Gianni De Biasi resigns as Albania manager with immediate effect

TIRANA, Albania -- Gianni De Biasi resigned Wednesday as Albania coach with immediate effect.

The Italian, who steered Albania to their first major tournament at last year's European Championship, had said Tuesday he would not renew his contract when it expires in October.

At a news conference on Wednesday, an emotional De Biasi announced he would leave immediately and read out a letter in which he said he "thought long and hard" about his decision but is leaving for "the good and growth of our team."

De Biasi, who turns 61 on Friday, has been in charge of Albania for the past six years and obtained Albanian citizenship in 2015.

He achieved history with the team by leading them to Euro 2016, where they finished third in their group after beating Romania and losing to Switzerland and France.

Albania are third in their qualification group for the 2018 World Cup, seven points behind Spain and Italy, with four matches remaining.