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By ESPN Staff

Sacchi to leave Real Madrid at end of year

MADRID, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Real Madrid have announced that Arrigo Sacchi will quit his role as Real Madrid's director of football at the end of the year for personal reasons just a day after the club sacked coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

Real said on Monday that the 59-year-old former Italy and AC Milan coach told them of his decision two weeks before the team's 3-0 defeat by arch rivals Barcelona on November 19.

'Sacchi said he was very happy at Real Madrid and that is why he wanted to complete a year in his post,' the club said on their website.

'But family considerations persuaded him to make this decision.'

The news of Sacchi's resignation follows hot on the heels of the dismissal of Brazilian coach Luxemburgo, who was appointed on the advice of the Italian.

Reserve team coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro has been put in charge of the first team on a caretaker basis.

Sacchi was appointed to his post on December 21 last year in a move that was designed to revive the ailing fortunes of the club and, in the words of Real president Florentino Perez, 'make the club more professional'.

Real recovered from a poor start to last season to put together a fine run in the league under his and Luxemburgo's guidance and eventually finished just four points behind eventual champions Barcelona.

But the team made a disappointing exit in the first knockout stage of the Champions League and failed to progress beyond the last 16 of the King's Cup.

The club underwent a 90-million euro ($105.6 million) makeover in the close season with Brazilian forwards Robinho and Julio Baptista, Spain defender and Uruguayan duo Pablo Garcia and Carlos Diogo being brought in to revitalise the squad.

The team has failed to live up to expectations, however, and has slipped to five defeats in the league including a 3-0 loss to Barcelona at the Bernabeu although they are still only six points behind the leaders in fourth place.

Luxemburgo was sacked on Sunday, the day after a lacklustre 1-0 win over Getafe, and the Brazilian's principal supporter Sacchi has now followed him out the door.

Sacchi made his name as a coach of Parma in the mid-1980's before he was snapped up by AC Milan in 1987.

In his four seasons at the San Siro, Sacchi was credited with revolutionising European football, creating a stylish side that featured the great Dutch trio of Ruud Gullit, Marco Van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, and winning successive European Cups in 1989 and 1990 and the Italian league title.

He took up the post of Italy coach in 1991, steering them to the final of the 1994 World Cup where they lost to Brazil on penalties.

But he quit two years later after a disappointing Euro 96, when the side failed to get beyond the first round.

He had an unsuccessful second spell in charge of Milan before joining Atletico Madrid in 1998, but left in mid-season complaining of exhaustion after a run of three league defeats.

He reappeared as Parma coach in January 2001, but resigned after less than a month citing stress as his reason.

Ten months later he returned to the club for a third time as technical director and remained there until joining Real Madrid last December.