12 March 2013 03:41
Former AC Milan and Italy player Gennaro Gattuso says he will retire from playing at the end of the season to focus on coaching.
The 35-year-old is playing with FC Sion since leaving Milan at the end of last season, but the veteran midfielder has now said he will call time on an illustrious 18-year playing career in June.
In February, the 2006 World Cup winner was appointed player-coach for the Swiss club and, speaking to Tuttusport, Gattuso revealed the decision to quit playing is linked with an ambition to embark on a coaching career.
“I think I will have another match but it will be my swan song. In June I will finally hang up my boots and dedicate myself to my new career,” he said.
And having played under some of the game’s most decorated figures, Gattuso believes he is well-equipped to make a successful transition from life on the pitch to life in the dugout.
“Let’s just say that I feel I have the ambition and determination to succeed as a coach. I have been compared with Antonio Conte and it is an honour to be compared with him. I would love to enjoy the same success he has had as a coach,” he said.
“There are many similarities between us and we both had, among other things, (Marcello) Lippi and (Carlo) Ancelotti as coaches. They were my teachers.”
Meanwhile, Gattuso turned his attentions to former club Milan as they prepare to face Barcelona with a 2-0 aggregate lead in the Champions League round-of-16 second leg on Tuesday.
Gattuso said: “I will sit in front of the TV and savour the big game alongside some of my former classmates. Prediction? I would take a 3-1 defeat.”
FC Sion, who sit fourth in the Swiss Super League, travel to the capital Bern on Sunday for a clash with Young Boys.