Thursday November 28 2019
Diamanti: 'West Ham my biggest regret'

Alessandro Diamanti is “enjoying life to the fullest” in Australia, revealing he rejected Juventus and Milan, had free kick competitions with Gianfranco Zola and "regrets leaving West Ham."

The former Italy international moved to Western United in the Australian A-League and has scored one goal in his seven first matches at his new club.

Life in Australia is treating him well and the 36-year-old is not expecting to go back to Livorno.

“I love Livorno, the city and the fans, but certain choices have already been made months ago,” he told “I’m enjoying this experience to the fullest. No one will change my affection towards Livorno, but I will not return. I even received Serie A offers over the summer, but it doesn't compare to an experience like this.”

The former Bologna, Atalanta and Fiorentina star claimed the championship in Australia is growing and said he hasn’t gone through too many changes compared to his former life in Serie A - claiming he's still "one step ahead" of teammates and opponents.

“We live well here, everything is wonderful,” he added. “The climate, the blue sky, the huge spaces. You feel like you’re a guest in the nature. I even saw a kangaroo in training! It’s not as far as it seems. The flight hours are a bit like going to Miami.

“From a football point of view, they are organised and professional. They take care of the details. Technically, the Australian championship is developing, and the players are prepared."

Diamanti took a look back over his career and revealed the opportunities he turned down, as well as the biggest regret.

“Antonio Conte wanted me at Juventus. He called one day and we had a nice chat. It was when I was in the Italy squad and had many teammates who played for Juventus. In the end, I preferred to stay at Bologna. It was my choice.

“Max Allegri also asked for me to join Milan, but I’ve never tried to force my club into any decision, not even when I went to China.”

Diamanti is still fondly remembered by West Ham United fans, where his coach was Zola.

“We had a free kick duel once in training – and I won! But just because I had more strength in my legs at the time. The boss is a living legend, an exceptional person. I often said he should’ve played on Sundays. He had this innate class that you cannot explain.

“My only regret is leaving West Ham. That was a mistake. I had struggled to play to my standards in the first few months and couldn’t figure out what was going wrong. I just needed that spark to change everything.

“The ultimate joy would’ve been to play for Italy while at West Ham, but at the end of the day, I had to choose between the two, and that’s why I went to Bologna.”

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