Gianni De Biasi has penned a heartfelt, open letter after announcing that he has left Albania with immediate effect.
De Biasi stated on Tuesday that he would be vacating his role with the Albanian national team in October, but the former Torino and Udinese boss has since confirmed that his departure has been brought forward.
“This is a page of my professional experience with Albania that I never wanted to write,” he began.
“I thought long and hard about it, but I want to tell you that from today, I’ll no longer be the CT of our national team.
“I’m stopping here because I want to think about the good and growth of our team.
“I think I’ve run out of fuel for this job, which has allowed me to get the qualities out of these lads that allowed us to live the European dream!
“That dream, which started in our first game in Georgia, through an open letter, I tried to instil it in their head and heart.
“This was a very conflicting, professional decision to make. I hope you can understand it, even if not everyone can share it.
“We’ve lived through dense years of emotion and happiness and we’ve achieved really important results, which many thought were impossible
“Throughout my time here, I’ve always worked with great passion, with renewed enthusiasm, thanks to our results and the contagious euphoria of all Albanians, both in the country and around the world.
“There has been a day-to-day commitment from me, an effort to transfer a new mentality to the players, a winning one.
“There has been a constant engagement with you journalists and the media to communicate in a correct, transparent and proactive way. It’s been a very extensive, tiring and – at times – frustrating job.
“I want to point out that today, I leave the national team without having a team in which to work, while over these years, I’ve always resisted the sirens of job offers, knowing that my role was to drive our lads towards a steady growth, towards what they’ve accomplished.
“After the Euros, I was firmly convinced we could’ve improved further and that the experience we had during our three games in France would’ve allowed us to grow further. And that’ll be so, but with a new CT!
“I leave with fatigue, but aware my cycle with this group is over and that I can give whoever will replace me, the opportunity of getting to know the lads in the next four games.
“Allow me to thank all those who have collaborated in the growth and development of the Albanian project, which has also led us to 22nd place in the FIFA Ranking, which allowed us to beat Norway away from home, to win and draw against France, to beat Portugal and remain unbeaten until our conquest of Euro 2016!!!
“And finally to reach our dream.... For this, I publicly want to thank the person who gave me this great opportunity, President Armando Duka, who always supported me, giving me carte blanche in my role as Coach.
“Also a heartfelt thanks to all the people who have been part of the national team this entire time. Thank you for everything you gave me and our shirt.
“It’s an experience that has enriched me, both professionally and humanly. You all amazed me with your dedication and involvement in our challenge.
“Thanks to all my collaborators, especially to Paolo, my travel companion from my first day in Albania, always ready to support me, tireless in his work on the pitch and in his many trips to meet our new players.
“[Thanks to] Alberto, who maintained the preparation and recovery of the lads, to Ilir Boziqi, to Ervin Bulku and all the technical staff, from Benny Celiku to Gianluca Stesina, from Filippo Iori, who treated the players together with Ylli Mihali, from Merepeza, ArzenVoci and to the great Fathos Kademi, another tireless worker.
“[Thanks to] all the precious and great men of the team, to all the people working in the Federation who aren’t seen but do a valuable job for the end result.
“A big thank-you to all our great fans, our 12th player! They were always ready to follow us, with warmth and colour everywhere.
“Everything in football, in sport, like in life, has a beginning and an end. My cycle as CT of the national team is over, but nothing will ever break the strong bond that binds us to our national team.
“Now the seed has been planted in the soil, the plant is growing and with commitment, the care and work of everyone will bear good fruits.
“With gratitude, Gianni De Biasi.”
The 60-year-old took charge of Albania in 2011 and guided them to Euro 2016 – the country’s first-ever major tournament – while obtaining Albanian citizenship.