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By ESPN Staff

Houllier tells players he's quitting Lyon

LYON, France, May 25 (Reuters) - Former France and Liverpool coach Gerard Houllier stepped down as Olympique Lyon coach on Friday.

Witnesses told Reuters Houllier had informed his players he was quitting.

Houllier, 59, who joined the six-times champions in 2005, helped them win Ligue 1 titles in 2006 and again this year.

He had said several times he would still coach Lyon next season but that did not stop the rumours that he might leave and they turned out to be true.

Lyon are still in a class of their own in France but what they desperately wanted was to make an impact in Europe, which they failed to do, falling to AS Roma in the first knockout round of the Champions League.

Houllier has also had to deal with internal discontent following his decision to leave Brazilian defender Claudio Cacapa, the former Lyon captain, out of his starting line-up.

Houllier has been linked with a job as a technical director at the French Football Federation (FFF). He denied last week having been approached by Dynamo Kiev.

French media have named former France captain Didier Deschamps, the current Juventus coach, as a possible replacement for Houllier at Lyon.