world soccer 24.5.2018 11:11 am

Ancelotti to take Napoli job as Sarri puts Zenit, Chelsea on alert

Carlo Ancelotti has won the Champions League three times as a coach

Carlo Ancelotti has won the Champions League three times as a coach

Carlo Ancelotti has reached agreement to take over as Napoli coach ending Maurizio Sarri’s three-year reign at the Serie A club, according to reports in Italy on Wednesday.

by Emmeline MOORE

Italian Ancelotti — who was sacked by Bayern Munich last September — hammered out a deal Wednesday after a series of meetings with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis in Rome.

De Laurentiis later confirmed Sarri’s departure in a brief post on Twitter.

“I’d like to thank Maurizio Sarri for his valuable contribution to the Napoli cause,” De Laurentiis said.

“He brought joy and prestige to Naples and Napoli fans all over the world with an entertaining brand of football that drew praise from all quarters. Well done, Maurizio — Aurelio De Laurentiis.”

Sarri has been linked with both Zenit St Petersburg and Chelsea with the Russian club reported to be prepared to pay his eight-million-euro ($9.4 million) release clause.

The 58-year-old Ancelotti is said to have agreed a two-year contract with an option for a third.

However, the official announcement may not be made immediately as details have to be sorted out concerning Sarri’s position.

It would mark Ancelotti’s first job in Italian football since leaving AC Milan in 2009 after leading the club to a Scudetto and two Champions League titles.

The former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich boss is understood to have agreed a salary worth 6.5 million euro ($7.6 million) a year with an option of a third year.

Ancelotti has won three Champions League titles as well as the league in Italy, France, Germany and England.

Ancelotti’s son Davide and his son-in-law Mino Fulco will also be on the Napoli coaching staff.

– ‘Complicated –

Sarri, who has spent the past three seasons at the San Paolo Stadium, has two more years remaining on his contract which runs until 2020.

The 59-year-old former banker guided Napoli to second place in Serie A for the second time since taking over, and this season they achieved a club record 91 points in a season.

But the club’s film producer boss De Laurentiis lost patience with Sarri’s indecision over his future, after pushing the champions all the way this season before finishing four points behind Juventus to miss out on a first Serie A title since 1990.

According to Sky Sports Italia, Zenit have invited the Napoli coach to Russia to see Saint Petersburg and their training facilities.

The Russian club have been without a coach since Roberto Mancini returned to take over the Italian national team, and in addition to stumping up for his buyout clause are also willing to offer Sarri a contract worth six million euros per season plus bonuses.

“In life everything comes to an end,” said Sarri after his final match last Sunday, a 2-1 win which relegated Crotone to Serie B.

“Sometimes it’s better to finish stories while they are good.

“We have not reached the target, but the journey has been fantastic.”

He added: “The situation is complicated. You can’t say you’re ready to go and try again with this squad when you don’t know whether everyone will remain here.

“I don’t know if the club will manage to keep the players who have release clauses when offers will come in from big clubs.

“What I do think is that I could not go directly to another Italian team, and that if I had to make a change I would prefer to go abroad.”

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