With Paris Saint-Germain close to clinching an 11th Ligue 1 title, coach Christophe Galtier might have been expected to collect some laurels.
Instead, he is not sure he’ll be in charge next season, and even his peers are snubbing him.
Galtier was omitted this week from a coach-of-the-season shortlist that includes second-place Lens coach Franck Haise, Marseille’s Igor Tudor, Clermont’s Pascal Gastien, Lille’s Paulo Fonseca and Toulouse’s Philippe Montanier.
Every coach in the top division was asked to nominate colleagues, and Galtier did not secure enough votes. The same happened to predecessor Mauricio Pochettino, who led PSG to its record-equaling 10th league title last season but did not make the cut and was later fired.
Given the high expectations created by the armada of stars playing for PSG, winning a French league title is clearly not enough to make a season a successful one.
Even if the challenges posed by Lens and Marseille this season have been consistent, PSG’s incapacity to fare well in the Champions League has been eclipsing the rest.
“It’s surprising and somehow also unfair,” former France coach Raymond Domenech, now the president of the coaches’ union, told L’Equipe newspaper. “Even if Christophe has the best team, being champion is not as simple as people think. He had to manage his stars, in a peculiar season with the World Cup in the middle. It’s not an easy thing to do.”
And it’s true that PSG’s downfall started after Lionel Messi guided Argentina to victory against France and Kylian Mbappé in a World Cup final that pitted club teammates against each other.
Lens beat PSG on New Year’s Day, handing Galtier’s team its first defeat of the season and triggering a series of dismal performances that culminated with a second straight elimination from the round of 16 in the Champions League.
PSG has lost nine games in all competitions in 2023, a poor record likely to lead to Galtier’s departure, even though his contract runs until the end of the 2024 season.
In addition to his star-studded team’s mediocre performances, Galtier has been destabilised by allegations he made racist and anti-Muslim comments when he was in charge of French club Nice.
Despite the unhealthy atmosphere, Galtier has been able to keep PSG in the lead and now seems poised to help his team become the first club to spend an entire season at the top.
PSG, which plays at Auxerre on Sunday, has a six-point lead over Lens with three games remaining. A victory this weekend would secure the title if Lens does not beat Lorient.
Galtier remains cautious, though.
“Nothing is decided yet,” he said. “Among my squad, I see players who want to be French champions. But Lens doesn’t give up and we remain within reach.”
- Nischal wins silver with new national record at Shooting World Cup in Rio
- Asian Games 2023: Mongolia women’s cricket team dismissed for 15 in tournament opener against Indonesia
- ICC World Cup 2023: BCCI presents golden ticket to Rajnikanth
- MotoGP 2023 Title Race: Onus on Martin to maximise chances as Bagnaia looks to regain fitness
- Liverpool will give Europa League full respect, says Klopp