ROME (AFP) – Serie A strugglers Cagliari have appointed club favourite Gianfranco Zola as their new coach, the club announced on Wednesday.
Zola, 48, replaces Zdemak Zemen who was sacked on Monday after a series of poor results left the Sardinian club hovering just above the relegation zone with just one win in 12 games since September.
In a short matter-of-fact statement on the club’s website, Cagliari announced the appointment under the headline “Welcome back Gianfranco”.
The club said he would take over on Sunday when the players resume training after the Christmas lay-off and would be assisted by another former Italian international striker, Pierluigi Casiraghi.
Earlier in the day, another candidate for the job, former Italy international goalkeeper Walter Zenga, ruled himself out of the running after talks with president Tommaso Guilini.
Zenga wrote on Twitter: “I would like to thank president Tommaso Giuilii and everyone at Cagliari for thinking of me but with regret I am forced to decline. At the moment, for professional and personal reasons I intend to remain in Dubai.”
His contract with the Al-Jazira club has come to an end, but he is understood to be working closely with the Emirati royal family, the sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport said.