Football: Valencia axe manager Marcelino, replace him with Celades before key games

Spanish football club Valencia, owned by Singaporean tycoon Peter Lim, confirmed the sacking of their manager Marcelino Garcia Toral on Sept 11, 2019.
Spanish football club Valencia, owned by Singaporean tycoon Peter Lim, confirmed the sacking of their manager Marcelino Garcia Toral on Sept 11, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

(AFP, THE GUARDIAN) - Valencia announced the shock sacking of coach Marcelino on Wednesday (Sept 11), ahead of two major clashes that could go some way to defining their season.

The Spanish La Liga outfit named former Real Madrid assistant coach Albert Celades as his successor. The 43-year-old, a former Barcelona and Real Madrid midfielder, has signed a deal until the end of June 2021 and Valencia said he will take his first training session later on Wednesday.

Celades' new team visit Stamford Bridge on Tuesday (Sept 17) for their opening game at Chelsea in the Champions League Group H, which also features last season's semi-finalists Ajax and Lille, after facing reigning La Liga champions Barcelona in a repeat of last season's Copa del Rey final on Saturday (Sept 14).

The 54-year-old Marcelino, who won the Copa del Rey and secured Champions League football for this season for the second year running, leaves after two campaigns at the helm.

"Valencia told Marcelino Garcia Toral on Wednesday that he is no longer first-team coach," a club statement said. "The club would like to thank him for his work and dedication during his time at our entity and wish him success for the future."

Valencia, owned by Singaporean tycoon Peter Lim, are 10th in La Liga on four points after three games. Their last match was a 2-0 home win over Mallorca on Sept 1 before the international break.