arrive with only one assistant, the faithful Claude Fichaux, who has followed since 2009 in Lille, Rome and Marseille.
"We had a great relationship and we built something since we doubled in 2011. He is a very good coach and I rank among the top five Frenchmen. Michel Seydoux, President of LOSC from 2002 to 2016
Former footballer, the new Lyon coach, 55, has a long career behind him. After a short difficult interim in Saint-Etienne in 2001, he spent five years on the bench Dijon he raises particular in Ligue 2. It's at Le Mans, after a single season in Ligue 1 (9e place), that it is noticed by Lille, where it disembarks in June 2008.
He made a first season of quality (qualification in Europa League), but is quickly dismissed because of a conflict with the general manager Xavier Thuilot. After a fortnight of a real false start, he wins his case against his rival when the club president asks him to return. It will finally remain five seasons in the North.
"I can only talk about my experience: we had a great relationship and we built something because we doubled in 2011. We talked and we called each other a lot. He is a very good coach that I rank among the top five Frenchresponds Michel Seydoux. We remember only the ends, but in Rome, at first, it seemed convincing. Like Marseille. And then, at home, for five years, it convinced me. "
"He's a real warrior"
For the former president of LOSC, who is also an intimate of Mr. Aulas, the president of Lyon has made the " Good choice " : "He's a real warrior. If he has an army behind him, he'll get there. He is someone of immense loyalty and a huge worker. To be successful, he needs a peaceful environment. As I know him, and I supported him at OM when he was attacked, he needs to have people's trust and solidarity. "
In Marseille, Rudi Garcia imposed the recruitment – controversial – to the detriment of the sports director, Andoni Zubizarreta. Despite taking part in a Europa League final in 2018, he failed (against Bruno Genésio OL) to qualify the Marseille club for the lucrative Champions League. He was fired in May, seven months after extending his contract.
"He is a coach with authority, who knew how to be listened to and with whom it went well with the playersdefends Bruno Germain, a former OM player close to the club where his son Valère is playing. The last year, the results were not good, he was responsible certainly, but not the only one. QWhen we trust players who do not make it, we have to make decisions. "
In Lyon, Rudi Garcia will try to renew the son of a promising career that saw him be one of the few French coaches to obtain a prestigious position abroad. At AS Roma (2013-2016), he will make two good first seasons (twicee of the Italian championship), before being dismissed during the third.
OL would be content with the same scenario with his new coach. Especially if it allows him to find a ranking more in line with his ambitions.