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Australian coach Kevin Muscat has resigned as manager of J1 League powerhouse Yokohama F. Marinos, seeking his next challenge.
Yokohama confirmed J1 League winner Muscat’s departure after two-and-a-half years on Thursday, with his final game at the helm Wednesday night’s Asian Champions League Match against Shandong Taishan.
It is unclear where Muscat, who had previously been linked to since-filled roles in the UK at former clubs from his playing days in Rangers and Millwall, will head next.
“Firstly, what is important is that I express my honour in being given the opportunity to manage such a special club,” Muscat said in a statement, translated to English, on the club’s website.
“And at this point, I would like to express that I’ve made the decision that this Wednesday’s match will be my last as part of the Marinos family.”
Muscat thanked the club, its staff and fans for welcoming his family and sharing “wonderful memories” over his tenure, but made special mention of his players.
“Without their single-mindedness, without their attitude, these 2.5 years, wouldn’t have been possible,” he said.
“All the players throughout that period have contributed to achieving more points than any other clubs and scoring more goals than any other clubs.
“And in true Marinos-way playing an attacking and exciting brand of football.”
After a short, ill-fated stint in Belgium, former Melbourne Victory coach Muscat was appointed manager of Marinos in July 2021, replacing now-Tottenham boss and former mentor Ange Postecoglou.
The Melburnian won the J1 League title in 2022, then the Japanese Super Cup this year.
But Yokohama fell seven point shorts of the league title this year, finishing second to Vissel Kobe.
Yokohama made it clear they had not wanted the former Socceroos defender to leave and said they would start looking for his successor immediately.
“Manager Kevin Muscat has recently stepped down as the manager of Yokohama F. Marinos and will be aiming for a new challenge,” CEO Akihiro Nakayama said in a statement translated to English.
“We would like to express our gratitude to Coach Muscat for his many accomplishments.
“It was a difficult decision for the club to make, but after repeated discussions, the club respected Coach Muscat’s wishes and reached a mutual agreement.
“As the Marinos family, we would like to support Coach Muscat in his new challenge.”