Galatasaray part company with Rijkaard after slump in results

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The Independent Football

Frank Rijkaard's contract as coach of Galatasaray has been terminated by mutual agreement, the club said yesterday, ending his spell in charge after a terrible start to the season.

The former Uefa Cup winners are ninth in the Turkish championship after eight games, eight points adrift of the leaders Bursaspor. Galatasaray also failed to reach the group stage of this season's Champions League or Europa League.

It was not immediately clear who would take over from the Dutchman, but local media said that the 17-times Turkish champions had made an offer to the former Galatasaray and Turkey coach Fatih Terim.

Rijkaard's departure followed a Galatasaray management board meeting this week after Saturday's 4-2 home defeat by Ankaragucu.

"As a result of mutual talks with technical director Frank Rijkaard we have decided to part ways as of 20 October," the club said in a statement on its website, adding that the trainer Johan Neeskens and their assistants had also left the club.

"We have a debt of gratitude to the esteemed Frank Rijkaard for his work and efforts for Galatasaray," the statement added, without disclosing a reason for the decision.

The Dutchman took the helm at the Istanbul club in 2009 after five seasons in charge of Barcelona, where he won the European Cup in 2006 with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the final, joining a select few to have won the trophy as a manager and a player.

The news had a positive impact on shares in Galatasaray, which were up almost 5 per cent to just over 370 lira (£164) on the Istanbul Stock Exchange.

Galatasaray took the decision ahead of a key derby match against their Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce on Sunday.

The move also comes at a time of transition for the club, which is due to start playing next year at the new 53,000-capacity Turk Telekom Arena stadium. That will mark the end of a long era at the decrepit Ali Sami Yen stadium.

Turkish media said the club had made an official offer to Fatih Terim, who had two previous spells with Galatasaray in the late 1990s and between 2002-2004. He subsequently coached the national side, taking them to the semi-finals of Euro 2008, but resigned after failing to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

The newspaper Sabah reported that Terim was expected to make his decision on whether to accept the offer yesterday and added that the club had also made an offer to its former striker Hakan Sukur to take the post of sporting director.

Local media also listed Gheorghe Hagi, Tugay Kerimoglu, Graeme Souness and the Turkish coach Hikmet Karaman as possible candidates to take over from Rijkaard.