Raymond Domenech: Former France boss named new Nantes manager

Raymond Domenech returns to management 10 years after leaving France amid World Cup fiasco in South Africa as players revolted in solidarity with Nicolas Anelka; 68-year-old previously led Les Bleus to 2006 World Cup final, losing to Italy on penalties

Raymond Domenech
Image: Raymond Domenech is a controversial figure in French football

Former France head coach Raymond Domenech has made a shock return to management at Ligue 1 club Nantes.

The 68-year-old has signed a short-term deal until the end of the season to replace Christian Gourcuff, who was sacked earlier in December.

Nantes had to wait to officially confirm Domenech's appointment as, under FFF rules, clubs are not permitted to appoint managers over the age of 65.

However, he was given a special permission to take up the post similarly to former Leicester and Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri when he also took over at Nantes in 2017.

Nantes sit in 16th spot in Ligue 1, three points off the relegation zone, and next host fourth-placed Rennes on January 6.

The former Le Blues boss said: "I am very happy and very proud to join today a mythical French club such as Nantes.

"I can not wait to get to work with the staff and to do everything possible for the club to once again find a place worthy of its rank."

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KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 21: French coach Raymond Domenech speaks to his team at a France training session during the FIFA 2010 World Cup at Pezula Field of Dreams on June 21, 2010 in Knysna, South Africa. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Image: France players went on strike ahead of the side's final 2010 World Cup group stage game against South Africa in solidarity with Nicolas Anelka

Domenech last managed France at the 2010 World Cup, where he infamously led Les Bleus to a premature group stage exit after finishing bottom of a group with South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay.

France's expedition to South Africa was overshadowed by the Knysna incident, as the squad went on strike and boycotted training in solidarity with Nicolas Anelka who was sent home by the French Football Federation for an altercation with Domenech at half-time in their 3-0 loss to Mexico.

Major figures in the France dressing room, including Thierry Henry and captain Patrice Evra, were then omitted for the final group stage loss against debutants South Africa.

Domenech left his post after the World Cup fiasco, bringing an end to his six-year tenure during which he also lost the 2006 World Cup final to Italy.

He has worked as a television pundit during his 10-year hiatus and has now sealed a remarkable return to club management despite his last role being at Lyon between 1988 and 1993.

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