Napoli's head coach Rudi Garcia gestures during the Italian Serie A soccer match between SSC Napoli and FC Empoli in Naples, Italy, 12 November 2023. EFE-EPA/FELICE DE MARTINO

Italian league champions Napoli sack coach Rudi Garcia and hire Walter Mazzarri

Rome, Nov 15 (EFE).- Italian football club Napoli has dismissed first-team coach Rudi Garcia after a string of poor performances at the start of the season and replaced him with native Walter Mazzarri.

“SSC Napoli has made the decision to relieve first-team coach Rudi Garcia of his duties with immediate effect,” the club said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The club would like to thank Rudi and his coaching staff for their hard work,” it said.

Shortly after confirming the dismissal of the Frenchman, club president Aurelio de Laurentiis confirmed the appointment of Mazzarri as the new coach.

The club made the announcement official on its social networks.

“Walter Mazzarri is the new coach of Naples. Welcome back, Mister,” the club wrote.

Garcia’s days at the helm of the Serie A champions have been numbered since their defeat against Empoli this Sunday.

The announcement of his dismissal was published as soon as Aurelio de Laurentiis found a replacement for the former coach, who flew to France, taking advantage of the national team break.

Croatian Igor Tudor was the initial favorite to replace Garcia, but his preferred line of play with three center backs and insistence on signing a longer contract, at least until 2025, stalled the negotiations.

It was then that the president turned to Mazzarri, who accepted a seven-month contract, according to local media.

It paved the way for his return to the club, which he helped win their first title without Diego Maradona, the 2012 Italian Cup.

Napoli hired Rudi Garcia in June to replace Luciano Spalletti, who led the club to its first Serie A title in 33 years but then insisted on taking a year off.

Under Gracia, who was lastly the coach of Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, Napoli won just eight of their 16 matches. EFE