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Guidolin's Riviera reverie

Italian Francesco Guidolin is looking forward to coaching "a big club" after taking up the vacant hot seat at Ligue 1 side AS Monaco FC.

Famous name
"He's a famous and well-regarded coach who has made his mark in Italy," said Pastor, who let go of Guidolin's predecessor Didier Deschamps on 12 September. "He has all the qualities to be a success here. He has signed until 2007 but I hope we will be together after that."

Parting shot
Deschamps' parting shot was to describe Monaco as "a good club, but not a big club". Guidolin did not seem to agree as he was introduced to the French press on Wednesday. "It's the first time in my life I will coach a big club," he said. "I have earned this chance, which is an honour."

Battling reputation
Born in Castelfranco Veneto, Guidolin's reputation in Italy has been won through his ability to make modest sides fight well above their weight. He made his name by lifting the Italian Cup with Vicenza Calcio in 1996/97 and taking them to the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals the following season.

Palermo success
Udinese Calcio and Bologna FC have also been guided by the coach's magic touch, and most recently, US Città di Palermo were beneficiaries, as he gained them promotion to Serie A and then a sixth-placed finish in the top flight in 2004/05.

Impossible task
That in turn secured Palermo a place in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup, but after being set targets for the new campaign, Guidolin decided to part company with the club whose 32-year Serie A exile he had ended. "My directors asked for more success and I knew it was impossible," he said.

Genoa crisis
Fortune seemed to have smiled on the coach when he was immediately offered a job at newly-promoted Genoa 1893, but his tenure was to be short and dramatic as the team were summarily relegated to Serie C1 after being found guilty of match-rigging in the course of their promotion season.

Modern pioneer
His move to Monaco makes Guidolin the first Italian to take charge of a Ligue 1 side since 1949, but the major concern for supporters in the principality is whether the principles that have served him so well in Italy will apply to the classy squad he has inherited at Stade Louis II.

Familiar names
"I only know a few players like [Olivier] Kapo, [Lucas] Bernardi and [Javier] Chevantón, but I am looking forward to the first training session," he said. "I think we can improve in the table. Maybe we cannot catch Olympique Lyonnais but I'm sure things can be done here."

Unbeaten run
Petit had enjoyed something of a purple patch with Monaco in recent weeks, steering them to three wins and a draw, and eleventh place. Clearly the potential is there for the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League finalists to rise from their torpor, and if Guidolin can tap into it, he could be in for a successful stay.