Mircea Lucescu takes charge at Zenit

Mircea Lucescu has been confirmed as the new coach of Zenit, taking over from André Villas-Boas a few days after ending a 12-year spell as Shakhtar Donetsk boss.

Mircea Lucescu will return to the UEFA Europa League with Zenit
Mircea Lucescu will return to the UEFA Europa League with Zenit ©AFP/Getty Images

Mircea Lucescu has been announced as the new coach of Russian side Zenit, replacing André Villas-Boas.

The St Petersburg side have agreed a two-year contract with the 70-year-old Romanian coach, with the option of a further year. Lucescu brought an end to his 12-year spell at Shakhtar Donetsk on Saturday.

"It's a big honour for me to become coach of Zenit," Lucescu said. "We talked about the club a lot when I was still at Shakhtar. I know about the team's potential, its supporters, Zenit's style of play and their European ambitions. Saint Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I hope we'll reach the goals we're striving for and be as successful as our fans hope. I feel enthusiastic and am looking forward to getting down to business."

Zenit finished third in Russia this season but won the Russian Cup, and will thus start their 2016/17 European campaign in the group stage of the UEFA Europa League – a competition Lucescu won with Shakhtar in 2009 when it was the UEFA Cup.

Villas-Boas had been in charge of Zenit since March 2014, but confirmed in the autumn that this season would be his last with the club.

A winger with Dinamo București and Romania, Lucescu's coaching career has taken in spells in Romania, Italy, Turkey and Ukraine, where he won more than 20 trophies with Shakhtar. He announced his departure after the final of the Ukrainian Cup, a 2-0 win against Zorya Luhansk.

Lucescu has won domestic titles in Romania, Turkey and Ukraine and will seek to become one of only a handful of coaches to have won top leagues in four UEFA member nations.