Italy coach Lippi leaves national team

World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi announced Wednesday that he was leaving his job with the Italian national team.

In a statement released by the Italian Soccer Federation FIGC, the 58-year-old Lippi said: "at the end of an extraordinary professional and human experience, having led an exceptional group of soccer players and with the help of top-notch personnel, I feel my role as the head of the Italian national team has been completed."

"I would like to thank the FIGC for the faith it has shown in me over the past two years, which were crowned by a result which will go down in the history of Italian soccer and in the hearts of all fans".

Lippi's contract as national coach officially expires on Saturday.

FIGC deputy chief Giancarlo Abete told reporters Wednesday that Lippi had informed him early on in the World Cup championship that he would not be staying on.

Abete said Lippi, who led Italy to victory against France in Sunday's World Cup final, had not signed up with any domestic or foreign clubs.

Lippi said he would carry on coaching but gave no pointers as to his plans.

"It's too early to talk about that," he said.

Sources close to Lippi's family said he had told them, amid pre-World Cup polemics, that he felt he needed a break from the game "to breathe again".

FIGC officials said Lippi had told them before the campaign - when the coach was questioned as a potential witness because of his son's suspected involvement in Italy's unprecedented soccer scandal - that he would not be going on beyond the tournament.

They voiced regret that he had not changed his mind, and refused to comment on who his successor might be.

FIGC's emergency administrator Guido Rossi, brought in to sort out the mess caused by the match-fixing scandal, said he had "great respect" for Lippi and hoped he could find him "some kind of position at FIGC" after the coach's break with the game.

"He said he wanted to relax for six months or so. I hope he can have some other role after that".

Source: Xinhua

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