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Juventus sack Ferrara, Benitez link grows

Juventus have sacked first team coach Ciro Ferrara and appointed former AC Milan and Inter Milan boss Alberto Zaccheroni in his place until the end of the season.

• Benitez side-steps Juve speculation
• Last-gasp Balotelli sinks Juve

"Ferrara has been relieved of his position and Zaccheroni has been appointed until June 2010," a club statement confirmed.

Juve were dumped out of the Coppa Italia on Thursday night when Mario Balotelli scored a minute from time to give Inter Milan a 2-1 victory and it proved to be Ferrara's final game in charge of the Turin club.

Following the match Juventus president Jean-Claude Blanc said: "We are very disappointed, as we have failed at another of our objectives for the season."

Ferrara, 42, had been under pressure since Juve were knocked out of the Champions League before the winter break. Poor form in Serie A has seen the club plummet to sixth in the standings, four points behind Napoli, who hold the last Champions League qualifying spot in Serie A.

  • The Italian media suggest Zaccheroni is just a 'ferryman' at the Stadio Olimpico Torino, brought in to steady the ship while they line up a long term solution, with the favourite being Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez.

    It has been reported that a Juve delegation flew to Merseyside this week to convince the Spaniard to leave Anfield in the summer and tempted Benitez with a contract worth £2.6 million a year, after tax.

    Speaking at his Friday press conference, ahead of Liverpool's Premier League clash with Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, Benitez side-stepped the issue.

    "I am not here to talk about speculation because people talk too much,'' said Benitez. "I am focused on preparing my team for the game against Bolton.

    "I know they (Juventus) were interested, that is part of the game now in football, but I am not ready to talk too much because I don't want to lose my focus.

    "When you are a manager and you have clubs asking you have to be proud because they are a top side in Europe but I am really happy here and want to do my job as best I can.''

    Earlier in the week the Reds manager refused to comment on the rumours when he said: "Is being linked with Juventus flattering? I prefer to concentrate on the game."

    Interim Juve coach Zaccheroni won a league title with Milan in 1999 after making a name for himself with his innovative tactics at Udinese. But he has not worked since 2007 after less than glorious spells at Lazio, Inter and Juve's city rivals Torino.

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