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New Valencia coach to invite back outcasts

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 22 Apr 2008

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Valencia's new coach Salvador 'Voro' Gonzalez said at a press conference here on Tuesday that he will invite back to the first team the club's three Spanish international outcasts.

Former coach Ronald Koeman discarded goalkeeper Santiago Canizares, midfielder David Albelda and striker Miguel Angel Angulo during the winter transfer window and told the trio to find new clubs.

Albelda, Valencia's club captain in recent seasons, even sued the club for constructive dismissal in January although a Spanish court subsequently found in favour of the club.

None of the players have played for the club since January and have trained on their own but they will rejoin their team mates from Wednesday.

“The three players form part of the 25-man first team squad and are like any other of the players. If I think they are ready to play, they'll play,” said Voro.

However, despite their vast experience, the trio may not yet feature in Valencia's five remaining games which are vital to ensure their Spanish first division survival.

“They haven't had a game for four months and we are playing for our lives in a very short space of time.

“In addition to not having played, there also is their state of mind to consider because they have gone through a difficult situation. But I will pick them if I think they can contribute to the team,” added Voro.

“But I don't want a sporting decision to be interpreted as a political one. I want to be very clear on this issue.”

Voro took over on Tuesday after Koeman was sacked as coach after a series of disastrous results that have left the former Spanish champions hovering just two points above the relegation zone.

Valencia were fourth when the former Dutch international and Barcelona player arrived in November but they have slumped to 15th place after one win in their last 10 La Liga outings, their latest humiliation being a 5-1 defeat at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Koeman and Valencia reached an “amicable agreement” to end his contract, which runs until 2010, after less than six months in the job, the club said in a brief statement on Tuesday.

“I leave here with the pride of having achieved a prize as important as the Spanish Cup,” commented Koeman in an equally brief statement.

“I would like to emphasise, as they say in my country, that with Valencia I have gained experience but missed a dream,” added Koeman, perhaps reflecting on the fact that his six months in charge had actually turned into a nightmare.

Spanish media on Tuesday were speculating that the sacking of Koeman, and his assistants Jose Mari Bakero and Toni Bruins, would cost Valencia around 10 million euros (16 million dollars).

The club took the decision late Monday after a board meeting that lasted over 12 hours, and despite the club winning the Spanish Cup last week.

Valencia, arguably Spain's biggest club after the giants of Real Madrid and Barcelona, have only been out of the top flight four times since La Liga's inception in 1928 – the first three years and the 1986-87 season.

They have won the Spanish league six times and also four European titles, most recently the 2004 UEFA Cup.

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