French champions Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday confirmed the departure of coach Thomas Tuchel.
Tuchel, 47, was reported to have been sacked on 24 December, just hours after PSG had thrashed Strasbourg 4-0 to remain one point behind leaders Lyon.
An interview with a German TV station in which Tuchel spoke out about the internal politics at the club is understood to have angered the PSG hierarchy.
PSG’s announcement came as the club’s star striker Neymar was becoming bogged down in a public relations disaster in Brazil over an alleged five-day party at his sprawling luxury compound in Mangaratiba.
“After an in-depth analysis of its sporting situation, Paris Saint-Germain has decided to terminate Thomas Tuchel's contract,” said a PSG statement.
Tuchel, whose contract was set to expire in June, is believed to have received around 8 million euros severance pay.
The German joined in the summer of 2018 as a replacement for Unai Emery who, despite domestic domination, was unable to steer PSG to the latter stages of the Uefa Champions League.
Tuchel maintained PSG’s ascendance with two French titles, a Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue. He also became the first coach to lead them to the Champions League final where they were beaten by Bayern Munich.
“I would like to thank Thomas and his staff for everything they have brought to the club," said PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. “Thomas put a lot of energy and passion into his work and we will of course remember the good times we shared together. I wish him all the best for his future.”
The former Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino is reported to have been lined up to replace Tuchel.
Pochettino, who played for PSG between 2001 and 2003, took Spurs to the Champions League final in 2019 as well as a series of top four finishes in the English Premier League during his five years in north London.
One of the first tasks confronting any new PSG coach will be handling the fallout from Neymar’s escapades in his native Brazil.
The 28-year-old, who is recovering from an ankle injury, was reported in the Brazilian media to have invited 150 people to his vast complex 100km down the coast from Rio.
Fabrica, the agency organising the party, said initial claims of 500 guests at the compound were exaggerated.
"The event will take place in compliance with all the sanitary norms as determined by public bodies," Fabrica added in a statement.
“The event is private and all relevant permissions have been obtained.”
Brazil has had nearly 7.5 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, the third highest in the world with nearly 200,000 deaths, the second highest after the United States