Athletic Bilbao have reached an agreement in principle to appoint Marcelino as coach until 2022 after sacking Gaizka Garitano.

The LaLiga club sacked Garitano, who took charge in December 2018, just hours after recording a 1-0 win over Elche on Sunday.

That result sees Athletic sitting ninth in the table, seven points adrift of fifth-placed Barcelona.

Former Valencia boss Marcelino was announced as Garitano's replacement later on Sunday.

Athletic announced they had reached an agreement in principle with Marcelino until 2022.

After more than two years in charge, Marcelino was sacked by Valencia in September 2019.

He helped the LaLiga club win the Copa del Rey in 2018-19.

Could Cristiano Ronaldo's time in Turin be coming to an end?

Ronaldo is contracted to Juventus until 2022 but the Italian giants are believed to be willing to part with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Neymar could be his direct replacement.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO OUT, NEYMAR IN?

Juventus are keen to swap Cristiano Ronaldo for Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar, according to TuttoMercatoWeb.

Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Serie A champions Juve, while Neymar's future has often dominated headlines amid speculation over a Barcelona return.

But the superstar pair could be involved in a blockbuster swap deal as both players are on similar contracts.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims Athletic Bilbao are eyeing former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, with the future of current head coach Gaizka Garitano uncertain. Pochettino has been linked to Manchester United.

Milan are targeting a January move for Schalke defender and Liverpool target Ozan Kabak, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Hellas Verona's Matteo Lovato is an alternative, while the Rossoneri are also eyeing Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram. The French forward has been linked to the likes of Juve, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City.

- Zinedine Zidane remains determined to bring Eduardo Camavinga to Madrid, however, Mundo Deportivo says the France sensation will not leave Rennes for below €100million.

- According to Manchester Evening News, United could rekindle their interest in Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish amid his dazzling form. Grealish and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho were both linked with Old Trafford moves during the previous transfer window.

Gaizka Garitano has seen his Athletic Bilbao contract extended by another season after guiding the Basque club to the Copa del Rey final.

Garitano – previously Athletic's reserve coach – was appointed until the end of the 2018-19 campaign when Eduardo Berizzo was sacked with the team in relegation trouble after 14 matches.

The former Real Sociedad midfielder took Athletic up the table and into European contention to earn the opportunity to continue in the role for 2019-20.

And another impressive outing has seen Garitano secure a further 12-month extension.

Athletic endured a three-month winless run earlier this term but were 10th in LaLiga when the season was suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Crucially, Garitano's side had also reached a mouthwatering all-Basque Copa decider against rivals Real Sociedad.

"I am very happy for the confidence shown in me by the club," the coach said.

"This is the team that I have followed since childhood, from my heart. Running it is a joy and a responsibility.

"The experience lived this year in the Copa is magnificent and we have the opportunity to win a title. You have to stick with the positive things and try to improve."

Athletic Bilbao coach Gaizka Garitano was delighted for the Basque Country after booking a spot in the Copa del Rey final against Real Sociedad.

Despite a 2-1 loss to Granada on Thursday, Athletic reached the final on the away goals rule after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

It means they will face Sociedad on April 18 in the first Basque derby Copa del Rey decider.

Garitano was thrilled by his team's progression, which came thanks to Yuri Berchiche's 81st-minute goal.

"Joy to go to a final. Congratulations to Real because they have managed to reach the final," he said, via AS.

"Happy for a Basque final, for Basque football."

Garitano added: "The team has a lot of merit … it gets out of where it doesn't exist, it doesn't lower its head in the worst situations. Happy for the people of Bilbao, many people are happy what has happened."

After Athletic won the first leg 1-0, goals from Carlos Fernandez and German Sanchez Barahona had Granada on track before Berchiche's strike.

With Athletic (10th) behind Real Sociedad (sixth) in LaLiga, Garitano feels his side's rivals have the edge.

"Right now they are superior, but we are not easy to beat," he said.

"They have great players and they are very good."

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