Juan Antonio Pizzi has been confirmed as the new coach of beleaguered La Liga club Valencia.
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Argentine coach Pizzi was the club’s recently appointed ‘general manager’ Rufete's choice to replace outgoing boss Miroslav Djukic, who was sacked in mid-December after an inconsistent run of results which saw them struggling in mid-table.
Another ex-Valencia player Roberto Ayala has also joined the technical staff at the Mestalla in a new management structure, which local media say will remain in place even if the club is sold in the coming weeks to Singapore businessman Peter Lim.
The appointment of a new head coach was confirmed via an official club statement on Thursday morning.
"Valencia has sealed the signing of Juan Antonio Pizzi as the new coach of Valencia,” the statement said. “The Argentine coach, who arrives at Mestalla after being proclaimed champion of the Torneo Clausura de Argentina with San Lorenzo de Almagro (in 2010 he was also league champion with Universidad Catolica de Chile), will come in accompanied by physical preparation coach Alejandro Richino and first assistant Manuel Suarez. The date and hour of his arrival in Valencia, and his presentation as new coach of Valencia CF, will soon be communicated."
Argentina-born Pizzi, 45, has yet to coach in Europe, but did play for one season at Valencia in the 1990s, while also featuring for Tenerife and Barcelona in La Liga, and was in the Spain squad at Euro '96 and World Cup 1998.
Valencia president Amadeo Salvo last weekend publicly pressured the heavily indebted club’s bankers into accepting a surprise takeover bid from Lim -- with the entrepreneur’s offer apparently only on the table until Jan. 15. Superdeporte claims that 230 million euros would be invested to pay off some of the club’s loans while also providing money to Salvo, Rufete and Pizzi to spend in the winter transfer window.