Andrea Pirlo has been left fuming after the Italian FA blocked his appointment as an assistant coach for the national team due to his commitments as a TV pundit for Sky Italia.
The AC Milan, Juventus, and Italy legend who starred in his country’s 2006 World Cup triumph was set to join the coaching staff of new manager Roberto Mancini, having retired from playing football last summer.
Pirlo had begun taking his coaching badges in preparation for the role in order to meet the federation’s requirements for working for the national team, but says he was not told at any point that his role with Sky Italia would count against him, where he will be part of Champions League coverage.
“Throughout my whole career, and still today, I always had such respect for the national team and the value that it represented, for me and for Italians, that I felt the need to specify that the dialogue which had opened up in recent months between me and the Italian FA has always been characterised by the utmost clarity and transparency,” he said to Italian news agency ANSA.
“Right from our first meeting, indeed, I had made it clear that I would give my maximum availability while at the same time respectfully making it clear that my commitments towards sponsors and partners outside of football, which I had built up over time, formed part of my professional obligations, including the agreement I was reaching with Sky.
“So if this could have been an obstacle to us reaching an agreement, I would certainly have understood.
“Instead, I was told that there was no problem at all and this is why we continued to tread a common path.
“To accommodate the federation’s wishes, I took my coaching badge this summer.
“At a certain point, this path was interrupted, and not of my own free will.
“My passion for the Italy national team remains intact, however, and I will continue to follow them with affection and wish them all the possible best.”
AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini was appointed as the club’s director of strategic development on Sunday and says his time playing for the club compelled him to return.
“My story compels me to be here,” said Maldini.
“My place is here or in the national squad, there is no third option.”
Maldini enjoyed a decorated career at Milan, playing all 25 seasons of his career at the club and winning 25 trophies, including the European Cup or Champions League five times and Serie A seven times.
Watch the club icon comment on his new role in the video below.
Milan will take Higuain on an initial one-year loan deal from Juventus with an option to permanently buy next year, and Gattuso feels the Argentine would have found it difficult to turn the San Siro side down.
“I’ve been talking with Higuain a lot and I believe that the fact that he is coming here is a reason to be proud,” said the former Milan midfielder.
“Because of the history Milan has it’s difficult for the players to say ‘no, I don’t want to come here’.”
Watch the full video here: