Claude Makelele leaves Swansea to become boss of Belgians KAS Eupen
Last Updated: 06/11/17 11:58am
Claude Makelele has left his position as assistant coach at Premier League strugglers Swansea to become head coach at KAS Eupen in Belgium.
Swans boss Paul Clement added Makelele to his coaching staff at the Liberty Stadium in January, having worked alongside him under Carlo Ancelotti at Paris Saint-German.
But the 44-year-old is to return to management at KAS Eupen, who are currently bottom of the top flight in Belgium.
Makelele revealed that he turned down the opportunity to step into management towards the end of last season, because he wanted to remain in south Wales to help the club secure top-flight status.
"You never know if it's the right time to take the step into management," he said. "But I've been given a good opportunity and a good project to manage for the next few years.
"I've learnt a lot at Swansea, but I want to keep learning. This opportunity at Eupen will hopefully enable me to do that.
"I will always keep one eye on how Swansea are doing and I wish everyone there all the success in the world."
Makelele's arrival, together with Clement, coincided with the upturn in results which saw Swansea escape relegation last season, eventually finishing 15th in the Premier League.
He will take over a Belgian team who are only one point adrift at the bottom, despite winning just two of their first 14 games.
However, last weekend KAS Eupen scored two last-gasp goals to draw 4-4 at fourth-placed Sint-Truiden.
"I've really enjoyed my time at Swansea, especially helping the club secure its Premier League status last season," said Makelele.
"I'd like to thank the owners, chairman and the manager for giving me the opportunity. The experience has given me a lot of positives to help me in my managerial career in the future - and I hope I've been able to give something back to the club along the way.
"It's a wonderful football club; a real family club that's been a pleasure to serve. I'd like to thank everyone for the welcome and help I've received in Swansea from the backroom staff to the fans."
Makelele's previous managerial experience saw him undertake a five-and-a-half month spell in charge of French club Bastia in 2014.
The former France, Real Madrid, Chelsea and PSG midfielder's final involvement with Swansea came in the weekend's home defeat to Brighton.
That defeat saw the Welsh side drop into the relegation zone with eight points from 11 games but Makelele is confident the squad has the quality to turn the club's fortunes around.
"Yes, things are difficult on the pitch at the moment, but I'd urge everyone to stay patient," he added.
"I know Paul (Clement) will make a success of it. The work he is doing on the training ground is excellent and it will eventually transfer to the games.
"I think two wins will be enough to raise confidence and get things going again. The quality is there to get out of trouble, but it is very important the fans stick with the team. You have to understand that it's a young team and they need help."
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