Marco Tardelli a frontrunner for Greek job

Martin Jol and Frankfurt coach Armin Veh in contention to succeed Fernando Santos

Former Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli has emerged as the favourite to be the next Greece coach. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Former Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli has emerged as the favourite to be the next Greece coach. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

Former Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli has emerged as a frontrunner to manage Greece after this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

The Italian, Giovanni Trapattoni’s right-hand man during his five-and-a-half-year tenure with the FAI before the parties went their separate ways in September last year, is reported in Greece to be rivalling former Fulham and Tottenham manager Martin Jol in the race to succeed Fernando Santos, who will depart in July.

Former Chile and Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa was favourite for the position but a combination of financial constraints and interest in the Argentinian from French giants Marseille have derailed that pursuit, leaving Tardelli, Jol and Eintracht Frankfurt coach Armin Veh as the leading candidates.

Jol was due to meet with president of the Hellenic Football Association (EPO) Giorgos Sarris on Thursday night, while Tardelli is due in Athens on Friday. 

First choice
The Italian is thought to be Sarris’s first choice, not least, according to Greek media, because he came highly recommended by the FAI when the two teams met in a friendly in November 2012, months after Ireland were dismantled by Croatia, Spain and Italy in Euro 2012. Greece won the game 1-0.

Tardelli made little secret during his time with the FAI of his ambition to one day succeed his mentor but he may now view the closing of that particular chapter as a blessing, given Greece are ranked 10th in the latest Fifa world rankings and Ireland 65th.

Political ambition, however, may stand in his way if he goes ahead with plans to run for the European Parlaiment after being nominated by newly-installed Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.
 
Tardelli was with Renzi in London last week, where they met British prime minister David Cameron and London mayor Boris Johnson. According to the BBC, Tardelli told the latter: "I don't know much about politics".
 
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