Sam Dalla Bona has admitted that at 33 he regrets having left English football and that his career ‘at a certain level’ is over.
The former Atalanta youth spent four years on the books at Chelsea before turning down a contract extension and opting to return to Italy and sign for Milan.
However, with just a handful of appearances for the Rossoneri and then later for Napoli amid various loan moves elsewhere, the midfielder has dropped off the radar and finds himself out of contract and regretting his decision to leave England at 21.
“If I could go back, I’d stay there forever,” Dalla Bona has told the Gazzetta dello Sport today.
“Here football is a mess. Especially what is around it. Pressures, the mentality. I am not aligned with the ‘Italian culture’ and I have also paid for that.
“We had to go into retreat in midweek for Napoli-Genoa, for Atalanta-Portogruaro. If you lost a game, the complaints came, the punishments. And I have always rebelled.
“I grew up in a country where for Chelsea-Manchester United, the withdrawal began four hours before the game.
“In Italy they think they are dealing with children. Mourinho is great, he had it all figured out.
“In Italian football second chances are not given. In 2011 my dad got sick, I was very attached to him, I could not do anything for this reason.
“I was on loan at Atalanta, but still had a year on the contract with Napoli. I tore that up to find somewhere closer to home, Mantova. In October, my dad died, I was no longer there in the head, I became depressed. And in practice, I pretty much stopped playing.
“What am I doing now? Nothing. Months ago I met with [Vincenzo] Grella, the Australian former Empoli, Torino midfielder and he asked me to go to Melbourne Heart, but due to personal problems I had to say no.
“Is my career over? At a certain level I believe so. I have the UEFA B licence to coach.”