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Koeman bound for Benfica

Published: Wednesday 8 June 2005, 15.31CET
Ronald Koeman will lead SL Benfica into the UEFA Champions League after replacing Giovanni Trapattoni.

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Published: Wednesday 8 June 2005, 15.31CET

Koeman bound for Benfica

Ronald Koeman will lead SL Benfica into the UEFA Champions League after replacing Giovanni Trapattoni.
Former Dutch international Ronald Koeman will lead Portuguese champions SL Benfica into the UEFA Champions League after replacing Giovanni Trapattoni as coach.

Official unveiling
The 42-year-old, who was dismissed as coach of AFC Ajax midway through the season, will be unveiled at a press conference at the Estádio da Luz tonight at 20.30 local time. He has agreed a two-year contract and will hope to emulate the triumphs of his Italian predecessor, who steered Benfica to their first SuperLiga title in eleven years as well as the Portuguese Cup final.

'Excellent opportunity'
He said: "I am very happy to represent Benfica, a great club who are respected worldwide. It will not be easy to repeat the championship achieved last season but we will do all we can in order to defend the SuperLiga title. This is an excellent opportunity to prove my skills as a coach at a great club and I can only promise that I will do my best to help Benfica win titles."

Likely candidate
Koeman had long been touted as the most likely successor to Trapattoni, who chose not to guide Benfica into the Champions League, preferring to be close to his home and family in Italy. However, in recent days, the Dutchman had been only one name on a list of potential candidates which included former Olympique Lyonnais coach Paul Le Guen, Javier Irureta and Alberto Zaccheroni.

Painful memory
Benfica fans may prefer to forget that Koeman was a member of the PSV Eindhoven side that overcame the Lisbon Eagles in the 1988 European Champion Clubs' Cup final. The libero converted the opening kick in PSV's 6-5 penalty shoot-out victory after 120 goalless minutes in Stuttgart.

Last updated: 27/06/05 11.21CET

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