Saint Petersburg (AFP) – Zenit Saint Petersburg have entrusted veteran Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu with the task of getting them back into Champions League football after a disappointing campaign, the Russian club confirmed on Tuesday.

The 70-year-old, who won 22 trophies including eight Ukrainian league titles and the 2009 UEFA Cup with Shakhtar Donetsk, signed a two-year deal with the option of a third on Tuesday to take over from Portuguese coach Andre Villas-Boas.

Zenit lost their title this season, finishing a disappointing third, ending Villas-Boas’ two-year stay in Russia.

Zenit posted a “Welcome Mister” graphic on their website, which mirrored the “Thank You Mister” message posted by Shakhtar a week ago.

A former Romania, Inter Milan, Galatasaray and Besiktas handler the charismatic Lucescu told Shakhtar he would be ending his 12-year stay with them after winning the Cup last week.