Gianluca Atzori said that he was forced to leave Premier League club Floriana due to unpaid wages.
On Monday morning, Floriana FC said that Atzori had decided to part ways with the club with immediate effect, despite having one year left on his contract.
Atzori arrived at the club in 2021 and in his first season in charge, he helped Floriana not only to challenge Hibernians for the Premier League title, before finishing as runners-up, but went on to win the FA Trophy after defeating Valletta in the final.
Last season, Floriana struggled to get going under Atzori, as the team failed to challenge any silverware as well as missed out on a place in Europe as they finished in seventh place.
Contacted by the Times of Malta hours after his departure Atzori said that he had not been paid by Floriana since last January and given these conditions he could not stay on.
“I am very disappointed that I left Floriana FC, but the situation has become untenable for me,” the Italian coach explained.
“I have not been paid by the club since last January. Unfortunately, in the last months, I tried to solve the situation but without success particularly as my relationship with club president Johann Said deteriorated.”
Atzori said that he feels very disappointed to have been forced to leave the club as the poor results attained in season 2022-23 had filled him with fresh motivation to help the team bounce back next season.
“It’s tough for me to leave as after the poor season we had at Floriana I was fully motivated to try and make things right and put the team where it deserves to be,” Atzori said.
“But that is part of football and I had no other option but to leave.
“I would like to thank all the people at the club that have supported me during the past two years. In particular, I would like to show my gratitude to the club’s fans who have always been behind the team and myself even in difficult periods during the season.”
Earlier, Floriana issued a statement to announce Atzori’s departure and that worked had started to find a replacement.
“Floriana Football Club can confirm that head-coach Gianluca Atzori has left his position as head-coach of the Club with immediate effect,” the club said in a statement.
“The Club would like to express its gratitude to Mr. Atzori for his efforts during his time with the club.
“The process of appointing a new head-coach is already underway and the club will update supporters in due course.”
Floriana are currently scouring the market to appoint a new head coach in the coming days or weeks.
The Times of Malta can confirm that the Greens are keen on Gżira United coach Darren Abdilla, who, however, has another year left on his contract with the Maroons.
Should they fail to secure the services of Abdilla, it is likely that they will bring in another foreign coach.
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