Aragones 'signs two year deal with Fenerbahce'

June 25, 2008

ISTANBUL, June 25 (Reuters) - Turkish league Fenerbahce announced on Wednesday a provisional two-year contract with coach Luis Aragones, the day before he guides Spain in a semi-final against Russia at Euro 2008.

Aragones will bring with him a four-member training team, with a final contract to be signed after Euro 2008, Fenerbahce said in a statement in Turkish on its website (www.fenerbahce.org).

'Aragones is free at the end of the tournament and he is perfectly within his rights to decide his own future,' Spanish Football Federation spokesman Jorge Carretero told Reuters.

'From the federation's point of view there is no problem at all.'

Aragones is still insisting there is no agreement but said his agent was trying to secure him a job as a club coach.

'I don't think this will affect my team whatsoever,' he said.

'It's just another story. I have not signed anything with anybody.'

It was long known that Aragones would be leaving as national team coach and he has dismissed suggestions that he might stay on if Spain won Euro 2008.

Aragones, who will turn 70 in July, saw his side become the first Spanish team to make the semi-finals of a major tournament in 24 years after they clinched a penalty shoot-out victory over world champions Italy on Sunday.

The shootout victory over Italy came after a run of nine consecutive wins, while they are unbeaten in 20.

'Our club has made a two-year preliminary contract with Luis Aragones, who is currently the technical director of the Spain national team, to be our soccer coach in the new season,' Fenerbahce said.

The move by the Turkish club comes after it failed to reach a new contract deal with former Brazilian international Zico.

Zico, who took charge at Fenerbahce in July 2006 after coaching the Japanese national team, led the Istanbul club to the Champions League quarter-finals this season but lost out to city rivals Galatasaray in the domestic title race.

Aragones is already one of the Spanish national team's most successful managers having won 37 of his 52 matches at the helm and lost just four.

He had an illustrious playing career as a powerful goalscoring forward at Atletico Madrid, then steered the club to victory in the Intercontinental Cup in 1975, the domestic Cup in 1976 and the league title in 1977.

His managerial CV includes five separate spells at Atletico as well as stints at other high-profile clubs such as Barcelona, Betis, Valencia and Real Mallorca.

He first emerged as a possible candidate for the post of Spain coach back in 1991 but was passed over in favour of Vicente Miera and he turned the job down seven years later when he was offered it following the departure of Javier Clemente.

After the team's disappointing group stage exit at Euro 2004 he decided his time had finally come and was named as Inaki Saez's successor.