Soccer: Adelaide release coach Gombau, Barca great Amor takes over

Soccer: Adelaide release coach Gombau, Barca great Amor takes over
(L-R) Barcelona's former player Guillermo Amor, player Carles Puyol, Barcelona's President Sandro Rosell, coach Pep Guardiola and Catalonia's President Artur Mas
PHOTO: Reuters

SYDNEY - A-League club Adelaide United reluctantly agreed to release Spanish coach Josep Gombau from the remainder of his contract and installed former Barcelona midfielder Guillermo Amor in his place on Friday.

Gombau, a former Barcelona youth team coach, joined Adelaide in 2013 after a spell in Hong Kong and helped the South Australian club to sixth place in the A-League and the inaugural FFA Cup title last season.

The 39-year-old had been linked with a post at Major League Soccer (MLS) club New York City but he said his decision to leave Adelaide was made for family reasons and that he would be taking a break from the professional game.

The Catalan built a possession-based team on the Nou Camp template in Adelaide and said the same style of play would remain under former Spain midfielder Amor, who Gombau brought to the club as technical director last year. "When I came I wanted to put a new philosophy into the club, we wanted a new style," Gombau told a news conference in Adelaide. "We wanted to introduce more South Australia-born players into the club and we wanted to bring more people to our games. "These are the things we have done and we have achieved our goals so far. "I am leaving but the club will keep the same philosophy and they will keep all the coaching staff. At this moment, no one would do the job better than Guillermo." Club chairman Greg Griffin said it was with "deep regret" that he had agreed to cancel Gombau's contract after the coach had "revolutionised" the club.

Amor said he was excited by the opportunity but sad that Gombau would be leaving. "It's been a year since I got here and I came because of Josep and he's my close friend," he said. "Regarding our philosophy, it's well known that Josep and I share the same idea stemming from Barcelona. We're focused on producing football that is beautiful to watch and successful." Adelaide open the 2015-2016 A-League season against champions Melbourne Victory on Oct. 9.

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