January 22, 2008 / 9:33 AM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 4-Soccer-Zaragoza appoint Irureta after Garitano quits

(Updates after Irureta appointment)

By Simon Baskett

MADRID, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Real Zaragoza named former Deportivo Coruna coach Javier Irureta as their new coach on Tuesday after Ander Garitano made the shock descision to throw in the towel just a week after being appointed.

“Javier Irureta has signed a contract with the club until the end of the season,” the club said on their Web site (www.realzaragoza.com).

Irureta has been out of coaching since quitting as boss of Real Betis in December 2006 after the club made a poor start to the season.

The 59-year-old coached Deportivo Coruna for seven seasons between 1998 and 2005 leading them to their only league title in 2000 and a King’s Cup in 2002. He also steered them into the Champions League for five consecutive seasons.

One of the most experienced coaches in Spanish football, Irureta has also coached at Real Oviedo, Racing Santander, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Celta Vigo.

Earlier on Tuesday, Garitano announced that he was quitting because of personal problems.

“My decision, however surprising it might appear, is due exclusively to personal reasons,” the 38-year-old told a news conference.

“Given the state I am in right now I would have damaged the team and the club if I had carried on and I want to go now given that the team is in the middle of the table.

“I don’t feel strong enough to face up to this challenge. I prefer another person to take over because the team needs someone who is 100 percent.”

MEDIA SPECULATION

Garitano did not want to go into further detail about the reasons for his decision but denied media speculation that he had fallen out with the club directors over whether Argentine midfielder Andres D’Alessandro should be in the team.

“I’m not in the right shape. I’ve got an important reason for my decision. I’ve had no problem with anyone. All I ask for is respect for my decision.”

Club president Eduardo Banres said the media reports about a dispute were untrue.

“I’ve been saddened by some of the articles that have been written because they are unfair and false,” said Banres.

“We thought Garitano was the best man for the job and we told him we thought he was making a mistake. No one could have imagined that this would happen.... I told him not to get weighed down by the responsibility.”

Garitano, who played for Zaragoza for six seasons between 1996 and 2002 and had been coaching one of the youth teams, took charge on Jan. 14 after Victor Fernandez was sacked.

Zaragoza were knocked out of the King’s Cup after a 4-2 loss against Racing Santander in his first game in charge but claimed their first league win in 10 outings when they beat Real Murcia 3-1 on Sunday.

They are in 11th place in the table, three points above the relegation zone. (Editing by Justin Palmer)

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