Ballardini returns for fourth stint as Genoa coach

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Serie A - Juventus vs Genoa

(Reuters) - Serie A strugglers Genoa hired battle-hardened coach Davide Ballardini for the fourth time on Monday after sacking Rolando Maran hours earlier.

"On a grey day, in terms of both the weather and the team's position in the standings, Davide Ballardini's fourth experience has started on the bench of the oldest club in Italy. A return to the past," the club said on its website.

Maran, hired before the start of the season, was dismissed after 13 league games with Genoa second-bottom of the table with seven points.

Ballardini, 56, is a familiar figure on the Italian coaching circuit but, remarkably, has never lasted more than one year in any job since starting his career in 2004.

His first stint at Genoa lasted from November 2010 until the end of that season. He returned in January 2013 and managed to save them from relegation but the club still let him go at the end of the campaign.

Ballardini was brought in again in November 2017 for what proved to be his longest reign at the club as he survived for just under 12 months.

He also had three stints at each of Palermo and Cagliari and coached Lazio and Bologna. Two of his spells at Palermo came in the 2015/16 season and lasted eight and nine games respectively.

It was only the second coaching change of the Serie A season after Fiorentina replaced Giuseppe Iachini with Cesare Prandelli in November.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)