FORMER Rangers midfielder Gennaro Gattuso insists he would love to return to Ibrox as boss - but only once the club’s boardroom battle has been settled.
The Italian World Cup winner, 37, has been linked with the post vacated by Ally McCoist last month.
But Gattuso - who was just 19 when he was signed for former Ibrox boss Walter Smith - believes there is no point opening negotiations while there are so many factions fighting for control of the club.
Mike Ashley is expected to hand chairman David Somers a second emergency loan just in time for Thursday’s pay cheques to go out.
But Dave King and the Three Bears - wealthy fans Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor - are rallying their troops ahead of a general meeting which could spell the end of the current directors’ reign.
Ex-Sion and Palermo manager Gattuso, who was back at Ibrox to play in Fernando Ricksen’s charity match on Sunday, said: “I still have a lot of memories here. It was 15 years ago that I started to play here. I felt the same running out there again. I’m maybe carrying five of six kilos more but it still felt fantastic.
“But now the club has big problems. They need to find a way of solving those.
“Of course I would be interested in the vacancy. I stopped playing two years ago. Now my job is to become a coach. That’s normal.
“But at this time the road [to the Rangers job] is far away.
“We can speak but the problem now is that there is not one chairman but five people in control of the club. It’s difficult.”
Gattuso - who was overlooked by Hamilton as they named Martin Canning their new boss last week - added: “I know the club has big problems at this moment but Rangers is still a big club with a big story behind it.
“For me it would be a big honour to manage this club and a big opportunity.”
Gattuso, who also lifted the Champions League trophy twice while playing for AC Milan, left the Glasgow giants two years before Ricksen arrived in 2000.
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But he was still one of the many former Ibrox favourites who turned out to honour the Dutchman as he battles Motor Neurone Disease.
It was an emotional day as Ricksen, clearly frail, took the applause of over 41,000 supporters.
“It was an fantastic atmosphere for Fernando,” said Gattuso, 37. “A beautiful day. I haven’t seen Ibrox for a long time but Sunday was unbelievable.
“Life can be very strange. It was very difficult on Sunday. I saw Fernando two years ago and he was a different man with no problems. Now it is hard even to speak to him because he doesn’t speak very well.
“He doesn’t move very well either but that’s okay. I think it is good for him to have been here and seen what he means to these fans.
“For 41,000 supporters to come out only for him is fantastic.”
And Gattuso believes those same fans will have an important role to play next Sunday when the current Ibrox side take on Celtic in the League Cup semi-finals.
Large swathes of the Rangers faithful have boycotted home matches this season as their fall-out with the board continues.
The Hoops are the overwhelming favourites to go through but the Hampden clash is already a sell-out.
But Gattuso said: “Of course Rangers have a chance. I think the supporters will help the team. An Old Firm game in front of 10 or 20,000 supporters is not the same.
“The best happens when a lot of Rangers supporters come to the stadium and shout a lot to help the team.”