Cristiano Ronaldo’s former Al Nassr manager has been backed to win the Champions League in his new job.
Rudi Garcia has been named by Serie A winners Napoli as their replacement for Luciano Spalletti who made a shock departure after guiding the team to their first title in 33 years.
Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis decided on the Frenchman after an exhaustive search, despite his most recent job being in Saudi Arabia.
There, he coached Ronaldo upon his arrival from Manchester United in December, but things didn’t go to plan.
Al Nassr dropped away from title contention, and Garcia was sacked in April, with the Saudi Pro League side eventually ending the season trophyless.
Reports at the time from Saudi via Spanish outlet AS claimed that Ronaldo influenced the decision, with a dressing room confrontation between Garcia and his squad ending his tenure.
Ronaldo was said to have let the club know of his frustration with the coach, as his extremely high standards were put on show when he hit out at opponents for time wasting during a 0-0 draw against Al Feiha.
Despite the Portuguese’s apparent dislike of Garcia, a 2011 Ligue 1 winner with Lille, he’s now back at the very top of the game with Napoli.
Some fans are underwhelmed by the appointment, but his former assistant at Roma, Frederic Bompard has no doubts at all.
Speaking to L’Equipe, he said: “Rudi is one of the best coaches in Europe.
“When I saw that Spalletti was leaving, I immediately thought that the Napoli president would take him. He always liked him, it was inevitable.
“Rudi dreams of winning the Champions League and there I believe he can succeed, the time has come for him. Something tells me he will win it with Napoli.”