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Cuper back at struggling Mallorca

Mallorca will be hoping Cuper can work his magic once again.

MADRID, Spain -- Primera Liga strugglers Real Mallorca have persuaded former coach Hector Cuper to rejoin the club as a permanent replacement for Benito Floro, who was sacked last week.

"Mallorca and Hector Cuper have reached an agreement whereby the Argentine coach will become Mallorca's new coach," said a club statement.

Cuper has signed a three-season deal with the club, who are in 19th place in the 20-team Primera Liga after taking just five points from nine games.

The 48-year-old Argentine, who coached Inter Milan between 2001 and 2003, was in charge of the islanders between 1997 and 1999.

He took them to the final of the Spanish Cup, the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup and to a best-ever third-place finish in the league.

Cuper moved to Valencia in 1999 following the departure of Claudio Ranieri and took a team with little pedigree in Europe to two successive Champions League finals, losing to Real Madrid in 2000 and Bayern Munich in 2001.

He then replaced Marco Tardelli at Inter Milan in 2001 and set them up for a chance at winning the Serie A title the following season, only to watch them fall at the final hurdle when they lost their last match to Lazio.

Inter finished second again in 2003 but Cuper was sacked in October of the same year after the side went four successive Serie A matches without a win.

Cuper will face a stern test in his first game in charge as Mallorca travel to play second-placed Sevilla on Sunday.

He arrives at Mallorca with compatriots Mario Gomez and Juan Manuel Alfona, as his assistant and physical trainer respectively.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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