Brazilian coach Sylvinho sworn in as Albanian citizen ahead of Euro 2024

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania coach Sylvinho, a Brazilian, and his assistants were sworn in as Albanian citizens Tuesday ahead of the European Championship.

Albania had announced in December that Sylvinho was granted citizenship in a show of appreciation for having led the tiny Western Balkan country to the Euros. It’s just the second time Albania has qualified.

Sylvinho's close Argentinian assistant Pablo Zabaleta and two Italians — Luca Laurenti and Gianluca Stesina — were sworn in at a ceremony in the city of Lushnja, 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of the capital Tirana, the Interior Ministry said. It was not clear why they chose Lushnja, a city of about 80,000 people.

Albania is in Group B alongside Italy, Croatia and Spain when the tournament kicks off next month in Germany.

“We have done a good job together but an important challenge is ahead of us,” the 50-year-old Sylvinho said.

In 2004, Sylvinho obtained a Spanish passport after completing three years’ residency there.

Albania hopes to keep Sylvinho as the coach in a bid to reach the 2026 World Cup for the first time. Sylvinho’s current deal ends after Euro 2024.

Albania also gave citizenship to Italian coach Giovanni de Biasi after he led Albania to Euro 2016.


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