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Napoli sack García, hire Mazzarri amid shaky title defense

Napoli have hired Walter Mazzarri as their new head coach after firing Rudi García just four months into his tenure, the club revealed on Tuesday.

Mazzarri, who previously coached the Italian champions from 2009 to 2013, has reportedly signed a deal until the end of the season.

De Laurentiis announced the move in a post on X, formerly Twitter, saying “Welcome back Walter!” The club later confirmed the news on its own social channels.

His hiring brings the short-lived García era to an end, with De Laurentiis seeing Sunday’s 1-0 home defeat to Empoli as the final straw.

“SSC Napoli has made the decision to relieve first-team coach Rudi Garcia of his duties with immediate effect,” the club said in a statement.

“The club would like to thank Rudi and his coaching staff for their hard work.”

Napoli sit fourth in Serie A, 10 points behind league leaders Inter Milan.

Home form proved a particular problem for García, with the team’s last victory in all competitions at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona coming against Udinese on Sept. 27.

The 59-year-old Garcia, a Frenchman, had a fairly successful spell with Roma from 2013-16 during his only previous job in Italy. But he didn’t achieve the desired results in his most recent job at Al Nassr, the Saudi Arabian team that Cristiano Ronaldo joined after the World Cup.

Standout center forward Victor Osimhen has been injured and Garcia was questioned for benching dribbling wizard Khvicha Kvaratskhelia — last season’s Serie A player of the year– at the start versus Empoli. There were jeers when Garcia’s name was read out before the match.

Mazzarri’s most recent managerial experience came at Cagliari, where he was sacked in May 2022 after eight months in charge with the team in the relegation zone.

Mazzarri faces a tough start to his second spell at the helm as Napoli’s matches after the international break are against Atalanta, Real Madrid, Inter and Juventus.

Steve Carr

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