Argentina's Juan Antonio Pizzi will be the new head coach of Spanish-league club Valencia, replacing Serbian Miroslav Djukic, the team said in a statement Thursday on its Web site.

Valencia began talks with Pizzi, who guided San Lorenzo to Argentina's Torneo Inicial title in December, after firing Djukic 10 days ago.

"He will be joined at Valencia CF by fitness coach Alejandro Richino and assistant Manuel Suarez," the statement added.

The 45-year-old Pizzi, who played as a forward for Valencia in the 1993-1994 season, had to negotiate the termination of his contract with San Lorenzo and will be arriving from Argentina shortly to join his new club.

Since beginning his coaching career in 2005, Pizzi has served stints at Argentine clubs Colon Santa Fe, Rosario Central and San Lorenzo, Peruvian side Universidad San Martin, and Chilean teams Santiago Morning and Club Deportivo Universidad Catolica.

As a player, Pizzi was a striker for Argentina's Rosario Central and River Plate, Spanish clubs Tenerife, Valencia, Barcelona and Villarreal, Mexican team Deportivo Toluca and Portugal's Porto.

Valencia, which has been one Spain's most successful clubs with six league championships, including two this century, has had an up-and-down season thus far.

The team has struggled in La Liga and currently sits 10th in the standings, 26 points off the pace of league leaders FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Despite its domestic struggles, the club has advanced to the knockout stage of the Europa League. EFE