Marcello is ready, and all he’s waiting for is a phone call. He’s only asking one thing: his new project will have to be a serious one. “Right now I’m available” said Lippi in an interview to Italian radio station Radio Deejay. “If a serious club, with a serious team, and a serius program contact me, I’ll be ready.” When asked on who will make his come-back first between him and Fabio Capello, Lippi replied smiling: “Me, I’ll come back first”.
After a year spent enjoying his World Champion title, the ex-Azzurri manager wants to wear his coaching tracksuit once again. “I realize that since the season is already 2-3 months underway, it’ll be difficult receiving a proposal now, but in a few months’ time I’d like to come back, in order to prepare for the next season. I will return if I find a serious club with a clear project in mind, people with which you can establish a friendly relationship. I wouldn’t mind an experience outside of Italy, for as long as the same criteria I’ve just outlined apply.”
Lippi talked a little bit about Alessandro Del Piero, and the delicate situation the Bianconeri captain is having with his contract renewal negotiations at Juventus: “I think that both parties are handling the matter like they best see fit” explained Lippi. “I think Alex represents Juventus across the world: when people say ‘Juventus’ they think first and foremost of Alex Del Piero, but that’s all I will say on this subject.”
Concerning the Serie A league, Lippi spent a few minutes talking about Genoa and Napoli. “Genoa is being very well coached at the moment (note: by Gian Piero Gasperini), they’re playing attractive soccer, and bringing enthusiasm for all the public of Genoa and Serie A alike. As for Napoli, they have an excellent coach who has won 3 league championships in a row (note Edy Reja, who brought Napoli from Serie C to Serie A in recent years), so I think it would be normal not to disturb his work right now.”
On Antonio Cassano, Lippi was supportive: “When he first appeared on the scene of Italian soccer he blew everyone away when his talent, and convinced us he could become a star. After that, for various reasons most of which are unknown to me, he got a bit lost on the way. He’s still very young though, so he still gives me the impression he can reach that stellar level everyone expects. It’s up to him. The Sampdoria environment can give him some help, not only because of the city but also because of the quality of the people he’s working with. Walter Mazzarri is a good coach, and so are the club and the players. It’s the right dimension that will help him come back to his previous levels.”
When asked about the lack of new talent in Italy, the Italian coach replied “We have the best U21 team in the world, they always win and even if they don’t win they demonstrate to have incredible strength. They’re consistently first in Europe, and that almost always translates to being the first in the world. We have great players.”
To the many hoping that he will one day come back to coach the Azzurri, Lippi left a glimmer of hope. “Coming back to the National team? I’m leaving the door open. I have learned this much from life: never say no. Let’s hope that things will go well, starting with Italy’s qualification for Euro 2008.” Amen to that, Marcello…