Buenos Aires: Argentine giants Boca Juniors sacked their record title-winning coach Carlos Bianchi on Thursday after a disappointing third spell in charge.
Bianchi, who took over by popular demand 18 months ago having accustomed fans to titles galore a decade earlier, presided over 26 wins and 26 losses in 74 matches.
"He`ll never lose everything he gave us Boca supporters but the members voted for me to take decisions and although they are hard we have decided, painfully, to rescind Carlos`s contract," club president Daniel Angelici told a news conference.
The 65-year-old Bianchi, a former Velez Sarsfield, Stade Reims, Paris St Germain and Argentina striker, had a contract until December 2015.
"I told him it was a cycle that had finished. He had wanted to carry on until Sunday and if he didn`t get a good result then resign," Angelici said of their discussion earlier in the day.
Bianchi, an idol of the Boca faithful, had appeared stubborn in his determination to stick to the job despite his team`s dismal performances this season.
In stark contrast to the defensive solidity of his title-winning Boca sides, the team have conceded seven goals in three defeats in the opening four matches of the championship.
Angelici said Boca were looking to appoint a successor in time for Sunday`s home match (2115 GMT) against Velez, who were playing Lanus on Thursday having won their first three games.
"We are not looking at a caretaker, the ideas is to take the decision (to name as successor) tomorrow," Angelici said when he announced that the reserve team coach would be in charge of Friday`s practice.
Boca have been a pale shadow of the side Bianchi led to four league titles, three of the team`s six South American Libertadores Cup crowns and two Intercontinental Cups in two spells between 1998 and 2004.
He had previously already steered his first club Velez to the domestic title three times and the South American and world club titles in 1994.
Bianchi returned due to demand from the fans who did not like the dour, defensive style of former coach Julio Cesar Falcioni even though he led them to their last league title in December 2011 and the Libertadores Cup final in 2012.
Boca had hoped Bianchi could renew his strong relationship with Juan Roman Riquelme and bring titles to the club after they shared in several before the playmaker left for Barcelona in 2002.
The team were always better when Riquelme played but he was not always available, prone to injuries as he became older, and the club decided against giving him a new contract this season, allowing him to return to his first club Argentinos Juniors, who were relegated in May.
With Riquelme pulling the strings, Boca had a good run-in to last season and finished second to arch-rivals River Plate in the `Final` championship.
Without their ace and after some poor recruiting, Boca have floundered and, to add insult to injury, seen River romp to three wins and a draw scoring 10 goals.