PARIS, France, Feb 20 – Massimiliano Allegri is yet to decide where he will make his coaching comeback as he plots a return to the game next season, the Italian revealed in an interview with AFP on Thursday, amid rumours of serious interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United.
Allegri is possibly the hottest free agent in football after leaving Italian champions Juventus last summer with five Serie A titles in as many years and two Champions League finals under his belt.
And the 52-year-old, who also won AC Milan’s last league title in 2011, confirmed his intention to end his break away from the game at the end of the current campaign.
“In September I need to come back. If I don’t I’ll get too used to being on holiday and I’ll never work again!” Allegri joked during the interview near PSG’s Parc des Princes stadium.
“I still have three more months of holiday and that’s good for me.”
However the 52-year-old denied having been contacted by PSG sporting director Leonardo about replacing current coach Thomas Tuchel, and he refused to be drawn over where he might end up, insisting that he doesn’t know what he will do next.
“I won’t speak about my future, because there isn’t anything to talk about for now, and also because it would be disrespectful to the other coaches to do so,” Allegri said.
On Tuesday Allegri’s agent Giovanni Branchini said that his client’s future lay away from Italy after an entire career as a player and manager in his home nation.
Alegri revealed he was learning English but said that it was simply for “personal reasons” and in order to communicate better when away from Italy.
Sources had previously told AFP that Allegri had turned down offers from big Premier League and La Liga clubs since leaving Juve, and media in England report that there is keen interest from Manchester United.
– A simple game –
Allegri was in France to promote the French edition of his book “It’s very simple”, in which he outlines his football philosophy.
He is unusual among Italian managers in that he eschews Italy’s traditional strong focus on systems and tactics and emphasises the importance of allowing top players to express themselves.
“The job of the manager is to simplify everything that seems complicated,” said Allegri.
“The first thing you need in order to win is great players … Great players pass the ball, they touch the ball two or three times and that’s it. They make easy things that other players find difficult.
“A great leader is someone who finds a quick solution to a problem, and one who transmits authority.”
Allegri has managed some of the game’s biggest stars, including World Cup winners Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba, but highlighted Cristiano Ronaldo as an example of the mental strength that separates the wheat from the chaff.
“Football is a question of mentality. You need to be strong mentally and make sacrifices. Ronaldo is an example of that,” he said.
“There are good players with lots of talent who stay at the same level because they don’t have the mental strength.”
Among the game’s other top coaches Allegri singled out Jurgen Klopp for praise, saying the German had moved to another level since taking over at Liverpool.
“Right now, Klopp, since he left Borussia Dortmund for Liverpool, has made gigantic leaps forward,” said Allegri.
“The great managers understand what kind of team they have in front of them, what kind of players they have, and to make them play as well as they can.”