Cagliari of the Italian Serie A announced on June 20 that 67-year-old Zdenek Zeman of the Czech Republic has been hired as the club’s new manager. The announcement was made by Tommaso Giulini, who is the club’s new owner. The news was expected by Cagliari fans since rumours of his appointment had been swirling around for several days. He was also wanted by Bologna of Serie B, but has settled on a one-year contract with Cagliari. Zeman will be inheriting a team that finished in 15th place last campaign.
Giulini told the Italian press, “Zdenek Zeman was our top candidate right from the beginning. His type of football has always fascinated me and I’m sure that he will make his mark on Cagliari. Recently I’ve heard stories that he preferred other clubs to ours, but I’m convinced that we appealed to him from the start.”
Zeman had been looking for work since February when he was sacked by AS Roma. He was in charge of Roma for just 23 league games with nine of them being losses. Zemen likes his teams to play attractive, attacking football, but they’re often exposed defensively. Cagliari, who were formed in 1969, have just been sold for approximately 45 million euros. ($61.27 million) and Giulini hopes to turn the team’s fortunes around as soon as possible.
The club often played in front of just 5,000 fans last season at the rundown Sant’Elia Stadium and at one point had to play 1,000 kilometres away in Trieste. Giulini said that will be rectified by adding, “Work on the Sant’Elia will begin on Wednesday. By the start of the new season it will have 12,000 places, and by December the stadium will be able to host 16,000 people. By the end of the year we aim to have a definitive project. The idea is to have a 30,000-capacity stadium.”