García in 2011
|Full name||Rudi García|
|Date of birth||20 February 1964|
|Place of birth||Nemours, France|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Rudi García's father, José, was a Spaniard expatriate who played football at a professional level for Sedan and Dunkerque. His grandparents had left Andalusia for the Ardennes region during the Spanish Civil War.
When José became the coach of local team Corbeil-Essonnes, he drafted his son into the squad, where Rudi played until cadet level. As Corbeil did not have a national cadets side, Rudi joined the Viry-Châtillon team. He was 18 when he obtained his baccalauréat and signed for Lille, where he would spend two years as an intern and four as part of the professional squad.
Playing as an attacking midfielder, García's first goal for Lille was a notable affair. In December 1984, Lille travelled to the Parc des Princes to face Paris Saint-Germain. With both sides tied at 2–2, García netted to earn his side a win over the Parisian club. He made about 170 appearances for the Northern club, which he left in 1988.
After Lille, García joined Caen, where he was coached by Robert Nouzaret and Daniel Jeandupeux. In 1991, he opted to join Martigues rather than signing on with the Normandy club. Serious injuries to his back and knee forced him to retire from professional football at the age of 28, in 1992.
Between 1992 and 1994, García stayed away from football pitches. He enrolled for university, and gained a DEUG and a STAPS degree at Orsay, as well as French qualifications that entitled him to manage a youth training centre. In parallel, he worked for CanalSatellite, first as a reporter for post-match interviews, and then as a studio pundit.
In 1995, García returned to Corbeil to manage the Division d' Honneur side with two months remaining in the season. He guided the club out of relegation. Then, in the seasons that followed, one ended with the club in mid-table and another in a second-place finish.
Between 1994 and 1996, García acted as player-manager for the club Île-de-France before taking on managerial duties only between 1996 and 1998.
In the late 1990s, for two years he was a physio. Then, he became a scout, studying opponents and assisting in the elaboration of Saint-Étienne's tactics. Gradually, his role shifted to that of an assistant coach, a position he occupied alongside Nouzaret as from July 2000 and John Toshack afterwards.
In early 2001, when Toshack returned to Spain, García took over first-team duties in collaboration with Jean-Guy Wallemme. Les Verts were then in the midst of a miserable season. Poor performances on the pitch were compounded by the club's implication in various affairs involving forged passports. The García/Wallemme duo failed to reverse the trend and, in May 2001, Saint-Étienne were effectively relegated to the French second division. The following month, Wallemme left the club while García was fired in August 2001. The two men, a decade later, would manage Lens and Lille respectively.
García resumed his activities as a football pundit. At the same time, he was passing his Diplôme d'Entraineur Professionel de Football, the French equivalent of the professional coaching badge. In the spring of 2002, he was contacted by Dijon and signed with them on 21 May 2002. He helped the club to climb to Ligue 2 in 2003–04. The Bourgogne club even appeared in the semi-final of the Coupe de France, where Châteauroux defeated it 2–0.
In June 2007, García left Dijon for Le Mans, another club he set on to transform in just one season. With players such as Romaric, Marko Baša and Yohann Pelé, the Sarthe club played some pleasant football which brought results as well. Le Mans ended in ninth position of Ligue 1 standings and reached the Coupe de la Ligue semi-final.
On 18 June 2008, García rescinded his contract with the club to join Lille, the club where he had spent six years as a player in the 1980s. In his first season, the North France club developed a stylish and attacking approach, contrasting with previous coach Claude Puel's cautious and often boring tactics.
García's approach ostensibly enabled players such as Ludovic Obraniak and Michel Bastos to develop, the latter becoming the club's top scorer in the league with 14 goals. García also gave significant playing time to promising youngster Eden Hazard, later of Chelsea.
On 2 June 2009, the board of directors sacked García, who had just led the club to their best league finish for three years and qualified it for the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League. It was alleged that the sacking was due to differences of opinion between the manager and a member of the board, Xavier Thuilot. The latter himself was sacked from the board later in the month and on 18 June 2009, Michel Seydoux, the club president and major shareholder, offered the manager position again to García, who accepted.
Aimé Jacquet, at the time, expressed his belief that the Nemours-born coach was one of the "brightest prospects" among French football managers. In a country otherwise reputed[by whom?] for the defensive approach approved by most of its coaches, García is seen, together with former Paris Saint-Germain manager Antoine Kombouaré, as part of a small group of managers who advocate attacking football as the best means to achieve results.
In the 2009–10 season, Lille continued to improve in the league, finishing one place above their fifth-place finish of 2008–09. With 72 goals scored, the club had the division's best attack, even bettering champions Marseille. This led French media and pundits to dub the entertaining side "the Barça of the North".
The 2010–11 season was the club's breakthrough. In May, García led les Dogues to triumph in the Coupe de France against PSG, their first win in the trophy since 1955. The same month, on 21 May, the league and cup double was complete, again after a game against PSG that ended in a 2–2 draw. In the Trophées UNFP du football, García was awarded the prize for best Ligue 1 coach of the 2010–11 season. During the ceremony, he dedicated his trophy to his late father José, even saying a few words in Spanish as a tribute to his father's origins.
