Madrid: Valencia Football Club took the surprising decision to sack coach Juan Antonio Pizzi Wednesday, just a week before players were due to return for the start of pre-season training.
"With the aim of being able to give stability to a future sporting project, the board of administration has looked at all of the possibilities in this complex and crucial moment and has taken the decision to dispense with the services of Juan Antonio Pizzi as coach," Xinhua quoted the club as saying in a communique posted on its official website.
Pizzi was only named as Valencia coach Dec 26 last year, replacing Miroslav Djukic, who himself had only been appointed the previous summer. He was unable to steer Valencia to a place in Europe for this coming season but led the club to the semi-finals of the Europa League, where only an injury time goal conceded to eventual champions, Sevilla, denied Valencia a place in the final.
His future had been placed in doubt in recent weeks as a result as the ongoing sale of the club to Singapore based businessman Peter Lim given that Lim is thought to favour appointing Nuno Espiritu Santo, the coach of Portuguese side Rio Ave, who last season the club to the finals of the Portuguese Cup and League Cup.