SK Rapid Vienna will go into next season with a new Trainer at the helm. Sporting Director Andreas Müller commented: "At the end of the season we have been in engaged in multiple conversations with Zoki Barisic and came to the conclusion that it would be best to speak about his future at the club again during the summer break once everything had settled down. Today (yesterday) we met in a friendly atmosphere and came to a mutual decision to end our partnership. On the one hand it's regrettable that we had to take this step, as in the past three years our team has shown exceptional development. On the other hand, it’s clear that the time was extremely challenging and physically draining. Thus we have agreed to the wishes of our highly regarded and respected Trainer and mutually terminated contracts, and have already in the past weeks been conducting the search for a suitable replacement", explained Müller.
Zoran Barisic took over the reins in Hütteldorf in April 2013, firstly on an interim basis (as he had done in 2011) and managed to guide the team to a third place finish in 2012/2013, securing international football in the process. In the following season three wins and a draw against Dila Gori and Asteras Tripolis ensured qualification for the UEFA Europa League groups stages, where the Green & Whites under Barisic’s tutelage won a respectable six points; more than in the past three European campaigns. In total Barisic guided the club to three consecutive second place finishes behind Red Bull Salzburg, and under his management manage to survive in European club football beyond the winter break for the first time in over two decades. Five wins out of six group matches in 2015/2016 Europa League group stage earned the club positive headlines across the continent.
Barisic has also commented on his shock departure from the club: "I was always very proud to be the Trainer of Rapid and gave everything. This club is very special to me, but at the moment I feel that after a decade with Rapid in a variety of different roles I’d like to find a new challenge. In very honest and open talks with the club’s hierarchy, we came to the joint decision that it is best for all involved to end our co-operation prematurely. It was an extremely difficult decision for me and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the players, my Trainer team, club officials, and the rest of the staff here for the amazing work we did together over the past three years”, said the 46-year old Viennese, who also enjoyed a successful career as a player in Green & White. Barisic returned to his spiritual home in 2006 as assistant to then Trainer Peter Pacult, and performed this role for the club during the 2008 season that saw us crowned Austrian champions. He went on to distinguish himself in his roles for the ÖFB with his involvement in the Project 12, as well as the manager of the Rapid Vienna reserves. His work ensured that tens of youngsters made the jump from reserves to first team, with plenty - including Louis Schaub, Mario Pavelic, and Max Hofmann - now considered first team regulars.
News on a decision with regards to a successor will follow shortly. We’ll keep you updated here at skrapid.at!