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Middlesbrough appoint Aitor Karanka

Championship side Middlesbrough have confirmed the appointment of Jose Mourinho’s former Real Madrid assistant Aitor Karanka as their new manager.

Aitor Karanka had also been strongly linked with the Crystal Palace job.
Aitor Karanka had also been strongly linked with the Crystal Palace job.

Karanka, 40, served as Mourinho’s assistant during his three years at the Bernabeu before departing as Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane took charge this summer.

The former Spain international had been in discussions with Crystal Palace about the vacancy there, but following discussions with Mourinho he opted to head to the Riverside.

"This is a very important day for me and I'm delighted to join a club with such big facilities and support," Karanka told BBC Tees. "It is my time -- I know I am ready. I've worked for three years with Jose and he was supporting me every day and I learned so much. I spoke to him and he recommended me to come here. He too believes in this project."

Boro, currently 16th in the Championship, have endured a fall from grace in recent years, having been UEFA Cup finalists only seven years ago.

Karanka, who will be taking charge of a club for the first time, is Boro’s first ever foreign manager and may be seen as something of a risky replacement for Tony Mowbray.

However, chairman Steve Gibson said: "There are no easy answers and I think I could've been accused of being 'a little Englander' with my previous appointments.

“There were 100 applications and it was about finding a first-class coach, regardless of nationality, and I believe we have. Football is a global business now and we must move with it."

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