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ITALIAN SERIE A

2016/2017 Season

POS TEAM W D L PTS
1 Juventus 21 0 4 63
2 AS Roma 17 2 5 53
3 Napoli 15 6 3 51
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 By Ben Gladwell

Luciano Spalletti returns to Roma after Rudi Garcia dismissal

Roma have confirmed the appointment of Luciano Spalletti as their new coach.

Spalletti, who already coached the Italian club between 2005 and 2009, arrived in the Eternal City from Miami on Thursday after meeting with the club's president James Pallotta and general manager Mauro Baldissoni.

The 56-year-old replaces Rudi Garcia, who was sacked on Wednesday.

"I am extremely pleased to say welcome back to Roma to Luciano Spalletti," Pallotta told the Serie A club's official website. "He's a winning coach who has picked up a long line of successes. We can't wait to work together to take Roma to where we believe they deserve to be."

Roma's CEO, Italo Zanzi, added: "There are still plenty of games to be played, both in Italy and in Europe this season. The arrival of Luciano Spalletti can only increase the faith that we already have in our squad."

Spalletti was due to lead his first training session on Thursday afternoon, preparing the side for the visit of bottom-placed Hellas Verona to the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.

A Champions League round-of-16 tie with Real Madrid is also on the horizon for the former Empoli, Udinese and Zenit St Petersburg coach, who was the last man to win a trophy with the Giallorossi with the 2008 Coppa Italia.

"I'm emotional because I know the value of this city, this club and this squad," Spalletti said. "To work with such valuable people really motivates me."

Roma are currently fifth in the Serie A standings at the midway stage of the campaign. They trail league leaders Napoli by seven points.

Spalletti told Roma's website: "What we can say is that we have to take each day as it comes. We're in the situation we're in and we need to earn back the respect of those who watch us. I hear too much talk from too many people.

"We have to get on with the job seriously and professionally and make sure that -- through our work -- we create opportunities for the future. It doesn't depend on us alone, though.

"When you're a few points behind, as we are at the moment, it depends on our rivals too. That said, we're duty-bound to always give our all."

He said he had "never detached" himself from Roma after his 2009 departure.

"My family and I only moved away for a year but then my son came back to study -- he's a Roma fan and knows everything about the club," he said. "I know quite a lot. The team is very different and I know a lot of good restructuring work has gone on -- generally speaking -- which I think in some ways was necessary.

"If I think back to my past time at Roma I'm fond of everything because it was a very intense experience. There were several stages to it and it was an important part of my life, both professionally speaking and on a personal level. I'll never forget those Champions League nights with the Olimpico packed out. The song they sing at the stadium is another thing I've never forgotten."

Following his sacking, Garcia wrote on Twitter: "I would like to wish all the best to my players, staff and everyone who works at Roma.

"I go away with some great memories of the times we shared. From a personal and professional perspective, it was a great adventure, albeit one that ended too soon.

"All the best to every single Roma fan. Never forget: 'Don't question Roma, just love the club.' And I do love this club. FORZA ROMA FOREVER!"

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