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Markarian back at Panathinaikos

Sergio Markarian has returned to coach Greek side Panathinaikos FC five months after resigning.

Sergio Markarian has returned to coach Panathinaikos FC just five months after he resigned from the Greek club citing the need for "time off to collect my thoughts and relax".

Popular figure 
The 48-year-old Markarian walked out on Panathinaikos in May after an action-packed 129 days to be replaced by the Portuguese trainer Fernando Santos, who himself quit the post last Wednesday. A popular figure with the Athens club's supporters, the former Paraguay coach took his first training session back at the OAKA Spiros Louis stadium today ahead of an official unveiling tomorrow.

'Happy to be back' 
"I am very happy to be back," said Markarian, who led Panathinaikos to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals last term. "We have a lot of work in front of us. I want to talk first to the players to see where we are. I know things are difficult, but I like it that way."

European encounter
One of Markarian's first tasks will be to prepare the team for the eagerly awaited UEFA Cup second-round tie with Fenerbahçe SK, the first meeting between Greek and Turkish clubs. The first leg is in Istanbul on 31 October ahead of the 14 November return in Athens.

Santos departure 
Santos left saying he wanted to be considered for the vacant Portuguese national coach's position. He had succeeded Markarian in the summer but the club lost their first three matches of the season and are 13th in the Alpha Ethniki.

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