Soccer

Last-place Zaragoza fires coach Javier Aguirre

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ZARAGOZA, Spain (AP)

Last-place Zaragoza reached an agreement with Javier Aguirre to terminate the Mexican coach's contract on Friday.

Aguirre took over the heavily indebted Spanish club last season and managed to keep it in the first division. But Aguirre hasn't had much success this season with Zaragoza last in the standings with 10 points from 16 games.

''The sporting situation the Aragon club found itself in meant an urgent change was needed, which is why this agreement was reached,'' Zaragoza said in a statement on its website on Friday.

Aguirre is the fifth Spanish league coach to be fired this season. Zaragoza was scheduled to announce its coaching plans for the remainder of the season later Friday.

Former Mexico coach Aguirre, who previously coached Spanish clubs Atletico Madrid and Osasuna, couldn't stop a terrible run of 11 games without a victory, including five straight league losses. Zaragoza was also recently eliminated from the Copa del Rey by second division Alcorcon.

''The players will get the club out of this situation,'' Aguirre was quoted as saying in the Spanish media on Friday. ''I would have liked to have stayed until the end but I understand that these things happen in football.''

Zaragoza has been a mainstay of topflight Spanish football until recent financial difficulties have seen it struggle to avoid relegation, which it has failed to do twice since 2003. The club is in bankruptcy protection and has only managed to sign players thanks to a private investment fund. It reportedly has debts of ?134 million ($192 million).

Zaragoza, which is five points back of 17th-place Villarreal to avoid the drop, plays at 19th-place Racing Santander next, on Jan. 7.



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