Marseille appoints Garcia as coach ahead of PSG clash

PARIS (AP) " Rudi Garcia has been appointed as Marseille's new coach ahead of Sunday's league game against bitter rival Paris Saint-Germain.

Three days after American businessman Frank McCourt completed his takeover of the southern club, Marseille said on Thursday that Garcia will be in charge for the biggest game in French football at Parc des Princes.

Garcia, who was fired by Roma last season, signed a three-year deal with Marseille, where he replaces interim coach Franck Passi.

Garcia also coached French clubs Saint-Etienne, Dijon and Le Mans. Before joining Roma three years ago, he led Lille to a domestic double, winning the French Cup and Ligue 1 title in 2011.

Marseille, the only French team to win the Champions League back in 1993, has won the French title nine times but has fallen behind since PSG was taken over by Qatari investors five years ago.

Garcia quickly endeared himself to Roma fans by guiding the club to 10 straight wins to open the 2013-14 season. But he was replaced by Luciano Spalletti last January following a string of poor results. The Frenchman was hired in 2013 and Roma finished runner-up in his first two seasons.

"When I met Rudi, he told me right away that he wanted to win the Champions League," McCourt said. "I knew immediately he was the man for the Marseille coaching position."

McCourt, the 63-year-old former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has pledged to build a team that will be able to challenge PSG and promised fans he would push the club to the "highest ranks of European football."

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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