Former Socceroos defender Tony Popovic has become the latest Australian coach ruthlessly axed by a European club.
The ex-Western Sydney Wanderers and Perth Glory coach has been sacked by Greek second division team Xanthi after less than 10 league games at the helm.
Popovic joined the club, owned by Greek-Australian businessman Bill Papas, after the 2020-21 A-League campaign – having led the Glory to back-to-back finals series.
His sacking from Xanthi comes with the club fifth on the 12-team ladder having secured three wins in their past four games.
“I want to thank Tony for the excellent work he has offered to the team since September 2020 when he took office,” Papas said in a statement on the Xantho website.
“With great sadness and respect for Tony, we announce the end of our partnership.”
Popovic’s exit comes after former Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat was sacked by Belgian top flight club Sint-Truiden in December after just 14 matches in charge.
After taking the helm at Xanthi, Popovic had signed fringe Socceroos Josh Brillante and Matt Jurman as well as former A-League players Paul Izzo and Callan Elliot – in addition to his teenage sons Kristian and Gabriel – with Papas indicating he wanted the club to become a production line for Australian talent into Europe.
It’s the second time a coaching move to Europe has ended badly for Popovic, after the 2014 Asian Champions League winning mentor was sacked by Turkish club Karabukspor after just nine games in December 2017.