Football: Former France and Liverpool coach Gerard Houllier dies at 73, report French media

Gerard Houllier took the Reds to a Cup treble of the League Cup, the FA Cup and the Uefa Cup in the 2000-01 season. PHOTO: DAVEOCKOP/TWITTER

PARIS (REUTERS) - Tributes have poured in for former France football manager Gerard Houllier, who also managed Olympique Lyonnais, Paris St-Germain and Liverpool, has died, local media reported on Monday (Dec 14).

RMC sport and sports daily L'Equipe said he died aged 73 after having a heart operation in Paris.

"We are mourning the passing of our treble-winning manager, Gerard Houllier," Liverpool said on Twitter.

"The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with Gerard's family and many friends. Rest in peace, Gerard Houllier 1947-2020."

He had a long history of heart problems, dating back to when he was rushed to hospital at half-time of an English Premier League game between Liverpool and Leeds United in October 2001.

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, who scored two goals to win the 2001 FA Cup final against Arsenal when Houllier was in charge, was among many leading figures in English football to pay tribute to the Frenchman.

He wrote on Twitter: "Absolutely heartbroken to hear that my old boss, Gerard Houllier, has sadly passed away. A great manager and a genuinely caring man. #RIPBoss".

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher added: "Absolutely devastated by the news about Gerard Houllier, I was in touch with him only last month to arrange him coming to Liverpool.

"Loved that man to bits, he changed me as a person & as a player & got @LFC back winning trophies. RIP Boss."

After an insignificant playing career in France's lower leagues, Houllier began coaching in 1973, earning his first big job with Lens before taking over at PSG.

He became France's assistant coach in 1988 and then manager in 1992 but had a short, unsuccessful spell in charge and resigned after failing to take the team to the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

France have qualified for every World Cup since then, lifting the trophy in 1998 at home and 2018 in Russia.

Houllier focused on youth coaching immediately after the World Cup debacle but rebuilt his reputation at Liverpool, where he won the treble of the FA Cup, League Cup and Uefa Cup in 2001.

He also had success back in France with Lyon, leading them to back-to-back Ligue 1 titles.

He returned to management after taking a break in 2010 with Aston Villa but left the role the following year following further heart troubles.

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