Culpi leaving Cerezo at end of year

Kyodo

Cerezo Osaka announced Monday they will not extend the contract of manager Levir Culpi.

No successor has been named.

The 60-year-old Culpi has Cerezo in fourth place with two games left in the J. League season, six points off the pace of Yokohama F. Marinos who could win the championship this weekend with victory at home to Albirex Niigata.

Culpi has coached Cerezo over two different spells, returning to the club midway through the 2012 season to keep them in J1.

Former Japan midfielder Hiroshi Nanami was a candidate to replace the Brazilian, but talks have fallen apart. Ranko Popovic, who is out at FC Tokyo at season’s end, is being linked with the job.