Luis Enrique was named Paris Saint-Germain’s new coach on Wednesday on a two-year contract, but his appearance was overshadowed by persistent questions about Kylian Mbappe’s future.
The 53-year-old former Barcelona coach has been a free agent since being sacked by Spain in December, replacing Christophe Galtier after his departure was confirmed earlier in the day.
Luis Enrique was joined by Qatar-backed club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi at a news conference at their new training center in Poissy, northwest of the French capital.
Luis Enrique said in a club statement: “I am delighted to join PSG and enjoy a new experience.”
“It’s been exciting meeting new people, living in the city, learning new languages and above all managing PSG.”
However, he was evasive when asked if he had secured any guarantees that superstar striker Mbappe would stay at the club for the upcoming season.
The Spaniard later insisted he was “counting on all players under contract”.
However, Khelaifi said the 24-year-old “must sign a new contract” if he wants to stay at PSG next season.
“The position is very clear. If Kylian wants to stay, he has to sign a new contract. We cannot let the best player in the world today leave for free. It’s impossible,” Khelaifi said.
“He said he wasn’t going to leave for free. If someone changes their mind, it’s not my fault.”
Mbappe announced last month that he would not extend his contract, which expires next year.
Therefore, the club must sell the player within the current transfer window, or they will likely lose him for nothing when his deal ends.
Real Madrid wanted to sign Mbappe a year ago when he signed a new contract in Paris. Should the striker end up moving, the Spanish giants are the most likely to sign him.
The new coach is the eighth man to lead the club since Qatar took over in 2011 and, like his predecessors, will be tasked with leading the team to league success. Champions League This has proven elusive so far.
Paris Saint-Germain have never won Europe’s most prestigious club competition and came closest when they lost to Bayern Munich in the 2020 final.
They have reached the last 16 in five of the past seven seasons, losing to Bayern at this stage in the most recent season. The defeat proved costly for Galtier.
Good news for Neymar?
Luis Enrique has Champions League pedigree as Barcelona coach in 2015, leading a side featuring Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez Luis Suarez won the Champions League.
Messi has now joined the club in its latest rebuild after leaving after two years at the club.
The identity of the new coach could be good news for Neymar, who has been linked with leaving the Parc des Princes.
The Brazilian spent three glorious years at Camp Nou under Luis Enrique, in which Barca won La Liga twice, the Copa del Rey three times, the UEFA Super Cup, the Club World Cup and the Champions League. League champion.
As PSG prepare to start pre-season training, several high-profile new arrivals are expected to be confirmed, with plans to travel to Japan later this month.
Paris will start their defense of the Ligue 1 champions against Lorient on the weekend of August 12-13.
Luis Enrique left Barca in 2017 and became Spain manager in 2018. However, he resigned in June 2019 and announced the death of his nine-year-old daughter from bone cancer two months later.
In November of the same year, he returned to the Spanish team, leading the team to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and the final of the UEFA Nations League in 2021, but was sacked after being eliminated in the round of 16 of last year’s World Cup on penalties. Morocco.
Galtier was only in charge for one season, with another year remaining on his contract, but his departure was expected.
He led Paris Saint-Germain to the league title, but that success was overshadowed by a Champions League exit.
The final weeks of Galtier’s reign were also marred by racist comments he made about players during his last stint at Nice.
He vehemently denies the allegations but is due to stand trial in the case in December.