Luis Campos PSG Director Of Football

Luis Campos PSG’s New Football Advisor

In a decision that sent shockwaves through the footballing world, Paris Saint-Germain announced a new contract until 2025 for Kylian Mbappé with the French superstar’s prior deal set to expire in four weeks. In doing so, they have warded off interest from Real Madrid and justified their decision to reject Los Blancos’ bid of €200 million in August. After a summer that saw them bring in Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Lionel Messi on free transfers and purchase Nuno Mendes and Achraf Hakimi, Les Parisiens have once again showcased their financial weight in a three-year deal that will see Mbappé become the club’s highest-paid player with a signing bonus of ​​€300 million and an annual salary of ​​€100 million after-tax. He will also have a say in the club’s next sporting director and manager – Mauricio Pochettino’s future looks uncertain, whilst Leonardo’s three-year spell as PSG’s Sporting Director has also come to an end. It seems all but certain that Luis Campos will take charge of the sporting director position alongside fellow Portuguese Antero Henrique, who served as Porto’s Director of Football for a decade and spent two years at PSG before being replaced by Leonardo in 2019.

Campos’ Monaco Side

Paris Saint-Germain have won every single Ligue 1 title since 2012/13 apart from two years – losing to Monaco in 2016/17 and Lille in 2020/21, two teams that were in large part constructed by Campos, 57, who began coaching in Portugal’s lower leagues with Leiria and would go on to reach the Primeira, managing Aves, Penafiel, Leça, Gil Vicente, hometown club Esposende twice, Vitória de Setúbal and Varzim before returning to Gil in 2003. On April 3, 2004, his Gil side defeated Porto 2-0 and snapped José Mourinho’s side’s 27-game unbeaten run in Barcelos, their first league defeat of the season. Whilst Porto would go on to win their second straight league title with an eight-point advantage over Benfica, they would etch their names into history in Europe, defeating Manchester United, Lyon, and Deportivo la Coruña before beating Monaco 3-0 in the UEFA Champions League Final.

Campos left Barcelos shortly after and lasted briefly at Beira-Mar before deciding to take a new career path and become José Mourinho’s chief scout at Real Madrid in 2012, where he would last just one year before the Special One elected to return to Chelsea. Rather than join him in his West London adventure, Campos headed to France and became Monaco’s new sporting director. It was less than two years ago that the club found themselves rock bottom of Ligue 2 on December 11 before Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev acquired 66.7% of the club. A dismal start of the season that would see them occupy the relegation zone from September to March quickly turned around, as Monaco strung together a run of wins to finish 8th. The following year, they’d finish first and earn promotion to the top-flight thanks to the stewardship of new manager Claudio Ranieri. In order to prepare for Ligue 1, Monaco put together a massive spending spree that would see James Rodríguez join from Porto and link up with fellow Colombian Radamel Falcao, who arrived from Atlético de Madrid. Geoffrey Kondogbia and Jeremy Toulalan returned to France after a brief spell in Spain, whilst Anthony Martial, Eric Abidal, Ricardo Carvalho, Sergio Romero and more also arrived. The result? Monaco finished second in Ligue 1, nine points behind Laurent Blanc’s PSG, and lost to Guingamp in the Coupe de France semifinals.

Despite this impressive finish, Campos decided to replace Ranieri with a 40-year-old Portuguese coach by the name of Leonardo Jardim, who had led Sporting to a second-place finish the prior season thanks to a spine of promising youngsters like William Carvalho, Cedric Soares and Adrien Silva. And in sharp contrast to last summer’s big-money splurge, the Portuguese director would focus on younger players such as Bernardo Silva, Tiemoué Bakayoko and Aymen Abdennour.

Campos revealed in a 2017 interview with Yahoo: “The patronage investment was over. It was impossible for Mr Rybolovlev to continue to put many millions into the club. We would have to build success in another way, and in this respect, I feel like the architect of a process that ended for me with the construction of this superteam of 16/17. 

Les Monégasques would go on to finish third in Ligue 1 behind PSG and Lyon, lose in the Coupe de la Ligue at the semifinals stage, and exiting the Champions League and Coupe de France in the quarterfinals. Another third-place finish followed in 2015/16 as well as some earlier cup exits after a summer that saw Fabinho, Jemerson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Stephen El Shaarawy, among others, join the club. An ordinary campaign that would perhaps be marked by one moment more than anything else – on December 2, 2015, Kylian Mbappé made his debut for Monaco, becoming the youngest-ever first-team player in club history at 16 years and 347 days and breaking Thierry Henry’s 21-year-record.