Roma began the 2013–14 season by winning its first ten Serie A matches. The previous best ever start in the history of the Serie A belonged to Juventus in the 2005–06 season, when the Turin club won its first nine Serie A matches. Roma's perfect start to the 2013–14 Serie A season included a 2–0 derby win over city rivals Lazio, a 3–0 away victory against Internazionale and a 2–0 home win over title rivals Napoli. During this ten-match winning run, Roma scored 24 goals while conceding just one goal, away to Parma. Its Serie A ten-match winning streak came to an end on 3 November 2013 when it was held to a 1–1 draw at Torino. During that match, Roma conceded its first goal in 743 minutes of Serie A football. Roma, however, eventually finished second in the Serie A, a massive 17 points behind champions Juventus. In finishing second, Roma qualified for the following season's UEFA Champions League; its last appearance in the Champions League had been during the 2010–11 season.
Before the start of the 2014–15 season, García asked to bring in young talents and also experienced players for squad depth ahead of the next season. Roma has had an impressive summer transfers activity, where they bought young talent Juan Iturbe, Salih Uçan and Antonio Sanabria. Roma also signed Italian defender Davide Astori and veteran players Ashley Cole and Seydou Keita.
García's men began the 2014–15 Serie A campaign with 2–0 win over Fiorentina, with goals from Radja Nainggolan and Gervinho. Roma continued their winning form and won the second fixture in the league 1–0 against Empoli. García then lead Roma in their first Champions League appearance since 2010–11 to an impressive 5–1 victory against CSKA Moscow in their first match of Group E of the group stage. Roma finished third in the group and was hence transferred to the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League knockout phase.
On 5 October 2014, García was sent off by the referee during a Serie A match against Juventus after protesting the referee's decision to award Juve a penalty with a violin gesture. The controversial match ended with Juventus winning 3–2. After the match, García said, "It a pity that here [in Turin] the penalty area is 17 metres. But I'm happy with my team, who showed great personality. There were many incidents today but it was also a little bit of our fault that we lost." Roma ultimately finished the season in second place in the 2014–15 Serie A, 17 points behind Juventus, just like the previous season.
Roma was on top of the Serie A table after matchdays 9 and 10, in late October, of the 2015–16 season. The club had also qualified for the knockout phase of the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League by finishing in second place in their group with a tally of just six points.
On 13 January 2016, Garcia and his coaching assistants (Frédéric Bompard and Claude Fichaux) were sacked by Roma after a poor run during which the club managed to win only one out of their last ten matches in all competitions, and only one out of their last seven Serie A matches. Roma had been eliminated on home ground on penalties from the 2015–16 Coppa Italia at the first hurdle on 16 December 2015 by Serie B side Spezia. News of the decision to sack García came via Roma's official website, with club president James Pallotta thanking him for his efforts: "On behalf of myself and everyone at AS Roma, I would like to thank Rudi Garcia for all of his hard work since joining the club. We have all enjoyed some great moments during his time at Roma but we believe that this is the right time for a change." In his two-and-a-half years in the Roma dugout, Garcia recorded 60 wins, 32 draws and 22 defeats in 114 matches. On 20 October 2016, Roma confirmed that the contracts of Garcia and his coaching assistants had been terminated by mutual consent.
On 20 October 2016, on the same day that he was finally released from his AS Roma contract by mutual consent, García was appointed manager of Olympique de Marseille on a three-year deal. He succeeded the interim manager Franck Passi. García's appointment was made only three days after Frank McCourt completed the takeover of the club from Margarita Louis-Dreyfus by paying a reported 45 million euros. On 23 October, Marseille drew 0-0 away against Paris Saint-Germain in a Ligue 1 Le Classique match, García's first competitive match as manager of the club. He left the club on 22nd May 2019.
After the Paris Charlie Hebdo shooting in January 2015, García gave out symbolic pencils to all journalists at his press conference, saying, "What happened in Paris was an attack on freedom. But things mustn't change, this freedom should last forever."
- As of 24 May 2019
- "Rudi García at work" (in French). Le Bien Public. 22 May 2002. Archived from the original on 24 February 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
- "Rudi García the right call at Roma" by James Horncastle, ESPN, 15 June 2013
- "06/12/2013: RUDI GARCÍA". asroma.it. Rome: A.S. Roma. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- "Borriello header makes it a perfect ten for Roma". www.uefa.com. 31 October 2013.
- "Roma set record for best start to Serie A season". BBC Sport. 27 October 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
- "Torino halt Roma's run, Inter cruise to victory". www.uefa.com. 3 November 2013.
- "Roma sack coach Rudi García after run of one win in seven Serie A games". The Guardian. 13 January 2016.
- "Luciano Spalletti Officially Named Roma Manager After Sacking of Rudi Garcia". Bleacher Report. 13 January 2016.
- "Garcia contract terminated by mutual consent". AS Roma official website. 20 October 2016.
- "Marseille confirm Rudi Garcia's appointment". www.goal.com. 20 October 2016.
- "Marseille: Frank McCourt promises £180m investment after buying Ligue 1 club". BBC. 17 October 2016.
- "Former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt quickly makes moves after purchasing Marseille". Los Angeles Times. 21 October 2016.
- "Stubborn OM keep PSG at bay". www.ligue1.com. 23 October 2016.
- "Charlie Hebdo attack: French sporting stars pay tribute to dead". BBC Sport. 10 January 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2015.