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Valencia hire Pizzi as coach to replace sacked Djukic

San Lorenzo's head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi kicks a ball during their Argentine First Division soccer match against Estudiantes in Buenos Ai
San Lorenzo's head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi kicks a ball during their Argentine First Division soccer match against Estudiantes in Buenos Ai

MADRID (Reuters) - Valencia have completed the appointment of Argentina-born coach Juan Antonio Pizzi to replace the sacked Miroslav Djukic, the La Liga club said on Thursday.

Djukic was dismissed last week after Valencia's erratic form left them in danger of missing out on a qualification place for European competition for next season.

Pizzi would be joined by physio Alejandro Richino and assistant Manuel Suarez, Valencia said in a statement on their website (www.valenciacf.com).

The 45-year-old arrives in Spain fresh from leading San Lorenzo to the Argentine championship.

He spent the better part of his playing career in La Liga, where he was a striker for Valencia, Tenerife and Barcelona.

Spain became his adopted country and he represented them at international level 22 times, scoring eight goals.

Pizzi decided at first against taking the Valencia job but was persuaded to reconsider by the club's new sporting director, former Argentina captain Roberto Ayala.

Valencia are 11th in La Liga with just under half the season played and are through to the last 32 of the Europa League, Europe's second-tier club competition, where they will play Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Justin Palmer)

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