|Zaccheroni (AFP file)|
ROME, Jan 29, 2010 (AFP) - Juventus on Friday named Alberto Zaccheroni as their new coach in place of Ciro Ferrara, who was sacked after a string of poor results.
It is Zaccheroni's first job since he was fired as coach of Torino in February 2007, and he takes charge of Juve in time for Sunday's Serie A home clash with Lazio.
He wasted no time in vowing to haul the club up by their bootstraps, immediately promising to deliver Champions League qualification.
"I like challenges - this is a new era," said Zaccheroni. "I am convinced I can rise to this challenge. A man who likes football would pay to be handed this opportunity.
"My minimum objective is to qualify for the Champions League," added the 56-year-old, who has previously coached Udinese (1995-98), AC Milan (1998-2001) - with whom he won the 1999 scudetto - Lazio (2001-02) and Inter Milan (2003-04).
Ferrara's departure had long been predicted after the Turin giants slipped to sixth in the league standings following five losses in their last six games.
They have also been knocked out of the Champions League and exited the Italian Cup, for a record of nine losses in 12 games played since the end of November.
Ferrara, a former Italy and Juventus defender, had been handed the job despite his lack of experience just before the end of last season after current Roma coach Claudio Ranieri was fired.
Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez said that he was proud of Juventus's reported interest in him, in comments that will be seen as keeping the door open to a possible move to Serie A.
Juventus have not confirmed the length of Zaccheroni's contract but local media reported that he had only been guaranteed the role until the end of the season.
That may be a sign that Juve's directors, who reportedly sent a delegation to Liverpool to see Benitez earlier this week, still harbour hope of persuading the Spaniard to quit Anfield.
Benitez insisted on Friday that he did not want to talk about the subject but, perhaps significantly, confirmed he had been made aware of Juventus's interest.
"I am not here to talk about speculation because people talk too much," he told reporters.
"I am focused on preparing my team for the game against Bolton. I know they (Juventus) were interested, that is part of the game now in football, but I am not ready to talk too much because I don't want to lose my focus.
"When you are a manager and you have clubs asking (for you), you have to be proud because they are a top side in Europe, but I am really happy here and want to do my job as best I can."