J. League second-division champions Tokushima Vortis on Thursday named Spaniard Dani Poyatos as the Shikoku-based club’s new manager ahead of their return to the top flight next season.

The 42-year-old former Real Madrid youth coach started the 2020-21 season as manager of Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos but was released after the Athens club earned just one point from its first three league games.

Poyatos will replace compatriot Ricardo Rodriguez, who is set to depart for Urawa Reds in the J. League first division.

Rodriguez led Tokushima to its maiden J2 title this year, earning a promotion to the top flight for just the second time, as well as a berth in this year’s abbreviated Emperor’s Cup. Vortis will face Gamba Osaka in the semifinals of the tournament on Sunday.

In other coaching news, J1 side Shimizu S-Pulse confirmed the appointment of Miguel Angel Lotina as manager.

The 63-year-old Spaniard steered Cerezo Osaka to a fourth-place finish in the J1 this past season. He takes the reins at Shimizu, which dismissed Australian manager Peter Cklamovski in November and finished 16th.

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