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Berizzo sacked as Sevilla coach weeks after cancer surgery

19:38 GMT 22/12/2017
Eduardo Berizzo - cropped
The La Liga side have taken the decision to relieve Eduardo Berizzo of his duties following an unimpressive start to the season

Eduardo Berizzo has been sacked as Sevilla coach.

The former Celta Vigo boss was appointed in June following Jorge Sampaoli's decision to leave and take up the reins of Argentina's national team.

Expectations were high at the start of the season after the squad received an estimated €65 million of investment, but Berizzo struggled to implement a style or impose an identity on the team, and a board meeting on Friday confirmed the former River Plate defender's fate.

A statement shortly after the conclusion of the meeting read: "The Board of Directors of Sevilla FC, who met this Friday, December 22, has taken the decision to dismiss the coach of the first team, Eduardo Berizzo, due to the team's bad run."

Although Wednesday's 3-1 defeat at Real Sociedad was their fourth successive match without a win across all competitions, Sevilla still sit fifth in La Liga and have qualified for the knockout phase of the Champions League.

And it was in Europe that arguably Berizzo's best moment as Sevilla coach came, as he saw his side fight back from 3-0 down at half-time to draw 3-3 with Liverpool at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan - Guido Pizarro getting the last-minute equaliser.

It was after the match that news broke of Berizzo suffering from prostate cancer, the club and players subsequently rallying around him with public messages of support.

He underwent successful surgery at the start of December and returned to the dugout to a huge ovation for Levante's visit last Friday, but Sevilla were held to an underwhelming 0-0 draw.

On top of disjointed performances and unimpressive results, there have also been reports of tension between Berizzo and some members of the playing staff, most notably Steven N'Zonzi, who is said to have left the stadium at half-time in the Liverpool draw after being criticised by the coach.

Sevilla also confirmed that they have already started discussions in an attempt to hire Berizzo's successor, with Javi Gracia, Luis Enrique and Laurent Blanc thought to be among the favourites.

Their statement concluded: "Sevilla FC reports that we have already begun talks to formalise the hiring of the new coach, who is expected to join with the return of the staff after the Christmas holidays."

Sevilla are in action in a Copa del Rey trip to Cadiz on January 3, with their next La Liga outing coming three days later against bitter local rivals Real Betis.