LA LIGA

Montanier opts to quit Europe candidate Real Sociedad

High-flying Basque club only offered French coach a one-year contract extension

A file picture taken on June 8, 2011 shows French coach of the Spanish team Real Sociedad, Philippe Montanier.
A file picture taken on June 8, 2011 shows French coach of the Spanish team Real Sociedad, Philippe Montanier.RAFA RIVAS (AFP)

Real Sociedad on Tuesday confirmed that Philippe Montanier will leave his post as coach of the Basque high-flyers at the end of the season.

La Real had offered Montanier a new one-year deal but the French tactician had demanded a three-year agreement. Doubts over Montanier’s future have been rife for weeks, with reports that he has been in talks with Ligue 1 side Rennes. However, the timing of the decision between club and coach is hardly convenient: Real Sociedad sits fourth in La Liga, at the gates of Champions League qualification with just two games to play. Level on 62 points with Valencia, Real only has to match its rival’s results due to a superior head-to-head record.

Montanier arrived in San Sebastián in 2011 after a successful spell in France with Boulogne and Valenciennes. In his first season La Real finished 12th but at the beginning of the current campaign the Anoeta crowd turned against their coach after six defeats in the first 10 games and a King’s Cup loss to second-division side Córdoba.

But then Real Sociedad went on a run of 14 wins, 10 ties and just two losses playing expansive soccer and drawing praise from all quarters on a base of cantera graduates such as Xabi Prieto, Antoine Griezmann, Asier Illarramendi, Rubén Pardo and David Zurutuza. In fact, only six of the first team squad did not come through the ranks at Real Sociedad B. Now the relatively simple search will begin for a coach who fancies a potential shot at the Champions League next season.

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