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Luis Fernandez

Luis Fernandez
Complete Name: Luis Fernandez
Nationality: French
Place of Birth: Tarifa, Spain
Date of Birth: 02/10/1959
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 70 kg
National Team: France
Current Club: Retired
Position: Defensive Midfielder


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Club career history

HAVE Minguettes (France), St-Priest (France), Paris Saint-Germain (France), RC Paris (France), AC Cannes (France)




Luis Fernandez (born on October 2, 1959 in Tarifa, Spain) is a former French football (soccer) defensive midfielder who retired in 1993 to become a manager. He has managed AS Cannes and Paris Saint-Germain among other clubs, and is the individual credited with bringing Ronaldinho to Europe. Currently he is the head coach of Beitar Jerusalem.

As an active player, Fernandez got 60 international caps and 6 goals for the French national team, between 1982 and 1992.


It was at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) that Luis Fernandez signed his first professional contract, at 19 years of age. Quickly he established himself as a solid defensive midfielder, excelling in winning the ball, but also capable of precise passing, and at the end of the year 1982 he was called up for the French national team and debuted against the Netherlands on November 10, 1982. At only 23 years, Luis Fernandez was immediately an important part of the team that only months earlier had been semi-finalists of the 1982 World Cup. He formed the national midfield with such French national greats as Jean Tigana in the defensive midfield, and the offensive players Alain Giresse and Michel Platini, a midfield that became known as the "magic square". With the national team, Fernandez won the Euro 1984 at home in France, and reached the semi-final of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. At the time of this tournament

After the elimination from the 1986 World Cup, and just after he had won the French Ligue 1 championship with PSG, Fernandez made the decision to join Jean-Luc Lagardere's team Racing Club de Paris. But in spite of a team that was strong on paper, the club and Fernandez didn't succeed, and he left Racing after three seasons. Following the 1986 World Cup, the French national team did not manage to qualify for Euro 1988 and the 1990 World Cup.

From Racing, Fernandez went to AC Cannes in 1989, a more modest club with a friendlier environment. He was still a part of the French national team in spite of a declining physique. Not a starting player under new national team manager Michel Platini, Fernandez would play the role of a late joker, with the job to clinch a result at the end of the match. Fernandez took part in the Euro 1992, where France were eliminated in the group stage, and Fernandez decided to end his international career. On th club level AC Cannes were relegated to Ligue 2 at the end of the 1991-1992 season, but Fernandez decided to remain with the club and end his career when his contract ran out. But Fernadez wasn't allowed a slow retirement, when after a few weeks, AC Cannes decided to entrust Luis Fernandez with the post of manager. Fernandez thus finished the season as a coach-player, and led Cannes back to Ligue 1 at the end of the season, and definitively switched to the career as a manager.


After the promotion of AC Cannes to the Ligue 1, Luis Fernandez continued his work at the club and qualified for the UEFA Cup. He won the Best Trainer of Ligue 1 award at the end of the season 1993-1994, on grounds of Fernandez' alluring philosphy of offensive tactics with a use of young players. The profile of Fernandez particularly interested Paris Saint-Germain. Despite winning the Ligue 1 championship and a good run in the European Cup, PSG failed to play attractive football, partly because of the Portuguese trainer Artur Jorge, who applied a more rigid strategic system. The board of PSG saw in Fernandez the ideal manager to form the image of the club.

The first season of Luis Fernandez in Paris Saint-Germain was a success. Even though PSG was quickly outdistanced in the Ligue 1 championship race by an irresistible FC Nantes side, PSG managed to win the two national Cups, the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue, as well as an impressive performance in the UEFA Champions League concluded by an elimination in the semi-finals by AC Milan. The strongest displays by Fernandez and the PSG team being the quarterfinal win, over two matches, against the great FC Barcelona side of Johan Cruyff. The second season at PSG, saw the beginning of the end for Fernandez. Outdistanced once more in Ligue 1, PSG found a fresh breath of air in the European competitions, where they won the European Cup Winners Cup after victory in the final against Rapid Vienna, making Fernandez the first French trainer victorious in one of the Cups of Europe. This prestigious victory was not sufficient to keep Fernandez in the PSG seat however, following the the missed championship, Fernandez left Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the 1995-1996 season.

Fernandez was then contacted by Athletic Bilbao from the Spanish La Liga, a club Fernandez managed to qualify for the Champions League, and where he would spend four seasons.

In 2000, Fernandez returned to France and in December that year he once more took the seat at PSG, replacing Philippe Bergeroo. Even though he was in charge of a team of such stars as Jay-Jay Okocha, Nicolas Anelka and especially Ronaldinho, Fernandez never got the results to satisfy the ambitions of the club. In spite of the support of the fans with whom his popularity always remained very strong, Luis Fernandez was fired at the end of the 2002-2003 season, after two and half years.

Six months later, Luis was in Spain, brought into the RCD Espanyol team in December 2003 to save them from near certain relegation, and at the end of the season Fernandez had succeeded in keeping the club in the Spanish top flight. After one year of inactivity, Luis Fernandez took a more low-profile job in June 2005 as the manager of Al Rayyan in Qatar, a club which he decided to leave in November 2005 in order to join the Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem in the capacity of general manager as well as trainer.

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