Monday, 11 December 2006

Prandelli wins Golden Bench award

Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli has been voted as the best coach in Italy for the 2005/06 season, being awarded the Panchina d'Oro.

The Viola boss was delighted after Sunday’s vital away win at Chievo which took them out of the relegation zone for the first time this season and his joy increased on Monday, when he was presented with the Golden Bench award in Coverciano.

The 49-year-old led the Tuscan giants to fourth place in Serie A and UEFA Champions League qualification, before the Viola were punished in the Calciopoli scandal that hit Italian football last summer and were demoted to ninth position.

"This is an important prize for me and it is worth even more because I was chosen by my colleagues," said the former Parma coach. "I wish to thank my entire staff, who are not always visible but never betray me. The club put an important team at my disposal and Florence greeted me well, giving me the enthusiasm I needed."

During his top-flight career, Prandelli has also coached Lecce, Verona and Parma while he was forced to quit the Roma hot seat before the start of the 2004/05 campaign due to family reasons.

"I did not expect this prize, I thought Luciano Spalletti would win it again [after winning it last year]. Roma enjoyed an excellent second part of the season and I thought he would be rewarded for this," concluded Prandelli.

Meanwhile, Antonio Soda won the Panchina d'Argento award (Silver Bench) for guiding Spezia back to Serie B following a 55-year absence. Special awards were also given to Marcello Lippi and his backroom team for their FIFA World Cup success with Italy last summer, as well as to former Under-21 coach Claudio Gentile for his work in developing the next generation of Azzurri.

Source: C4 Football Italia

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