Campos would leave his post in August 2015, and the following year, Monaco would add Kamil Glik, Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibé in the summer window, who, alongside goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and Jemerson, would make the bedrock of Jardim’s defence. In midfield, Lemar and Silva operated on the flanks whilst Fabinho and Bakayoko operated in the double pivot, with Mbappé and Radamel Falcao typically playing up top, whilst the likes of João Moutinho, Andrea Raggi and Valere Germain offered depth. Whilst Campos had left two years prior, the bulk of the squad was built by the Portuguese, with only Glik, Mendy and Sidibé arriving after his exit. Monaco reached the semifinals of the Coupe de France where they would lose 5-0 to PSG, whilst they lost 4-1 to PSG in the Coupe de la Ligue Final. It was Monaco who had the last laugh, however, as Jardim’s side finished eight points above Les Parisiens with an astonishing 95 points, the first time PSG failed to win the title since 2012. If their domestic achievements didn’t catch the rest of the world’s attention, their European exploits certainly did: Monaco defeated Fenerbahce and Villarreal to book their ticket to the Champions League group stage, where they would top their group of Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham Hotspur and CSKA Moscow. They would defeat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, erasing a 5-3 first-leg deficit, before thrashing Borussia Dortmund and losing to Juventus in the semifinals. After a historic campaign, Monaco would go on to cash in on Mendy, Silva, Bakayoko and Mbappé for mouthwatering amounts, whilst Campos began a new chapter in the north of France as Lille’s Sporting Director.

His Lille Masterpiece

After a disastrous first half of the 2017/18 campaign under the short tenure of Marcelo Bielsa, Campos brought in former Saint-Ètienne manager Christophe Galtier to take the reins midway through the season as Les Dogues narrowly survived relegation on the final day. A fire sale ensued, with Yves Bissouma, Ibrahim Amadou, Kevin Malcuit and more leaving as Campos desperately tried to shore up funds before bringing in nine players for a combined fee of €8.9 million. These arrivals included Rafael Leão, Zeki Celik, Jonathan Ikoné, Jonathan Bamba, José Fonte and current Atlético Madrid fullback Reinildo Mandava, the latter of whom being their sole January recruitment. One year after finishing 17th, one point above the drop, Lille would finish second thanks in large part to a 22-goal haul from Nicolas Pépé, who arrived in the summer of 2017 from Angers. Perhaps the highlight of the season came on April 14, 2019, when Les Dogues thrashed eventual champions PSG 5-1 in Villeneuve-d’Ascq.

Lille would cash in on Leão, Pépé and Thiago Mendes for mouth-watering sums before shrewdly rebuilding with signings such as Victor Osimhen, Benjamin André and Tiago Djaló, finishing fourth in the COVID-shortened season. They would once again rebuild in the wake of the pandemic with Osimhen heading to Napoli and Gabriel Magalhães joining Arsenal, but the arrivals of Burak Yilmaz, Sven Botman and Jonathan David nevertheless provided them with ample firepower. However, their title ambitions found itself in choppy waters as owner Gérard Lopez, who brought in Campos shortly after purchasing the club, was forced to sell the club after succumbing to pressure from his major creditors, Elliott Management and JP Morgan Chase. The COVID-19 pandemic’s economic crisis, a bloated wage bill, a loss-making stadium move in 2012, and the collapse of the LFP’s broadcasting rights deal with Mediapro left the club saddled with debts, as Campos eventually departed the project at the halfway point of the season. Once again, he was unable to taste the champagne and witness his masterpiece come to fruition, as Lille pulled off the unthinkable and pipped Paris Saint-Germain to the title.

Throughout his career, Campos has thrived on doing more with less, working on shoestring budgets and bringing in up-and-coming talents rather than purveying the trollies of A-list superstars. Today, he arrives at a club with an unparalleled budget and a world-class squad, a club that is coming off two disappointing Champions League and Coupe de France eliminations, but that nevertheless has bought itself some leeway and patience with a three-year contract renewal for arguably the finest player in world football. Whether he can build a squad around Mbappé and shape them into a Champions League-winning team, only time will tell.

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Author: editor

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