Spalletti named new Zenit coach

ST PETERSBURG - Former AS Roma trainer Luciano Spalletti has been named coach of Zenit St Petersburg, the Russian Premier League club said on Friday.

"The board of directors has unanimously agreed to appoint Luciano Spalletti as head coach," Zenit said on their website.

The 50-year-old Italian replaces caretaker coach Anatoly Davydov after signing a three-year contract.

Spalletti, who quit Roma in September after a poor start to the Serie A season, becomes Zenit's third coach in five months in what has been a turbulent year for the St Petersburg club.

Zenit sacked Dutchman Dick Advocaat in August after a run of poor form, appointing Davydov until the end of the Russian league season.

Former Netherlands and South Korea coach Advocaat took over at Zenit in 2006 and guided them to the Russian title in 2007 and the UEFA Cup the following year.

Spalletti, named Italy's coach of the year in 2006 and 2007, has been given the tough task of leading Zenit to the Russian title next year.

"The new head coach faces the objective of returning the domestic title and gaining stable success in European competitions," Zenit said.