Di Biagio: ‘I did not fail with U21s’

Gigi Di Biagio insists he “did not fail” as Italy Under-21 Coach and is looking for a new job, while evaluating Daniele De Rossi and Mario Balotelli moves.

The tactician was at the helm of perhaps the strongest Azzurrini squad in years, but didn’t get beyond the group stage in the European Under-21 Championship this summer.

“That particular tournament was probably a failure, but not the overall work I did over the years in charge of the Under-21 team,” insisted Di Biagio on Sky Sport Italia.

“We prepared and passed on 30 players to the senior Nazionale. That includes Nicolò Zaniolo and Moise Kean, but they do not need my advice now, they are intelligent lads and know what to do. At times, a Coach has to tell off his players, but they are well aware of their strengths and what they can give.”

Di Biagio left the Under-21 role and is now looking for a new position, although there is no confirmation on whether it’ll be at club or international level.

“When you have passion and the desire to get back on the training field, you don’t stop and ask what division it’s in. I even received a few proposals from senior national teams, but I don’t want to rush this decision. I’ll evaluate calmly when an important offer comes in.”

De Rossi has taken a step in a very different direction, joining Boca Juniors, while Balotelli looks set for a return to Italy at newly-promoted Brescia.

“I am very happy for De Rossi and he has incredible enthusiasm for this new adventure after the desperate disappointment of his Roma exit. I tip my hat to him, because that was a courageous choice.

“What I hope for Balotelli and for Roberto Mancini’s Italy going into Euro 2020 is that Brescia is the right pick for him. This time, he made the decision without looking at the contract, as he wants to prove he can still give something important and he certainly can, especially in the build-up to the Euros.”