Soccer

Villa hires Roberto Di Matteo as manager

FILE - A Saturday, May 23, 2015 photo from files showing the then Schalke coach Roberto Di Matteo prior to the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between Hamburger SV and Schalke 04 in Hamburg, Germany. Roberto Di Matteo has been hired by Aston Villa, it was announced Friday, June 3, 2016, ensuring there will be two Champions League-winning managers in English soccer’s second tier next season after Rafa Benitez opted to stay at Newcastle. (AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach, File)

FILE - A Saturday, May 23, 2015 photo from files showing the then Schalke coach Roberto Di Matteo prior to the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between Hamburger SV and Schalke 04 in Hamburg, Germany. Roberto Di Matteo has been hired by Aston Villa, it was announced Friday, June 3, 2016, ensuring there will be two Champions League-winning managers in English soccer’s second tier next season after Rafa Benitez opted to stay at Newcastle. (AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach, File)  (The Associated Press)

Roberto Di Matteo has been hired by Aston Villa, ensuring there will be two Champions League-winning managers in English soccer's second tier next season after Rafa Benitez opted to stay at Newcastle.

The 46-year-old Italian, who lifted the European Cup with Chelsea in 2012, takes over a Villa side that finished bottom of the Premier League last season and is waiting for soccer authorities to approve a new owner.

Chinese businessman Xia Jiantong has agreed a deal to buy the central England club for $87 million, hoping Villa makes an instant return to the Premier League.

Benitez, who steered Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005, announced last week that he would be staying at Newcastle.