Simeone named new Catania coach

MILAN - Serie A side Catania gave former Argentina midfielder Diego Simeone his first managerial job in European club football on Wednesday after Marco Giampaolo left by mutual consent.

The Sicilian club said in a statement that Simeone, mooted as a contender for the Inter Milan job last month before Leonardo was appointed, had signed a contract until June 2012.

The 40-year-old was well-known for his combative attitude as a player for Argentina, Inter, Lazio and Atletico Madrid and since his retirement he has carved out a reasonably successful career as a coach in his homeland.

He won the 2006 Apertura title with Estudiantes and the 2008 Clausura championship with River Plate but left San Lorenzo last April after poor results.

Simeone's return to Serie A is a tough test for his first European coaching job given Catania's uncompromising board and fans but he will join up with a raft of Argentinians already in the club's squad.

Sunday's 1-1 home draw with Chievo proved to be Giampaolo's last game in charge but his departure was a slight surprise with the perennial strugglers out of the drop zone in 15th spot.

His job was made harder by constant media speculation linking Catania's Argentine striker Maxi Lopez with Juventus.