Paris Saint-Germain have sacked head coach Thomas Tuchel, with Mauricio Pochettino set to return to management with his former club.
Just four months after leading the French side to the Champions League Final – ultimately going down to Bayern Munich – the German has been dismissed from his role at the Parc des Princes.
As first reported by Bild, Tuchel, 47, leaves the Parc des Princes after two-and-a-half years in charge.
The former Borussia Dortmund boss had won six trophies with Les Parisiens, including back-to-back Ligue 1 crowns.
But Wednesday night’s 4-0 win over Strasbourg was the end of the road, despite PSG being third in the French league, just one point off top spot.
Pre-game, Tuchel had given an interview in his homeland in which he was quoted as saying he had, at times, felt more like “a sports politician or sports minister than a coach” during his tenure.
After the win over Strasbourg, he had attempted to clarify those comments to Canal+.
“I didn’t say it’s more about politics than sport, nor that I lost the fun of training. This is not true… It is possible they translated incorrectly.
“Watch the video interview. I just said that PSG are unique and that it’s a big challenge for me. It’s always been like that.
“I like this challenge and nothing has changed.”
Asked for a second time about the remark, he added: “I gave a video interview to a journalist who told me to do a story about German coaches.
“It is not an interview for him. It is not allowed. I was making a joke in German. The translation is not correct. We cannot translate word for word.
“It was a joke while we were talking and it is not allowed.”
Tuchel’s time in the French capital hadn’t been without incident – notably in-fighting between he and former sporting director Antero Henrique, as well as current incumbent Leonardo.
Back in October, Tuchel, hit out at the Brazilian publicly over the exits of Edinson Cavani, Thomas Meunier and club captain Thiago Silva, as well as promising young pair Tanguy Kouassi and Adil Aouchiche, all of whom left for nothing.
It’s understood Tuchel wanted to keep club captain Silva, who has impressed at Chelsea, but the decision over his exit – labelled “clumsy” by the player himself – was made by Leonardo.
Tuchel urged the club to strengthen, leaving Leonardo to hit back publicly himself: “I did not like the statement of the coach Tuchel. I don’t understand it and I did not like it. The club did not like it.
“If someone is not happy, we can talk, there is no problem. But If he decides to stay, he must decide to respect the choices of the sports management.”
After that, his latest interview in his homeland appears to have ultimately been the final straw for the sporting director and the club’s Qatari owners.
As such, despite the club’s position in the French championship – where they remain favourites – and having won their Champions League group – they will meet Barcelona in the last 16 – Tuchel has been shown the exit, brutally, on Christmas Eve.
Former Tottenham manager Pochettino, sidelined since his Spurs exit 13 months ago, appears set to return to PSG, where the Argentine spent two years as a player.
In November Pochettino discussed his readiness to return to management, declaring on Monday Night Football: “I am always ready to go again and be involved in the game.”