One club man
The Castres-born midfielder spent his entire career at AS Monaco.
After spending seven years at youth level at his hometown club of Castres, located in the Midi-Pyrénées region of France, the 56-year-old made the switch to Monaco in 1977. Two years later, he made his professional debut for the club and, over a 17-year period, played over 450 games as a defensive midfielder. He was a Ligue 1 champion on two occasions, won the Coupe de France three times and also lifted the Trophée des Champions during his spell at Monaco.
A familiar face
Puel amassed over 450 league appearances in the principality, including a seven-year spell playing under current Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger. He also lined-up alongside the likes of Jürgen Klinsmann and Youri Djorkaeff during a fabled time at the club.
It is inevitable that after such a long and successful playing career, Puel would run into some old friends in the footballing world during his time as a manager. The former midfielder played under the Premier League’s longest serving active manager, Arsene Wenger, for seven years at Monaco. He won Ligue 1 in Wenger’s debut season in charge and also lifted the Coupe de France under the current Arsenal boss.
From manager to opponent
Life at Lille
The 56-year-old spent six years at Lille.
The French leagues have produced some talented players over the years, with City reaping the rewards of signing to likes of Riyad Mahrez, N’Golo Kanté and Anthony Knockaert from there in recent seasons. Scorer of the goal that confirmed the Foxes’ status as Premier League champions in 2016, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard worked his way up through the ranks at Ligue 1 outfit Lille, where he was managed by Puel for two seasons. Puel has also previously handed senior debuts to Premier League stars Yohan Cabaye (Lille) and Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon).
A fair stint
Success in France
Claude Puel also guided Nice to two fourth-placed finishes.
The Castres-born manager’s six consecutive seasons at Lille saw him become one of the French Ligue 1’s longest serving managers of all time. He also spent two years at Monaco, three seasons at Lyon and four years at Nice, before making the switch from France to England to manage Southampton in 2016.
Puel’s Wembley bow
A maiden Wembley appearance
Puel watches on from the Wembley technical area.
Having previously managed in the French league for the entirety of his career, Puel’s one year spent in the Premier League last season proved to be a productive one. He guided Southampton to an eighth-place finish alongside a campaign in the Europa League in which they beat Italian giants Internazionale. But it was the League Cup that the Saints were most successful in, as they defeated Crystal Palace, Sunderland, Arsenal and Liverpool en route to a final appearance against Manchester United. They were eventually beaten 3-2 at Wembley Stadium, but will no doubt be hoping to go one better with City, who advanced to the quarter-finals on Tuesday night.
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