Sporting Gijon appoint Rubi as head coach to replace Abelardo

La Liga strugglers Sporting Gijon have appointed Joan Francesc Ferrer, who is also known as "Rubi," as their new head coach following the departure of Abelardo.

The Spanish side, who sit 18th in the table, announced the arrival of the 46-year-old former Valladolid and Levante boss on their official Twitter account on Wednesday.

"The new coach of Sporting, Joan Francesc Ferrer 'Rubi', will be presented today at El Molinon," the tweet read.

Gijon-born Abelardo, who began his playing career with the club, had been in charge since May 2014 but was dismissed on Tuesday following a run of one win from 17 matches, including 14 defeats.

The former Barcelona and Spain defender led the club to promotion back to the top flight in his first full season in charge and then finished a point above the relegation zone last campaign.

He fought back tears as he addressed the media alongside club president Javier Fernandez on Wednesday morning.

"I am not crying because I'm not coaching Sporting any more, I'm crying out of love," he said. "This is very hard for me. I've always thought more about Sporting than about myself."

Sporting, who are four points adrift of safety, travel to Real Betis on Sunday.