Football: Ousted Zenit manager to carry on living in St Petersburg

 Borussia Dortmund's head coach Juergen Klopp (right) speaks with Zenit Saint Petersburg's head coach Luciano Spalletti before their UEFA Champions League Champions League last 16, first-leg football match at Petrovsky Stadium in Russia's second
 Borussia Dortmund's head coach Juergen Klopp (right) speaks with Zenit Saint Petersburg's head coach Luciano Spalletti before their UEFA Champions League Champions League last 16, first-leg football match at Petrovsky Stadium in Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg, on Feb 25, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - Italian coach Luciano Spalletti, who was sacked by Zenit St Petersburg earlier this week, said on Wednesday he intended to settle permanently in the Russian city.

"I have spent four wonderful years in Saint Petersburg," he wrote in his letter to the club posted on Zenit's official site.

"With our players, those, who have worked with us at the club's base, with all of our supporters I have shared the unforgettable victories, the moments of joy and disappointment, which will always remain within my heart."

"The love that surrounded me in Saint Petersburg all the time has made me its true resident, its citizen. Petersburg is my home and I will stay on here."

Last Tuesday Zenit, owned by state-controlled gas giant Gazprom, sacked Spalletti, who arrived from Italy's Serie A giants Roma in December 2009 and led the Saint Petersburg outfit to two Russian league titles.

Spalletti achieved domestic success with the Russian side, but failed meet the ambitious demands of the club's owners on the European scene especially after several big-money signings like Brazil's Hulk.

However, Zenit found European success hard to come by. The final straw for Gazprom appears to have been a 2-4 home loss to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League round of 16 first leg that may end this season's campaign for the club.

The prominent former Russian footballer Sergei Semak was named Zenit's interim manager.

Sacking the 55-year-old Spalletti leaves Russia's most financially powerful club without a fixed coach just ahead of the crucial stage in the battle for domestic success.

This season, the title fight in the Russian Premiership is extremely tight with four clubs in with a chance of winning.

Zenit are currently second, two points behind Lokomotiv Moscow with 10 matches to play.