Struggling Ajax hires Nice coach Francesco Farioli on 3-year contract

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Struggling Dutch powerhouse Ajax signed Italian coach Francesco Farioli from Nice on Thursday on a three-year deal to replace John van 't Schip and return the four-time European champion to its former glory.

Ajax finished fifth in the top flight Eredivisie, 35 points behind champion PSV Eindhoven. Van 't Schip was appointed in October as an interim for the remainder of the season after Ajax fired Maurice Steijn after just seven matches.

The 35-year-old Farioli said he wants to return Ajax to the top of Dutch soccer by reconnecting “with the DNA of the club, aiming to bring new energy with a positive way of working and thinking.” He is the first foreign coach to lead Ajax since Morten Olsen of Denmark in 1998.

Farioli studied philosophy and never had a playing career but was plucked from a job as goalkeeping coach at the Aspire Academy in Qatar in late 2017 by fellow Italian coach Roberto De Zerbi, whose name has been linked with top clubs after two successful years at Brighton.

De Zerbi recruited Farioli for Serie A newcomers Benevento and the two worked together at Sassuolo, where Farioli was goalkeeper coach.

"Everything indicates that Francesco is an intelligent man who can interact well with people, which is also a very important part of the job. All in all, we are convinced that he fits in well at Ajax,” technical director Alex Kroes said on the Ajax website.

Farioli joined Nice last year, guiding the team to fifth place in France’s Ligue 1 this season.

Financial terms of his contract, which begins June 11, were not released.


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