Rangers Europa League rivals Royal Antwerp have appointed former Belgian international Franky Vercauteren as their new manager ahead of facing the Light Blues next month.

Croatian boss Ivan Leko left the Belgians to go to China with Shanghai SIPG last month and Antwerp haven’t wasted time in appointing his replacement – turning to the ‘Little Prince.’

RSC Anderlecht v Krc Genk - Jupiler Pro League Rangers
The Belgian veteran will come up against Rangers next month ( Photo by Jimmy Bolcina / Photonews via Getty Images)

A winger during his playing days, he was with Anderlecht from 1975 to 1987, winning four Belgian league titles, two Cup Winners Cups and a UEFA Cup as well as 63 Belgian caps – also appearing at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups.

He rejoined the Belgian giants as a coach in 1998, taking over briefly as caretaker later that year and as permanent manager from 2005 to 2007, when he led them to two Belgian titles.

The 64-year-old has also managed Sporting Lisbon as well as stints in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Russia but hasn’t managed a club in the top tier of Belgian football since a stint with Mechelen – although he did guide Cercle Brugge to promotion in 2018.

RSC Anderlecht v Livingston FC - Friendly Rangers
Vercauteren and Kompany during Aberlecht’s friendly against Livingston. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

The veteran coach did return to Anderlecht in 2019 to assist rookie boss Vincent Kompany but left last year before signing a deal until the end of the season with Antwerp.

Vercauteren’s appointment comes as a surprise after Antwerp were linked with a blockbuster name as a replacement for Ivan Leko

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