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Marseille coach Garcia to leave at the end of the season

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MARSEILLE, France (AP) — Marseille coach Rudi Garcia will leave at the end of a disappointing season for the former European champions.

The former Roma coach told a news conference on Wednesday that club president Jacques Henri Eyraud has accepted his decision.

"I would stay if I listened to my personality and determination," said Garcia, who was appointed in October 2016. "But If I listen to common sense and reason, it's time to stop the adventure now."

Marseille, the only French club to win the Champions League back in 1993, failed in its bid to qualify for Europe's top competition next season and did not even get a spot in the Europa League.

Garcia's contract had been extended in October until 2021 after he led the team to the 2018 Europa League final. This season, though, Marseille earned only one point in the group stage of the competition.

The southern club also lost 13 matches in the French league and conceded 52 goals, its worst total in more than 30 years. In addition, Marseille lost all of its matches against the top three teams.

Garcia acknowledged his part in the team's failure and said he still believes in the "Champions Project" plan of American owner Frank McCourt, who aims to return the club back to the summit of French soccer and among the European elite.

Upon buying the club in 2016, McCourt pledged to revive Marseille by investing 200 million euros ($210 million) over four years.

"I truly believe in this project, which is led by remarkable people," Garcia said.

Garcia's final game in charge will be against Montpellier on Friday on the league's final day.

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