Remi Garde to leave Lyon at season end
Remi Garde has announced he will step down as coach of Lyon at the end of the season as he feels "the need for a break."
Sitting alongside OL president Jean-Michel Aulas at a press conference on Tuesday, Garde, 48, told media he had declined the club's offer to extend his current deal beyond June, and would end his three-year tenure after Saturday's final Ligue 1 game against Nice.
"I feel the need for a break," Garde, who was in his first senior coaching role, said. "My way of life is not suited to the job of coach, which has its constraints but which I am very passionate about.
"I won't be in another dugout in July. I really need a break. I'm not concerned about the future now. I have to take a break to breathe. It was a difficult decision."
He added: "During these three years, my family has been with me. I need to get back to them to build up my reserves and come back strongly."
Ironically, it is Garde's predecessor, current Nice coach Claude Puel, who could prevent the former Arsenal midfielder going out on a high with OL requiring victory on the south coast to be certain of clinching fifth place and Europa League qualification.
"I would like to separate this announcement from the last match at Nice. It had to be done. The situation is easier to handle now. It was becoming difficult to cope with," Garde, who informed his squad of his decision only minutes before making it public, said. "I have every confidence my players will achieve the objective."
Garde was handed his first senior coaching role after Puel's own three-year stay at the Stade de Gerland ended trophyless. Garde was seen as the ideal man to implement the club's new policy of relying on their youth academy, having been its director before taking over the first team. The ex-OL and Strasbourg player brought talents such as Clement Grenier and Alexandre Lacazette to prominence, and won the Coupe de France in his first season in charge.
Garde also guided the team to fourth and third-placed finishes in his opening two league campaigns, and reached two Coupe de la Ligue finals to leave a daunting act for his successor to follow.
The favourite to succeed him is current Sochaux coach Herve Renard, but Aulas told media no decision has yet been taken on who will lead the team into the 2014-15 campaign.
"We have defined a profile. It's linked to the company's project, which is in strict accordance with financial fair play. We're not going to take a coach who doesn't speak French, or with a large backroom staff, but a coach who shares the same mentality as that with which OL has been made."