Lippi said that Prandelli was the right choice to succeed him [EPA]

Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli will replace Marcello Lippi as coach of defending champions Italy after the World Cup.

Italian news agency Ansa said on Sunday that Prandelli met with Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Giancarlo Abete in Sestriere where Italy are preparing at altitude for the South Africa tournament.

The 52-year-old will sign a four-year deal and will be officially presented after the World Cup.

Lippi - who guided Italy to the 2006 World Cup title - said he was aware of the appointment.

"The Federation has found the right person," he said before  explaining his own departure.

"At Christmas I told Abete that I would do two years and that's enough.

"I don't want to talk right now about my reasons for leaving this job after the World Cup.

"You all knew that Lippi wouldn't be the national team coach of the future and I'll talk about my reasons after the World Cup."

The 52-year-old Prandelli this year concluded his fifth season as Fiorentina coach, guiding the Tuscan club to the European Champions League's Round of 16 and a controversial elimination by Bayern Munich.

Prandelli has also coached Atalanta, Lecce, Verona, Venezia and Parma.

He was named Roma coach before the 2004-05 season but left for personal reasons before that campaign started.

As a player, Prandelli spent six seasons as a midfielder with Juventus, winning three Serie A titles.

Source: Agencies