Monday, 1 February 2010

Lippi contradicts boss over exit strategy

Italy coach Marcello Lippi appeared to contradict his own boss over his future, saying whether he stayed in the job could depend on results at the World Cup this summer.

Lippi, who guided the Azzurri to World Cup glory four years ago, returned to the helm in 2008 after a disappointing European Championship under Roberto Donadoni.

But with his contract due to run out after June's finals, speculation has nonetheless intimated he will step down for a second time after South Africa.

Rumours of a return to Juventus also refuse to be silenced but Lippi insists this is not necessarily the case.

"I haven't said that I'll leave after South Africa," Lippi told reporters in Coverciano today.

"Now I'm only thinking about the World Cup. First let's concentrate fully on the World Cup and then who knows. It depends on results."

However, Italian Football Federation (FIGC) President Giancarlo Abete, at the same meeting of Italian coaches, had very different ideas.

"We have a positive relationship with Lippi and I've said that there will be total clarity over the national coach's job before we leave for South Africa," he said.

Abete is keen to avoid the same situation as Euro 2008 when then Italy boss Donadoni signed a contract extension on the eve of the tournament only to be sacked when the Azzurri went out in the quarter-finals.

Fiorentina boss Cesare Prandelli is the strong favourite to replace Lippi should the 61-year-old step down while Chelsea's Carlo Ancelotti, Roma's Claudio Ranieri and Manchester City's Roberto Mancini have said they would like to be national coach but not in the immediate future.

Whatever the future holds, Lippi is due in Warsaw on Sunday for the Euro 2012 qualifying draw.

Source: Reuters

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