André Villas-Boas has ended his 18-month break from football coaching by officially signing a deal with Ligue 1 powerhouses Marseille. The Portuguese was presented to the French media on Tuesday afternoon, having put pen to paper on a two-year contract at the Stade Velodrome.
The arrival of Villas-Boas will take the number of Portuguese coaches in the French top flight next season to three, after Monaco confirmed Leonardo Jardim will remain as manager next season. The former Sporting boss has been linked with Italian sides Juventus and AC Milan over recent days, but appears set to remain with Les Monegasques.
Villas-Boas returns to football having last coached Shanghai SIPG in the Chinese CSL. The 41-year-old left Shanghai in November 2017 after turning down the club’s offer of a new contract, with the former Porto man announcing that he intended to “take a break from football” and pursue his interest in motorsports.
Upon announcing the club’s new manager on Tuesday, Marseille owner Frank McCourt said: “We are delighted to hire a coach whose success is recognized at the highest level in Europe and around the world. André Villas-Boas' philosophy and approach to the game aligns with what we want for OM and will help revitalize our project after a disappointing campaign. Our expectations are still great and we are making the changes necessary to achieve our goals.”
France will represent the 5th different country Villas-Boas has coached in, having had spells with FC Porto in his homeland, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in England, Zenit-Saint Petersburg, with whom he won the Russian Premier League and Russian Cup and the year-long tenure in China.
The Porto native becomes the tenth Portuguese to coach the first team of a club in Ligue 1. So far the most distinguished are Artur Jorge, who became French champion with Paris Saint-Germain in 1994 having won the Coupe de France the previous year, and Leonardo Jardim of Monaco who won the title in 2017. Currently, Jardim and Paulo Sousa (Bordeaux) are in positions ahead of next season.
History of Portuguese coaches in France’s top tier:
Artur Jorge (RC Paris 1987-89; Paris Saint-Germain 1991-94, 1998-99) Honours: Coupe De France 1993, Ligue 1 1994
Toni (Bordeaux 1994-95) Honours: UEFA Intertoto Cup 1995
Paulo Duarte (Le Mans 2009)
Sérgio Conceição (Nantes 2016-17)
Rui Almeida (Bastia 2017)
João Sacromento (Lille 2017)
Miguel Cardoso (Nantes 2018)
Leonardo Jardim (2014-2018, 2019-present) Honours: French Ligue 1 champions (2016/17)
Paulo Sousa (Bordeaux) 2019-present
André Villas-Boas (Marseille 2019-present)
Monaco: Jardim and Gelson staying
Leonardo Jardim appears set to remain with Monaco for next season after club president Oleg Petrov informed fans at a season ticket holders’ party that the Portuguese would not be leaving for Italy. Jardim has been linked with both AC Milan and Juventus in recent days, with Corriere dello Sport linking him particularly strongly to Milan earlier this week.
Jardim told press reporters after Monaco’s final match of the season on Friday that he expected to remain in charge, having saved the team from relegation but ended the campaign on a miserable run of results. “We need to not make the same mistakes as this year and say we will be there at the top when we do not have the team to do it,” Jardim warned.
Monaco president Petrov also confirmed the club are exercising their option to make Gelson Martins’ loan move from Atletico Madrid permanent. The former Sporting forward joined Les Monegasques in January until the end of the season and has made himself a key part of Jardim’s plans for the future.
By Sean Gillen