Rudi Garcia has been sacked by Napoli, the Italian champions announced on Tuesday, after a poor start to the season left their Serie A title defence floundering.
Napoli added that Walter Mazzarri returns after a decade to replace Frenchman Garcia, who was dismissed for allowing the team to fall 10 points behind league leaders Inter Milan.
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The announcement of Mazzarri’s Napoli comeback, reportedly returns to Napoli on a deal until the end of the current campaign, initially came via owner Aurelio De Laurentiis.
The movie mogul simply wrote “welcome back Walter!” on X, formerly known as Twitter, after the club confirmed Garcia’s sacking.
Garcia, 59, was fired after Sunday’s 1-0 home defeat to Empoli which was greeted by a deluge of boos and whistles from supporters whose joy at winning a first Scudetto since 1990 has vanished.
Reports of his dismissal emerged almost immediately after that defeat, Napoli’s fourth at home in all competitions this season.
Mazzarri, 62, helped return southern Italy’s biggest club to the upper echelons of Serie A in his first, four-year spell.
He guided Napoli to the 2012 Italian Cup, beating undefeated league champions Juventus in the final to win the club’s first trophy in over two decades.
Mazzarri left in May 2013 after finishing second in Italy’s top flight with a thrilling team which boasted Ezequiel Lavezzi, Marek Hamsík and Edinson Cavani in attack.
He took over at Inter Milan shortly afterwards but was sacked in November that year and his career has since taken a downward turn, with uninspiring spells at Watford, Torino and Cagliari leaving him a surprising choice ahead of Igor Tudor.
Former Croatia defender Tudor, who won two Serie A titles with Juventus as a player, took Marseille to third in Ligue 1 last season but left the long-troubled club “for professional and private reasons”.
Tudor also did an excellent job the previous season at Verona, who finished ninth after he took over from sacked Eusebio Di Francesco early in that campaign.