ROME (Reuters) - AS Roma manager Rudi Garcia has agreed a three-year contract extension in a deal that will keep the Frenchman in the Italian capital until 2018, the club said on Friday.
“I am pleased to announce that Rudi Garcia and Roma have agreed to a three-year extension beyond his original contract,” Roma president James Pallotta said on the club website (www.asroma.it).
”As I have said many times in the past, after I spent the first thirty minutes with Rudi in New York last year, I knew he would be the right choice to lead Roma for hopefully a long time.
“This extension is an integral part of our plan to bring continuity to our overall operational success. Roma ownership and management have been on the same page in regard to how to build a world class football team. This is one more step in accomplishing our long-term vision.”
Garcia joined Roma last June after the club finished the previous campaign with a humiliating Italian Cup final defeat to local rivals Lazio.
He caused a stir by calling supporters who greeted the club’s opening pre-season training session with furious protests ‘Lazio fans’, but results soon got the Frenchman on the right side of a notoriously volatile and impatient fan base.
His side opened the season in record-breaking style with 10 straight wins and although they could not maintain that form, they did well to finish second behind Juventus, qualifying for the Champions League with weeks to spare.
Garcia’s first task after signing the new deal will be to convince centre back Mehdi Benatia to stay.
The Morocco defender was crucial to Roma’s superb defensive record last season, but he has been involved in a high-profile contract spat and is a target for both Manchester City and Paris St Germain, according to media reports.
The club extended key midfielder Miralem Pjanic’s contract to 2018, earlier this month.
Reporting by Terry Daley; editing by Toby Davis