World Cup winner Marcello Lippi admits returning to the Italy bench in 2008 was “a huge mistake.”
The tactician had already decided to quit before the 2006 World Cup began in Germany, as he and his son – a football agent – were dragged into the Calciopoli scandal.
Just two years after lifting the trophy and with Roberto Donadoni reaching the Euro 2008 quarter-finals, Lippi came back to the Azzurri for a dismal two-year run, ending with first round elimination at the 2010 World Cup.
“I didn’t leave in 2006 because an Italy Coach is someone condemned to death who doesn’t know the date of his sentencing,” Lippi told Radio 24.
“If that were the case, then I wouldn’t have returned. I left because I had made that decision, before knowing how the World Cup would turn out.
“Then, two years later I did return, because I had left a fantastic group, but it was a huge mistake. You must never return to the Nazionale after having won a World Cup.
“That was one of the many errors I have made in my career.”
Thus Lippi laughed when asked whether he would consider a third stint on the Azzurri bench.
“To err is human, to persevere would be diabolical. No, I’ve already said that I won’t work as a Coach again in Italy because I’ve done what I wanted to do.
“I wanted a completely different experience in China with Guangzhou Evergrande, though I won’t deny that the economic aspects had their influence.
“After this club experience, I will certainly not work as a club Coach anywhere in the world. If a national team were to approach me, then I could resume work, but not with a club. This will be by final club.
“Would I prefer an Asian or European national team? It makes no difference to me.”