Niko Kovac is the new trainer in the ejection seat of former champions AS Monaco. World Cup hero Mario Götze is traded as a new addition.
For Niko Kovac, the new task in the ejection seat of AS Monaco started almost like a paradise. With a clear blue sky and the Mediterranean in sight, the ex-Bayern Munich coach led his first session at the La Turbie training center on Monday, less than 24 hours after being signed in the principality. Without fans and without journalists, but with an attractive and risky task in front of your chest.
“This is a big project, a big challenge. But we like it,” said Kovac, who is supposed to get the Monegasque back on track with his brother Robert. In 2017, the club was still in the middle of the PSG hegemony, but has lagged far behind since then. In the season that had just broken off, it was only enough for ninth place.
Kovac should now change that. “For me, this is the right thing to open a new chapter. This is my fourth country, I’m already enjoying Monaco. It looks a bit like Croatia,” said Kovac after a trip from Nice Airport to the sophisticated city-state. He signed there with a red ballpoint pen for three years and immediately announced that he wanted to take English as soon as possible. “We can speak French, I have to learn that,” said the 48-year-old.
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However, the task is likely to be much more difficult than language. The club, led by Russian billionaire Dmitri Rybolowlew, is known for its impatience, Kovac has been the fifth coach since late 2018, including Thierry Henry.
Spain’s former national coach Robert Moreno only had to leave after six months on Saturday, the day before he had supervised the team in the test against Cercle Brugge. On Wednesday against Standard Liège, Kovac will take the lead, almost nine months after being released in Munich. The French season starts on August 22nd.
Then an old friend from the Bundesliga could also be in the squad: Mario Götze, who was retired from Borussia Dortmund, is said to have aroused the club’s interest, but AC Florence and FC Sevilla are also said to be in the race. In any case, a move abroad seems likely for the Rio World Cup hero, who is currently in one of his league colleagues kicker– Survey on “relegation of the season” was chosen.
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Kovac will now primarily discuss these and other questions with Paul Mitchell. The Englishman has been Monaco’s new sports director for a few days and is considered the driving force behind the Kovac commitment.
Like Kovac, Mitchell has a past in the Red Bull cosmos, most recently he worked as chief scout at RB Leipzig. “Niko stands for experience at the highest level. His energy and vision make him the coach the club needs,” said Mitchell.
In any case, Kovac should not be short of money, in recent years Monaco has just thrown itself around with the millions. Now Kovac should deliver results. After all: He took his first test with flying colors, before entering the training area the fever measurement was 36.6 degrees. Kovac was allowed to pass – and face his new challenge.