A difficult task
Garcia’s appointment was revealed on Thursday. This was followed by a brief statement on social media from the Napoli president. Aurelio De Laurentiis welcomed Garcia via Twitter: “I am pleased to announce that Rudi Garcia will be the new Napoli coach. We wish him a warm welcome and the best of luck!”
After that, the French coach also wrote on his personal Twitter: “It is an honor to join the Napoli project and it is a pleasure to return to Italy. More than ever, I have the drive and ambition to continue to advance with the Italian champions.”
Two months after finishing his adventure in Saudi Arabia with Al-Nassr, Garcia found a new job. And this job is as difficult as leading a personality star like Cristiano Ronaldo at Al-Nassr. It is inheriting a Napoli that has just won the 3rd Scudetto in history, reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the first time and worked under a difficult president like De Laurentiis.
After receiving the task, Garcia will have to find a way to maintain the strength of the team that is likely to no longer have pillars like Kim Min-jae, Victor Osimhen or Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. Because president De Laurentiis is ready to sell all the stars if the price is available.
Napoli have been looking for a new coach following Spalletti’s departure, citing the need to rest. Obviously, coaching Napoli is a special and quite tiring job, in the always boiling atmosphere of a city that lives for its team.
Why Rudi Garcia?
Napoli contacted many famous coaches but ended up choosing Garcia. And this makes the fans feel quite disappointed. The French strategist once helped Lille win the Ligue 1 title in the 2010/11 season. However, he was sacked by Al-Nassr in April after a string of poor results in the Saudi Pro League. But why did De Laurentiis still decide to choose Garcia?
Ten days ago, when sketching Spalletti’s ideal successor, De Laurentiis explained: “I have a list, and we will have to consider the possibility of adapting to the 4-3-3 scheme of the company. We are like Napoli culture. I want the team to dare to play offensively rather than to be defensive or too pragmatic. The team needs to please the fans who love the beautiful football of Napoli.”
Luis Enrique was contacted but was soon removed from the list of candidates by De Laurentiis. He also denied the possibility of recruiting Antonio Conte – who is free after leaving Tottenham – because this coach preferred a three-midfield squad.
Napoli also contacted Vincenzo Italiano, but he decided to continue with Fiorentina. Meanwhile, Thiago Motta also doesn’t want to leave Bologna. Another candidate is Christophe Galtier, who has just been sacked by PSG because of a disappointing season. But in the end, it seems that De Laurentiis still prefers a coach with Serie A experience rather than a stranger like Galtier.
Garcia used to lead Roma from 2013-2015, winning 61, drawing 34 and losing 23 out of 118 matches. After parting ways with Roma, Garcia led Marseille, Lyon and Al-Nassr respectively. He has owned the club of Saudi Arabia since June 29, 2022, experienced 26 matches, won 18, drew 5, lost 3, win rate 69%. Garcia’s job loss is widely believed to be due to Ronaldo’s appearance causing Al-Nassr’s squad to be confused.
De Laurentiis met Rudi Garcia last week over a dinner. And he was convinced by the French strategist’s CV, speech and training record.
The strange charm of Garcia and Spalletti
Luciano Spalletti is the replacement of Rudi Garcia in the hot seat of AS Roma when the French strategist was fired in January 2016. And soon, Garcia will take over the Napoli coach from Spalletti.