What makes new Paris coach Unai Emery special?

28 Jun

Born: 03/11/1971

• UEFA Europa League: 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16

• Unai Emery was born into a footballing family. Grandfather Antonio played Liga football with Real Unión while father Juan – known for being one of the shortest goalkeepers in Spain at just 173cm – played over a decade in the second tier.

• Emery Jr was a midfielder. After coming through the ranks at Real Sociedad, he spent the bulk of his career in Spain’s second division with Toledo, Racing Ferrol and Leganos before a knee injury sustained at third-level Lorca Deportivo ended his playing days aged 32.

• Taken on as Lorca coach as soon as he retired in 2004, he immediately helped them gain their first promotion. He proceeded to enjoy spells with Almería, Valencia, Spartak Moskva before being installed at Sevilla from January 2013 to June 2016. Emery was handed the PSG reins later that month, succeeding Laurent Blanc.

©Getty Images

Unai Emery at Valencia in 2008

• He is an expert video editor as well as a football obsessive. “For me, football is passion and emotion,” he said. Emery does not employ a video analyst, instead compiling, cutting and editing footage of opponents himself. “For every game, I might spend 12 hours just on the video,” he explained. “In an hour the players have to understand everything you’ve seen in 12.”

• Emery thinks it is very important that his players watch his videos. During his Valencia reign, the 44-year-old once gave a player he suspected of not looking at his clips an empty pen-drive to catch him out. It worked.

• Winger Joaquín, who played under Emery at Valencia, said: “He’s obsessed with football – it’s practically an illness. He’s one of the best managers I’ve had. I worked with him for three years … I couldn’t handle a fourth.”

• A snappy dresser, Emery turned heads by sporting bright-red elbow patches on his suit jackets on Sevilla matchdays. While he seems to have ditched them of late, they bring the coach happy memories of the 2014 UEFA Europa League penalty shoot-out victory over Benfica.

See how Sevilla won a record fifth Europa League crown

• Emery has an official website and regularly updates his blog with tactical notes and general musings on football and life. He also invited fans to guess his starting XI for Sevilla matches, with prizes for guessing correctly.

• In his spare time he enjoys playing padel – a mix between squash and tennis – and was even known to take Sevilla players for a set or two to help them relax and disconnect from football.

• After steering Sevilla to back-to-back UEFA Europa League titles in 2014 and 2015, he was reportedly offered managerial positions at West Ham and Napoli. He turned both down, citing the opportunities he had to win trophies with Sevilla.

• Emery made it a hat-trick of UEFA Europa League triumphs in 2016, the Andalusians defeating Liverpool 3-1 in the Basel final. A month later he resigned and was soon hired by PSG on a two-year deal.


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