Soccer / Luzon Weighs European Duo for Top Job

Former Italian national soccer coach Roberto Donadoni and former Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard are two of the leading candidates to replace Dror Kashtan on the sidelines as manager of Israel's national team.

The Israel Football Association intends on naming a successor to Kashtan this week. Mordechai Spiegler, who led the national team to its last World Cup finals appearance in 1970, has been named by the IFA to lead its search committee.

Spiegler met with Rijkaard in Turkey last week to discuss the job opening. He also met with Donadoni in Italy over the weekend.

Both Donadoni and Rijkaard have expressed interest in the job to IFA chairman Avi Luzon. Both candidates have also indicated that they would be willing to relocate to Israel if hired.

Luzon said he intended to discuss a contract with both men, and that he was hopeful a deal could be consummated with one of them by the end of the coming week. Both coaches agreed in principle to a two-year contract that will pay them upwards of 2 million euros per year.

Donadoni has already agreed to take the job, but Luzon is said to be leaning toward hiring Rijkaard.

Luzon has agreed to wait another week for Rijkaard to be released from his contract with Turkish club Galatasaray. In the event that Luzon is unable to snare either of the coaches, he will set his sights on two other European candidates.

Donadoni, 46, was a midfielder for AC Milan during its glory years in the 1980s and early 1990s. He was considered a key component of a team that captured five Serie A titles, three European Cups, three European Super Cups and two Intercontinental Cups.

After succeeding Marcello Lippi as head coach of the Italian national team after Italy won the 2006 World Cup, Donadoni led the team to the quarterfinals of Euro 2008, where Italy lost on penalty kicks to Spain. Last March, Donadoni was hired to coach Serie A side Napoli, only to be fired in October following a poor start to the season.

Rijkaard, 47, is a former teammate of Donadoni's at Milan. Prior to his stint in Italy, he began his career with Dutch side Ajax.

He was a member of the Netherlands team that won Euro 1988. Ten years later, he was hired as national coach. He led the Netherlands to the semifinals of Euro 2000, losing out to Italy. The loss cost Rijkaard his job.

In 2003, he was named head coach of Barcelona, where he would spend five productive years that included a Champions League title and two La Liga first-place finishes.

Last summer, he took over at Galatasaray, which currently trails first-place Turkish club Fenerbahce by one point.