La Liga

Betis hires Calderon to replace Garrido

Bahrain's coach Gabriel Calderon gestures during their Gulf Cup Tournament semi-final soccer match against Iraq in Isa Town, January 15, 2013.
Gabriel Calderon was named Real Betis' head coach on Sunday.
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Real Betis hired Argentine manager Gabriel Calderon to replace the fired Juan Carlos Garrido on Sunday, with hopes that its third coaching change of the season will boost its dwindling chances of remaining in Spain's top flight.

The struggling Spanish club announced Calderon's hiring on its website just hours after saying Garrido had been let go.

Betis said Calderon signed a contract until the end of the season, with another season being guaranteed if he can secure its place in the first division.

''This is a dream I have always had,'' said Calderon, who added that he had plans to go to Qatar when the Seville-based club approached him for the job. ''I didn't have a set date but when the delicate situation like this arose I came running.''

The 53-year-old Calderon played for Betis from 1983-87 and for Argentina's national side. He has coached in France, Switzerland and several clubs in the Middle East. He was also Saudi Arabia's national team coach.

Garrido was fired a day after Betis' 5-0 rout at home to Real Madrid that left it in last place in the standings and eight points from safety just past the season's midway mark.


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Garrido lasted seven weeks after replacing Pepe Mel, who recently took over for West Bromwich Albion in England.

Under Garrido, Betis was winless in five rounds, with one draw and four losses. It was also recently eliminated from the Copa del Rey. It is still alive in the Europa League.

Garrido is the fourth coach to be fired in Spain's 20-team first division this season.

Calderon is the fourth Argentine coaching in Spain's first division, joining Barcelona's Gerardo Martino, Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone, and Valencia's new coach, Juan Pizzi.

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