MONTE CARLO, Principality of Monaco (AFP) - Leonardo Jardim returned for a second spell as Monaco coach on Friday (Jan 25), just over three months after he was sacked, the struggling French Ligue 1 club announced.
Jardim replaces Thierry Henry who was suspended on Thursday and then sacked on Friday with the team second-from-bottom in the French top division with just 15 points.
Portuguese coach Jardim, 41, has signed a deal until June 2021 and will take charge of the team for Tuesday's League Cup clash against Guingamp.
Monaco chief executive Vadim Vasilyev said that it had been a mistake to sack Jardim after 2-1 home defeat to Rennes on Oct 7 last year.
His departure, however, would have been comfortably cushioned by a reported 8.5 million euro pay-off.
"Today, we realise that the story of Leonardo Jardim at the club did not end as it was meant to. Leonardo should have been given an opportunity to continue his job," admitted Vasilyev.
Jardim joined Monaco in 2014 and took them to a first Ligue 1 title in 17 years in 2017. They also made the Champions League semi-finals.
"Our club is going through a very challenging period. I am ready to admit that I personally bear the responsibility for this," added Vasilyev.
"We have to acknowledge that during the summer transfer window, we sold too many key players and, despite considerable investments, mistakes were made with respect to their replacement.
"This did not allow us to create a new, competitive team. The decision to dismiss Leonardo Jardim was also premature."
Former Arsenal and France striker Henry earned the Principality club just two league wins since his arrival in October.
However, his departure will not come cheap.
He was reported to be earning an estimated €3.2 million (S$4.9 million) a year. With two and a half years still left on his contract, Monaco's owners face having to pay out another eight million as compensation.
"Thierry Henry is a football legend but due to a very unfavourable mix of circumstances, including, above all, numerous injuries to our players, hampered him from quickly and effectively leading the team out of the crisis," said Vasilyev.
Henry took over a team who were in the bottom three after just one win in their opening nine Ligue 1 games and already struggling in the Champions League.
For all the undoubted quality in Monaco's squad, too many players were unavailable due to injuries.
Henry pointed the finger at poor pre-season preparations under Jardim, and there were still a dozen players in the treatment room last weekend.
However, in an interview with L'Equipe this week Jardim hit back at criticism of the squad's fitness under his watch.
"That is an excuse from people with bad intentions. Either that or they understand nothing about football," he said.
"You need no more than a month to correct a team's physical preparation."
Franck Passi will be in charge of the team for the weekend clash against Dijon.