Former Spain and Barcelona goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta has been named the new sporting director of Marseille.
Zubizarreta held a similar position at Barcelona between 2010 and 2015, overseeing the arrivals of players including Javier Mascherano, Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic, and replaces Gunter Jacob, who departed the Stade Velodrome on Wednesday.
The Spaniard’s arrival comes after Rudi Garcia’s appointment as head coach last week, a change which followed American businessman Frank McCourt’s purchase of the club.
“I’m happy to be in a club with as much personality as Marseille. I hope I will live up to the trust placed in me,” said Zubizarreta upon his presentation to the media on Thursday.
“To me, Marseille is a club that breathes football. It is a club with a big heart and soul.
“I know LaLiga very well, but will also look at players in Ligue 1. There is a very good market.”
Andoni Zubizarreta appointed as new Olympique Marseille sports director pic.twitter.com/wiPOOZh14W
— Olympique Marseille (@OM_English) October 27, 2016
McCourt added in a statement: “Few professional athletes has a resume as long and impressive as Andoni Zubizarreta.
“With four World Cup participations as a starter for Spain and almost 20 years in big clubs like Barcelona and Bilbao, Andoni brings exceptional expertise to Marseille.
“He worked hard to earn the respect and confidence of the greatest players as sporting director. I am very pleased to welcome Andoni.
“With [president] Jacques-Henri [Eyraud] and Rudi, we will build together a team to take Marseille to success and new heights.”
Eyraud said: “Andoni is a football legend in his country and beyond. In Bilbao as in Barcelona, where he was sporting director for five years, Andoni was able to recruit outstanding players.
“He has also developed a unique expertise in detecting and training young talent, he is a pillar of our project for Marseille.”
Eyraud claimed last weekend Marseille will look to make additions to the squad in January before “striking hard” in the close-season.
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