IF A SECTION of Al Rayyan fans were a little peeved about coach Jorge Fossati’s resignation to take charge of the Qatar national team last week, the club management pulled off a surprise by quickly finding a perfect replacement in Michael Laudrup.
Fossati had helped Rayyan win the Qatar Stars League (QSL) title after a two-decade gap.
“The board of Al Rayyan football club has reached an agreement with Denmark’s Michael Laudrup to be the manager of the club,” said the club’s website.
Former Barcelona and Real Madrid great Laudrup, who beat off competition from former Tottenham manager Christian Gross, is expected to reach Doha soon and start coaching, the website added. The details of the contract are not yet known.
Laudrup, one of the best midfielders the game has ever produced, has prior experience in Qatar, having managed Lekhwiya. He guided them to a double — the league shield and Qatar Cup — for the first time in history in 2014-15.
The 52-year-old has not coached since leaving Lekhwiya, reportedly after failing to reach an agreement with the team management over a new contract. He tried his luck in getting into the administrative set-up at Barcelona as technical director, but the panel he belonged to did not succeed in the elections.
Fossati wished Laudrup all success.
“I don’t think Laudrup needs any introduction in Qatar football. He was a successful coach with Lekhwiya. I think it’s the best that can happen to the club at this moment,” said Fossati.