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Jun 14, 2013

Girard appointed Lille boss

Rene Girard has been appointed as the new coach of Lille, succeeding Rudi Garcia in the dugout at the Grande Stade Lille Metropole.

Garcia, 49, quit the Ligue 1 outfit to take over at Roma this week, and 59-year-old Girard had been many pundits' favourite to take over at the northern club.

"Lille has had just two coaches since I took on my post in 2002," Michel Seydoux said in a press release confirming the appointment. "It's Rene Girard we've chosen today to assure the future of the LOSC with, I am totally convinced, the same loyalty and the same success.

"I knew the coach, the educator, the tactician and his successes. I've discovered a man of great quality, passionate, healthy and hard-working. For the LOSC and in its best interests, I'm proud and happy to see Rene join our club."

Girard, who has reportedly signed a three-year contract, will be presented to the media at the club's training centre at 12:00 CET on Saturday.

The former France Under-21 coach had been out of a job after his Montpellier contract expired at the end of the season.

The Lille hierarchy reportedly met representatives of supporters' groups at the club's training centre on Thursday in an attempt to allay fans' fears about the temperamental Girard, who has been criticised by LOSC followers on social networks.

The former France international midfielder led Montpellier to the Ligue 1 title in 2011-12. However, after seeing star striker Olivier Giroud sold to Arsenal last summer and centre-back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to Newcastle in January, his side struggled last season as they eventually finished ninth.

He had reportedly met Lille representatives prior to the end of the campaign to discuss replacing Garcia, although Zulte Waregem coach Francky Dury and Borussia Monchengladbach's Lucien Favre were also interviewed by Seydoux in Paris this week.

After his success with Montpellier, which saw him get the most from journeymen players and promote talented youngsters, Girard was seen by Lille, and particularly deputy director-general Frederic Paquet, as the ideal man for the club's current situation.

Having failed to qualify for Europe under Garcia last season, a number of key first-team players are poised to leave, meaning Girard will have to attempt to recreate the winning formula he found in Montpellier.

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