Leeds United have confirmed the appointment of former Barcelona youth star Thomas Christiansen as their new head coach. The 44-year-old, let go by APOEL Nicosia last month despite winning the Cypriot league title and guiding them to the last-16 of the Europa League last season, will succeed Garry Monk at Elland Road after the now Middlesbrough boss resigned just two days after Andrea Radrizzani completed his takeover of the club.
Christiansen's coaching experience is rather thin - he has never managed outside of Cyprus - but he did enjoy a nomadic 15-year playing career. The Danish-born forward was eligible to play for Spain and earned two senior international caps for La Roja, scoring once.
He started his senior career with Barcelona B but was never given an opportunity to strut his stuff for the first-team. Stints at Sporting Gijon, Osasuna and Villarreal followed before Christiansen eventually left Spain in 2000 to ply his trade in Greece.
The newly-appointed Leeds boss later enjoyed spells in Denmark and Germany, where he was crowned the Bundesliga's top scorer in 2003 after firing 21 league goals for Bochum. His form earned him a move to Hannover but he could not produce the same form in Lower Saxony. He retired in 2006 as injuries eventually got the better of him.
Christiansen's first taste of the managerial world came in 2013, when he was named assistant boss of United Arab Emirates outfit Al Jazira. The next year Cypriot outfit AEK Larnaca saw fit to take a chance on the former Villarreal hitman, who enjoyed two successful seasons with the Green-Yellows before taking the reins at APOEL last summer.
Christiansen will give his first press conference as Leeds boss on Monday. Club director Angus Kinnear spoke of the club's happiness to appoint the former Bochum hitman after a 'thorough and extensive' search, and believes Christiansen can guide Leeds back to the Premier League.
"We are delighted to make this announcement today as it successfully concludes what has been a thorough and extensive search, following a huge level of interest from all over the football world<" Kinnear told the club's official website.
"We wanted to appoint someone who can help us create a winning culture at the club and unite everyone connected with Leeds United, from the players to the supporters, ultimately taking the club back to where we all feel we belong.
"Thomas was someone who had been on our radar from the very early stages of the process and quickly established himself as the outstanding candidate. We are confident we have found a man with who can work with us to take the club to the next level."