New York City FC officially announced the departure of head coach Patrick Vieira early Monday morning. He will leave immediately to take over as coach of OGC Nice in France’s Ligue 1.
NYCFC will announce his replacement “in the very near future,” according to a statement released by the club.
“I would like to thank City Football Group and New York City FC for the opportunity to have coached this tremendous football club,” Vieira said in the statement. “Leaving New York is an incredibly difficult decision for me and for my family and one that has not been taken lightly.
“From the beginning, City Football Group and its leadership … have believed in me and have helped guide me through the last eight years of my career – starting with my time as a player and ultimately culminating with my first opportunity to manage a First Team.”
The announcement came a day after NYCFC’s English sister club, Manchester City, published and then deleted an article on its website confirming the news, which had been expected for weeks following reports out of France that Vieira was the top candidate for the job.
NYCFC assistant coach Christian Lattanzio, performance coach Kristian Wilson and physical performance coach Matt Cook also will leave with Vieira, as previously reported by Pro Soccer USA.
Arsenal's Patrick Vieira celebrates scoring their first goal against Tottenham during the FA Cup Semi Final game at Old Trafford, Manchester, Sunday April 8, 2001. Arsenal defeated Tottenham 2-1. (AP Photo/PA, David Davies)
Vieira, who was born in Senegal and grew up in France, won a World Cup with the French national team in 1998. He spent most of his storied club career with Arsenal (1996-2005) before going on to play with Juventus, Inter Milan and Manchester City in 2010, when his relationship with City Football Group began. He later became an ambassador for the club and landed his first coaching job as head of the Manchester City Elite Development Squad.
Vieira, 41, joined NYCFC at the beginning of 2016, the club’s second year in MLS. He leaves with a 39-22-22 record in regular-season play. He also led the team to the playoffs twice, losing in the conference semifinals.
The team is in a good position for the next coach. NYCFC (8-3-4, 28 points) is second in the Eastern Conference entering a two-week break in league play as the World Cup begins. The club will return to MLS play June 24 to host Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium.
“Having the opportunity to be a Head Coach in New York is something many dream of. Our incredibly passionate fans have made this one of the most special experiences I’ve had in football. Thank you to each and every one of you that stands by the team day in and day out,” Vieira said in the statement. “…New York City FC is a Club with a wonderful future ahead of it – I will always be a fan and it will hold a special place in my heart.”