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Aleksandar Djordjevic Named Coach of Milano

25.01.2006

Aleksandar Djordjevic joined the prestigious ranks of Serbia & Montenegro coaches on Wednesday after being appointed boss of Armani Jeans Milano.

Milano, with just 10 wins and seven defeats in Lega A, decided to axe coach Lino Lardo, who had been so successful one year ago when leading the team to an unexpected runners-up finish in Italy and into this year's Euroleague.

In addition to their problems in Lega A, the team has already been eliminated from contention for the Euroleague Top 16.

The 38-year-old Djordjevic is one of his country's finest ever players who finished his career with Milano last year - his second spell with the club.

A club statement said: "Olimpia Milano announces that it has decided to end its collaboration with coach Lino Lardo.

"We wish to thank Lardo for the fantastic results achieved last season and his professionalism shown during this time with Armani Jeans Milano.

"This decision, which is painful, has been taken in order to give a boost to the atmosphere after the disappointing results achieved on the court.

"The new coach of Armani Jeans Milano from today is Sasha Djordjevic."

Milano brought in players like Italian internationals Massimo Bulleri and Giacomo Galanda in the summer but the team has struggled to replicate last season's success.

Djordjevic's performances were a big reason why the club made it to the 2005 Lega A finals where they were beaten 3-1 by Climamio Fortitudo Bologna.

After that series clinching defeat in Milan - Ruben Douglas buried a three-pointer at the death to win the game for Fortitudo - Djordjevic wept and announced his retirement from playing.

The club attempted to bring him back this season after their bad start but he declined.

Djordjevic, who won EuroBasket 97 with his country and the FIBA World Championship the following year, has a wealth of experience as a point guard in Europe and for his national side.

He also played briefly in the NBA.

Milano will be a baptism of fire in the coaching profession as he has never been in charge of a team and Lega A is one of the top competitions in Europe.

Djordjevic does not have a coaching badge so Milano will put someone who does alongside him.

Marco Crespi, the former Scavolini Pesaro coach, and Lega A coaching veteran Slobodan Subotic have been mentioned as possibilities. Subotic has also coached Slovenia's national team.

Numerous players have gone on to become coaches in Serbia & Montenegro, including prominent men in the game in Barcelona boss Dusko Ivanovic and Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic.

Bozidar Maljkovic of Real Madrid and Svetislav Pesic of Lottomatica Roma are also two of the most respected men in the sport.

Djordjevic has a huge reputation in his homeland but is equally idolised by Milano fans, who will now be hoping he proves equally adept at coaching.

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