Italy's Lazio fires Vladimir Petkovic but there's more joy for Atletico in Spain
January 4, 2014 -- Updated 2042 GMT (0442 HKT)
Lazio hasn't had much reason to celebrate this season and sacked manager Vladimir Petkovic, middle, on Saturday.
- Struggling Lazio fires manager Vladimir Petkovic and appoints Edoardo Reja
- Lazio sits 10th in Serie A and has one win in its last eight league games
- Atletico beats Malaga 1-0 on the road thanks to a goal midway in the second half
- Atletico takes a three-point lead over Barcelona, which hosts Elche on Sunday
(CNN) -- Lazio, which has slumped to mid-table after collecting one win in its last eight Italian league games, fired manager Vladimir Petkovic and replaced him with veteran Edoardo Reja.
"Lazio communicates that it has terminated the employment contract with Vladimir Petkovic for just cause following the conclusion of a disciplinary procedure," the club said in a statement on its website.
It added that it had heard the "justification" of concerned parties but didn't say what the "just cause" was.
Petkovic, who in December signed a contract to become Switzerland's manager following the 2014 World Cup, is reportedly planning to take Lazio to court.
Petkovic led Lazio to the Italian Cup last season -- it beat city rival Roma in the final -- and a seventh-place finish in the top flight.
This season, however, has seen Lazio suffer lopsided losses to Juventus, Roma and Napoli -- currently the top three in Serie A.
In its last league outing prior to the Christmas break, Verona thumped Lazio 4-1.
Reja has coached about 20 teams in a roughly 25-year career and guided Lazio before Petkovic's arrival.
The 68-year-old's first game in charge comes Monday against Inter.
Atletico regains Liga lead
In Spain, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona continue to play musical chairs atop La Liga.
Atletico regained the lead Saturday when it scored midway in the second half to beat Malaga 1-0 on the road.
But this time it wasn't leading scorer Diego Costa who found the back of the net. Instead, Koke registered the winner off a rebound from close range in the 70th minute.
Atletico rose to 49 points, though Barcelona can go top if it defeats Elche at home Sunday.
The top two meet next week in Madrid.
"It would be so much nicer to be in this position at the end of the season, but there's a long journey ahead," Atletico manager Diego Simeone told the club website.
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi won't be risked for the game against Elche but Barca manager Gerardo Martino says the multiple world player of the year has looked like an "assassin" in training since returning from a leg injury.
"Messi has the eye of an assassin," Martino told the club website. "He's come back in good shape. He's done well in three training sessions."
Part of complete coverage on
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
After a miserable Champions League defeat to Olympiakos, CNN's John Sinnott wonders if Manchester United is officially in trouble.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
CNN's David Ford analyzes the changing face of Manchester City since Barcelona's last visit to the English club 11 years ago.
February 1, 2014 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
January 16, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
A ruling that Polish fans will not face legal action after anti-Semitic chanting sparks debate over whether it signals acceptance of such attacks.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
If FIFA really cared about gay rights, why did it give the World Cup to a country where homosexuality is illegal, asks CNN's James Masters.
CNN's Alex Thomas takes a brave punt on the 2014 champion ahead of Friday's World Cup draw.
Today's five most popular stories