Gennaro Gattuso has held an emotional press conference for his farewell to Milan and admits his dream is “to go back to Glasgow Rangers.”
The midfielder’s contract expires next month and he has decided to walk away from San Siro along with Alessandro Nesta, Pippo Inzaghi, Mark van Bommel and most likely also Clarence Seedorf and Gianluca Zambrotta.
“I want to thank Milan and all those who helped me in these years. Being here was a dream over 13 incredible years, wearing the jersey that is closest to my heart. Now life goes on and I hope to not have any more problems with my eyes.”
He has missed most of the season due to an ocular condition that meant he saw double and needed steroids to correct the medical issue.
“I still want to battle and prove I am not dead in football terms. Both Adriano Galliani and the club showed great respect by offering me another year on my contract, but like Nesta I preferred to take another path. I will decide with my family where I’ll play. Clearly out of respect for Milan I’d never go to Inter or Juventus, but then those clubs don’t want me anyway!
“I never dared say I wanted a first team shirt at all costs. I always respected the decisions of the clubs and Coaches, even when I made a mistake with Leonardo. I turned down the renewal because I don’t want to be a weight on anyone. I felt within me the need to go and give fresh blood a chance. I no longer feel the same fighting spirit I always had.
“A few months ago I felt that I wasn’t going to play at all anymore and would take a role in the club. I felt a bit like a mascot recently, almost as if the team captains exchanged me before kick-off!”
Gattuso also looked back over the times when his warrior spirit went over the top, such as his rows with Leonardo and attempt to headbutt Tottenham assistant manager Joe Jordan.
“It’s true I made mistakes, but I hope by taking away those embarrassing moments I can cleanse Milan so they retain the spirit of Paolo Maldini, Billy Costacurta and Massimo Ambrosini, who is now the only one left of the old guard.
“Looking at my Coaches, Carlo Ancelotti was everything for me – he was tactician, father, friend and football fan. Carletto is Carletto, I think they ought to build a statue of him next to that of Nereo Rocco. Milan at that time was as strong as Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona.
“Beating Juventus and Inter on the road to the Champions League trophy in 2003 was the best moment. It goes without saying Istanbul was the worst defeat, as I was woken by nightmares for the next six months seeing Steven Gerrard and his Liverpool teammates celebrating.”
Fumbling a 3-0 lead to lose the trophy in 2005 aside, Gattuso has a strong rapport with Britain, his wife is Scottish and he admits he’d love to help rescue financially troubled Glasgow Rangers.
“My dream is to wear the Rangers shirt again. They’re in a bad situation at the moment, though. I left Salernitana as a 19-year-old and made my name in Glasgow. They’re having so many problems and don’t have an owner yet, but it would be a choice made from the heart. I’d like to finish off where I started.”