SPORTS

AEK hires Lorenzo SerraFerrer as club’s coach

Lorenzo Serra Ferrer was hired yesterday as coach of AEK on a two-year contract. Serra Ferrer has just finished a two-year spell with Real Betis. The Spanish club declined to renew his contract. «This is a challenge for me which I want to fulfill. I’m very glad about the plan I’m taking on,» said the 53-year-old coach. AEK, which finished second in the Greek first division’s standings following a long, neck-to-neck battle with Panathinaikos, will compete in the Champions League next season. However, the Athens club will need to get through a qualifying game late in the summer for a place in one of the prestigious European club-level competition’s groups. Olympiakos, the Greek league champion, qualifies for the group stage automatically. Serra Ferrer replaces Portugal’s Fernando Santos, who joined Benfica after two years with AEK. AEK finished second in the Greek league this season to earn a berth in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League. Serra Ferrer also had a stint with Betis from 1994-97. He then joined FC Barcelona, where he spent three years in charge of its reserve teams. Serra Ferrer became Barcelona’s senior coach in 2000 following the departure of Louis van Gala. He lost the job after less than a season and returned to the junior ranks for another year. Serra Ferrer has also coached Mallorca. His deal at AEK is reportedly worth 1 million euros per annum, plus bonuses. «I want to succeed. I’m ready for hard work, and I’m very satisfied with the deal reached at AEK,» said Serra Ferrer. As a first step in acquainting the Spaniard with his new side, AEK’s administration has provided Serra Ferrer with footage of games played by AEK in the past season as well as details on the club’s squad members. Dates for the coach’s move to Athens and his official presentation have not yet been provided by the club. (AP/Kathimerini)