Rino Gattuso has won the biggest trophies in the game at least once – but he has always felt that he had unfinished business in Scotland.
Signed for Rangers by Walter Smith in 1997, he was forced out of Ibrox by Dick Advocaat, who sold him to Salernitana for £4m the following year, setting in motion a career which took saw him win the Champions League twice with AC Milan.
He also tasted World Cup glory with Italy in 2006 but now he wants to put that to good use by helping Hamilton Accies’ to become stars as well.
The 37-year-old is in the frame to replace Alex Neil as manager at New Douglas Park and he’s so keen on the job that he’s ordered his agent not to listen to any other offers until Accies announce their decision.
The deadline for applications is tomorrow and Gattuso believes that the job is tailor-made for him.
“I know a lot about Hamilton,” he said. “They have a great academy there and have already produced so many good young players.
“With the experience I have gained during my playing career, I can teach them a lot. I like working with young players.”
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Gattuso’s wife, Monica, is from Glasgow but he made it clear that’s not why he wants to come back to Scotland.
“I will not be coming to Scotland for a holiday,” he said. “I will work as hard as I possibly can to be successful.
“I think my style is perfectly suited to the way the game is played in the UK. I like aggressive football and for players to put pressure on the ball.
“My agent has already spoken to the people from Hamilton and I have told him to put everything on hold until we have a response from them.
“There have been clubs from Hungary, Israel and other countries who have contacted us to offer me jobs but Hamilton is at the top of my list and I will not speak to anyone else for the next few weeks.
“I have family in Scotland but that is not the only reason I want to work there. The football is a good standard and there is a good atmosphere at the matches.
“Hamilton are also a nice club to go to. Their results this season have been impressive – especially beating Celtic at Parkhead – and they are in the top half of the table.
“Their previous manager has just been chosen by Norwich and he is younger than me so that proves it is a good job!”
Gattuso’s previous spells in the dug-out haven’t put him off. He lasted just three months in his first two jobs, as player-coach of Swiss club Sion in 2012 and as manager of Serie B outfit Palermo the following year.
However, he spent six months with Greek Super League side OFI Crete before quitting three weeks ago. It was, he insists, an “impossible” job.
“I was there for six months and they had big problems,” he said. “For 90 per cent of my time at the club, the players and staff weren’t being paid their salaries.
“When that happens, you soon realise that football is no longer the priority. In most families, the wife is the boss and when players can’t put food on the table then it becomes impossible for you to succeed.”
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