MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Big-spending Anzhi Makhachkala have sacked long-serving coach Gadzhi Gadzhiyev, the Russian Premier League club from the volatile North Caucasus region said on Thursday.

"The management of FK Anzhi have decided to relieve head coach Gadzhi Gadzhiyev from his duties," the club said on their website (www.fc-anji.ru).

Anzhi added that Gadzhiyev's assistant Andrei Gordeyev and Brazilian full back Roberto Carlos, who joined the club in February, would share the coaching duties for now.

Anzhi, bankrolled by Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, made huge headlines last month by luring Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o from Inter Milan to Makhachkala.

The 30-year-old signed a three-year deal for a reported annual salary of 20 million euros ($26.8 million), making him the highest paid player in the world.

Despite making an improvement from last season after finishing 11th in the 16-team Premier League, Anzhi bosses have been unhappy with the club's progress.

Anzhi, who were in fourth place just a few weeks ago, dropped to seventh following a 2-2 home draw against Chechen side Terek Grozny on Monday.

CONSULTANT ROLE

Local media also have questioned Gadzhiyev's ability to communicate with his top players, linking several high-profile coaches, such as England manager Fabio Capello and former Russia boss Guus Hiddink, with the job.

Israeli coach Avram Grant, a close friend of Kerimov, has been seen as a favourite to succeed the 65-year-old Gadzhiyev after attending several Anzhi matches in Russia in recent weeks.

Asked last week if he was about to take the hot seat, the former Chelsea manager said: "I can't say. Right now I'm just helping the team in a consultant role."

Gadzhiyev has had three different stints as Anzhi coach, leading them to fourth place during his first spell in 2000.

Meanwhile, Kerimov has been full of praise for 38-year-old Roberto Carlos, saying he will make the 2002 World Cup winner the Anzhi president when he retires.

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