PARIS (Reuters) - Ligue 1 club AS Monaco fired coach Leonardo Jardim on Thursday following a poor start to the season which has left last season’s runners-up 18th in the 20-team table.
The 44-year-old Portuguese had been in charge for just over four seasons during which the team had performed consistently well with the high point in 2016-17 when they won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals.
But, after winning 3-1 at Nantes on the opening day of the season, Monaco failed to win any of their subsequent eight league games and lost to Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in Champions League Group A, which also includes Club Bruges.
After going down 2-1 at home to Rennes in Ligue 1 on Sunday, they are stuck in the relegation playoff spot with six points, one more than bottom side Guingamp.
“Monaco have ended their collaboration with Leonardo Jardim,” the club said in a statement. “The entire club wish Leonardo and his coaching staff all the best for the next stage of their careers.”
Jardim said: “I am grateful and proud to have trained AS Monaco for more than four years. I always gave my best and worked with passion. We had some great victories together and I will always keep those memories.”
French and British media have reported that former France international Thierry Henry is the favourite the replace him.
Jardim previously coached Camacha, Chaves, Beira-Mar and Sporting in Portugal and Olympiakos Piraeus in Greece.
Born in Venezuela to Portuguese parents, he was appointed by Monaco in June 2014 and led them to third place finishes in his first two seasons in charge.
In 2016-17, Monaco upstaged big-spending Paris St Germain to end the capital club’s run of four successive titles, before finishing second last term.
“I want to congratulate Leonardo... for all the work he has done. Leonardo established himself as a reference point in Europe and left a very positive balance,” said Monaco vice-present Vadim Vasilyev.
“His time here will remain as one of the most beautiful pages in the history of the club. Leonardo will always be part of the AS Monaco family.”
Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond and Ken Ferris