Roma hires coach Paulo Fonseca from Shakhtar Donetsk

<p>
              FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 file photo, Shakhtar coach Paulo Fonseca, dressed as Zorro, attends a press conference after victory for his team in the Champions League group F soccer match between Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk at the Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Portuguese coach Fonseca, who won fame for dressing up as Zorro after beating Manchester City in the Champions League in 2017, has won three consecutive league titles in Ukraine with Shakhtar. The club hasn’t been able to return to its home city of Donetsk since 2014 because it’s occupied by Russia-backed separatists. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)
            </p>

ROME (AP) — Paulo Fonseca has been hired as coach by Roma from Shakhtar Donetsk to try leading the club back into the Champions League.

Roma said the Portuguese coach signed a two-year contract, with an option for a third year.

Fonseca has “a winning mentality and a reputation for bold, attacking football that will excite our fans,” the Italian club’s American president, Jim Pallotta, said in a statement.

Roma placed sixth in Serie A after Eusebio Di Francesco was fired in March, the day after the team was eliminated in the Champions League round of 16 by Porto. Claudio Ranieri took over as interim coach.

Fonseca led Shakhtar to three straight league and cup doubles in Ukraine and leaves behind a spot in the group stage of the Champions League.

Roma starts in the Europa League qualifying rounds on July 25.

In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Fonseca said: “I love to be here in Shakhtar, but I’m ambitious. I want to work in the best European leagues.”

Fonseca made his name leading unheralded Pacos de Ferreira to third place in the Portuguese league in 2013. He left to join champion Porto before Pacos lost in the next season’s Champions League qualifying playoffs.

The Mozambique-born coach is known for taking a relaxed approach with his players.

After Shakhtar beat Manchester City 2-1 in a Champions League group stage game in December 2017, he dressed up as Zorro to celebrate in a bet with a club director.

“I like to joke with my players. I like to smile with them,” he told The AP. “Life is too good to be so serious and sometimes we have to break walls with jokes.”