Donadoni named Italy coach to replace Lippi
MILAN, July 13 (Reuters) -- World Cup winners Italy have appointed former AC Milan midfielder Roberto Donadoni as their coach to replace Marcello Lippi.
Lippi quit on Wednesday saying he had "come to the end of my role" after winning the World Cup in Germany last week.
Donadoni, who resigned as Livorno coach midway through last season, is highly rated but has limited coaching experience in Serie A and filling Lippi's shoes will be an enormous challenge.
Under Lippi's stewardship, Italy, on a 25-game unbeaten streak, beat France on penalties in the World Cup final in Berlin after putting out hosts Germany in the semi-finals.
Donadoni, who played 63 times for his country, will also have to contend with fallout from the trial into Italy's biggest match-fixing scandal with the verdict expected in the next few days.
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) chose the former Livorno coach, who ended his playing career in the U.S. with the New York/New Jersey Metrostars, ahead of current Under-21 team boss Claudio Gentile.
"We decided to bet on a youngster who could become truly great," Demetrio Albertini, the Italian football federation's vice-commissioner said.
Donadoni was part of the Italy squad in the 1990 World Cup they hosted, missing a penalty in the semi-final defeat by Argentina. Four years later he was in the Azzurri team which lost in the final to Brazil on penalties.
The Bergamo-born coach began his playing career with his local club Atalanta before joining AC Milan in 1986 and he was a key component of the European and domestic successes enjoyed by the club under the guidance of Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello.
With Milan he won five Serie A league titles and three European Cups before deciding, at the age of 33, to play for the Metrostars in Major League Soccer.
He returned to Milan in 1997 for two seasons before ending his career at the age of 37 in the United Arab Emirates with Al-Ittihad.
His Milan background will add to speculation that the Federation is looking to appoint ex-Milan and Italy coach Sacchi as an overall director of footballing affairs as part of a post-scandal restructuring of the game.
Currently football affairs at the Federation are being handled by Donadoni's former Milan team mate Albertini.
Donadoni began his coaching career in 2001 with Lecco in the third division Serie C but quit the club midway through his debut season after a dispute before rejoining to save them from relegation near the end of the season.
The following season he took Livorno to 10th place in Serie B and then he moved to Genoa for a brief spell before rejoining Livorno for the 2004-05 season.
Donadoni took Livorno to a highly creditible ninth place but the following campaign, with the Tuscan club flying high in an unprecedented sixth place, he left after a row with the club president.
The coach was linked with a possible move to Juventus before the club, who face relegation if found guilty in the match-fixing trial, opted for Frenchman Didier Deschamps.