Former Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni has been named as the manager of the Republic of Ireland.
The 68-year-old has coached Red Bull Salzburg during the last two years but will leave the Austrian side in the summer to begin a two-year contract in charge of the Republic.
Ireland have been looking for a new manager since parting company with Steven Staunton in October, following a disappointing UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
The Italian is one of the most experienced and successful coaches in the game, having won league titles in four countries – Italy, Germany, Austria and Portugal – as well as a number of European trophies.
"I was approached [by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI)] ten days ago and after talks with them I have agreed to take the job. It is an exciting job," Trapattoni said.
"I know many of the Irish players and I think they are like Austria – they are not a second division team, they are a top division team."
Trapattoni added that he has also spoken to former Irish international Liam Brady, who played under him at Juventus in the early 1980s, about a possible role in his backroom team.
"I am hopeful Arsene Wenger will let Liam do the job as well as his Arsenal commitment," said the former Juve, AC Milan, Inter, Bayern Munich and Benfica boss. "I knew Liam as a player and I asked him if it was possible for him to work with me a bit.
"He speaks good Italian and he knows the players. We can work together but not all the time because Liam has a good job at Arsenal."
Trapattoni's salary will be partly funded by an Irish entrepreneur Denis O'Brien. FAI chief executive John Delaney said O'Brien's financial offer was "a pivotal moment in the recruitment process because it enabled us to raise the bar even higher than intended".
O'Brien, who made his billions in mobile phones and media, has offered to cover half the cost of the new managerial team. "I'm a great believer if you hire the right people you get the right results," said O'Brien.
Delaney added: "Everyone acknowledges the senior national team has not achieved to the extent that we would all like over the past five years but we're now entering a new era with a manager whose record is among the most successful in Europe.
"He's widely acknowledged as one of the most outstanding and successful coaches in the modern game."
Trapattoni vowed to lead the Republic to the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals and is confident they can finish top of a group despite it including his countrymen.
Italy will be at home to Ireland on 1 April 2009 with the return game taking place six months later on 10 October.
As well as the Azzurri, Ireland will be up against Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia and Montenegro in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group 8 from the autumn.
"Qualifying for the World Cup in 2010 will be hard, and playing against the Italian team will make me proud, but it should be possible for Ireland to come first," insisted Trapattoni, who managed Italy from 2000 to 2004.
The veteran Italian coach won six Serie A titles with Juventus and one with Inter. He also led Bayern Munich, Benfica and Salzburg to league titles.
His European honours include the European Cup, three UEFA Cups and a Cup Winners' Cup triumph during his spells at Juventus and Inter.
He'll take charge of his first game in a friendly against Serbia on 24 May.
Source: UEFA / BBC