Courbis makes Montpellier return
© AFP

Struggling Ligue 1 side Montpellier on Saturday unveiled Rolland Courbis, their controversial former boss, as their new manager. Courbis, 60, who has signed a two-and-a-half year deal, returns for a second stint at the club 48 hours after the resignation of Jean Fernandez.

Fernandez, who only took up the post at the beginning of the season, quit after guiding Montpellier to just two wins in 16 matches. That poor run of results has left the side hovering five points above the relegation zone.

Courbis, the Marseille-born son of a policeman, helped Montpellier win promotion to the top flight in 2009, but was then let go after falling out with club president Louis Nicollin. 

"You know well that it's the supporters who are in control," said Nicollin. "And as they want Courbis, we'll have him if he's available. At least this way they won't give us any more hassle."

Montpellier's latest boss is one of the more colourful characters in the French game. Given two ll's in his christian name by his father "so he can fly higher" Courbis was a libero in his playing days. He was placed on Marseille's books at the age of 13, lying to the coach Mario Zatelli that he was no longer needed at school.

He went on to play for Monaco, with whom he won two French league titles to add to the one he secured with Marseille, and the French Cup. Among the many clubs he went on to manage once his playing career ended in 1985 were Toulon, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Ajaccio and his hometown side Marseille.

His 1997-1999 spell at the Velodrome included a memorable defeat of the then reigning European champions Manchester United.