Inter target Spalletti to stay put in Russia

MOSCOW - Luciano Spalletti will remain as coach of Zenit St Petersburg at least for another season, the Russian Premier League club said on Tuesday.

"Spalletti himself had told us that he would stay at Zenit at least for another season," Zenit general director Maxim Mitrofanov told reporters.

"I think that is more than enough for us to trust him. Spalletti is unique. It would be simply impossible for him to deceive or lie to us about his future plans."

Italian media reported on Monday that Spalletti was favourite to replace Rafael Benitez as coach of world club, European and Italian champions Inter Milan.

Spalletti, 51, this year led Zenit to a domestic league and cup double in his first season in St Petersburg.

The big-spending club, backed by Russian energy giant Gazprom, has decided to spend some $100 million to reinforce the team next year, local media reported.

The next Russian season switches from its traditional March-November format to a calendar more in line with the rest of Europe, starting in March 2011 and concluding at the end of May 2012.