Garcia named as Roma coach
Frenchman Rudi Garcia has been appointed the new coach of Roma, the Serie A club announced on Wednesday.
The 49-year-old will leave Lille after five seasons in the north of France to move to the Italian capital on a two-year deal, although the contract has not yet been signed.
"We are very excited and confident that Rudi Garcia is the right coach for AS Roma," club president James Pallotta told their official website
"He is a proven winner with a great football mind who we believe fits in perfectly with our vision for the future."
Italian press reports say that Garcia will earn in the region of €1.5 million per year at the Stadio Olimpico.
A successful coach at Dijon and Le Mans, Garcia led Lille to a league and cup double in 2011 but his side missed out on European qualification in the season just finished and his departure, with one year of his contract remaining, appeared inevitable.
He becomes the first Frenchman to take charge of Roma, who also failed to qualify for Europe after losing to city rivals Lazio in the Coppa Italia final.
Aurelio Andreazzoli had been in charge of the side since Zdenek Zeman's departure in February, but Roma fans may need some convincing as to the qualities of their new coach, judging by the reaction of Italy's former Minister of Communications, Maurizio Gasparri.
"Garcia who? The one who tried to capture Zorro?" joked Gasparri, a Roma supporter, when told of the identity of his team's new coach.
Garcia arrives at a club going through something of a crisis, and who saw sporting director Franco Baldini depart by mutual consent last week.
He was not the club's first choice, though, with fellow Frenchman Laurent Blanc and Argentine Marcelo Bielsa both linked to the post, while Walter Mazzarri and Massimiliano Allegri both snubbed the job to join Inter Milan and stay at AC Milan respectively.