Sergio Markarian of Uruguay is moving to Athens, Greece to take over as coach of the Panathinaikos football (soccer) team.

Markarian replaces Greek coach Yiannis Kyrastas who resigned from the post last week. Final negotiations between Markarian and Panathinaikos president Angelos Filippidis took place late Sunday and the team announced the deal Monday.

Markarian, who recently led Paraguay to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, is known to Greek soccer fans from his time with Ionikos Nikea, which he led to the UEFA cup in 1999.

The club says Markarian will be on Panathinaikos' bench for the next 18 months and will take over the team on December 28. Kyrastas stepped down after a 2-1 home loss to PAOK Thessaloniki. The defeat almost nullified Panathinaikos' chances of gaining the Greek first division league title. Panathinaikos is currently in sixth place with 15 points, 12 behind league-leader AEK Athens. Panathinaikos recently advanced to the second phase of the Champions League tournament.