Roberto De Zerbi has been linked with potentially taking over from Stefano Pioli as AC Milan head coach if the struggles continue, and he recently commented on the idea of returning to Italy.
La Repubblica (via MilanNews) reported yesterday that while the club’s official stance continues to be one of supporting Pioli and making it clear he still has the faith of the management, Antonio Conte of Chelsea and De Zerbi of Brighton and Hove Albion are attractive profiles if things were to not pick up.
De Zerbi has taken charge of 14 Premier League games for Brighton since joining them to replace the departing Graham Potter, winning six of them and losing five with three draws but drawing praise for his style of play.
“I really like the Premier League, there’s very little stress, more fun, courage, and enthusiasm, all of which suits my philosophy. Of course I want to win, but the result isn’t everything about football. It is important for a coach to adapt to his players, but not transform his philosophy, as I’ve had the same ideas from Serie D to the Premier League,” he told DAZN (via SussexLive).
“Italy is always my country and home. I would and will return, hopefully in the future. But I also came [to Brighton] with some fears, a different language, a different league, without having done the training camp and with a very difficult schedule. Instead, I’m having a great time, I’m enjoying this experience, I’m really enjoying it.”
He also spoke back in mid-January about the idea of returning to Serie A while he was Shakhtar Donetsk boss, admitting that he is also tempted by the idea of managing in the Bundesliga or in LaLiga too.
“As an Italian and a lover of Italian football, of course I still miss Serie A. I don’t know if I’ll return, but I would like to experience football in Germany and Spain in the future, because only those experiences abroad complete you as a person. That’s why I always admired Claudio Ranieri, who has worked everywhere,” he said.
De Zerbi spent time in the youth academy of Milan but never made a senior appearance for them, and he was not happy about how his former side tried to sign up for the breakaway European Super League in April 2021.
In fact, he was so angry that he did not even want to take his Sassuolo team to San Siro to face them, though the Neroverdi had the last laugh with a 2-1 win.
“I don’t like to play against Milan because they are part of these three clubs [AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Juventus], but if Carnevali forces me, of course, I will go. I am so angry I spoke about this with the lads for 30 minutes yesterday,”
“Sometimes it’s right to stop, as we used to do at school, I am angry because a coup d’etat was perpetrated on Sunday. For football, it’s the equivalent of a coup d’etat. Football belongs to everyone and is meritocratic, they released a statement at midnight with their new website.
“It was like they were putting their flags in a territory they had taken from someone else. If these clubs are full of debts, they should ask themselves some questions on how they’ve been managing their business.
“Small clubs can’t pay for the fact that they made disasters. Those players who sweat and dream of playing against the biggest clubs in the most prestigious stadiums can’t pay the price for that.
“It’s all wrong, and I think the time has come to speak out. I am so angry and it’s something that goes beyond the salary and the job. It’s about the sphere of values, sentiments, and football rivalries and the history of Italian football.”
Don’t do that. Don’t give me hope.