Girard arrives at Lille a season after leading Montpellier to a remarkable Ligue 1 title.
“I knew him as a coach and for his achievements. I met a great, passionate and hard-working man,” Lille president Michel Seydoux told the club website. “I am proud and happy that Rene has joined our club.”
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The reputation of the Premier League means it is the most popular and one of the most watched leagues in the world.
Five English clubs will compete in the last sixteen of the Champions League for the first time ever as Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham face some difficult away matches.