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Albania hires Christian Panucci as national team coach


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TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania has hired former Italy defender Christian Panucci as its national team coach, replacing Gianni de Biasi.

Albanian soccer federation president Armand Duka says the 44-year-old Panucci was hired to lead the team through the 2020 European Championship.

Panucci, who played for AC Milan, Inter Milan, Roma and Real Madrid, says his "only goal is to take Albania to the Euro 2020 finals."

As a coach, Panucci has worked as an assistant to Italian coach Fabio Capello with Russia's national team. He has also coached Italian clubs of Livorno and Ternana.

Under de Biasi, who resigned last month, Albania played at its first major tournament at last year's European Championship.

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