London (AFP) – Former Italy striker Fabrizio Ravanelli would love to manage his former club Middlesbrough, freshly relegated from the Premier League, he told Britain’s Press Association on Saturday.
The 48-year-old, who scored 33 goals in 52 appearances for unfashionable Boro in the 1996/97 season after surprisingly leaving then European champions Juventus, has not had a wealth of coaching experience since hanging up his boots in 2005.
He spent two years as part of the Juventus youth team coaching staff before an unhappy spell in 2013 at Corsican outfit Ajaccio, who sacked him after five months in charge with them second from bottom of Ligue 1.
Interim manager Steve Agnew has held talks with owner Steve Gibson about the full-time post but is thought unlikely to get the job.
Former Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson — Ravanelli’s captain at Middlesbrough — and Garry Monk, who made a good impression last season in the second-tier Championship with Leeds United, are seen as the front-runners.
That doesn’t deter Ravanelli, whose goals helped Middlesbrough get to both the League Cup and FA Cup final in the one season he was there before he left for Marseille when they were relegated.
“Middlesbrough is in my heart every day,” said Ravanelli, whose remark may surprise some who recall his constant criticism about the town and the training facilities.
“It was a great experience in England, especially as I was one of the first Italians to play in the Premier League.
“I love the Middlesbrough fans, they are fantastic, and I hope one day it is special for me there again.”
Ravanelli, who scored Juventus’ goal in the 1996 Champions League final with Ajax before the Italian side went on to win on penalties, is keen to prove himself as a manager.
“I had to leave early, but I enjoyed my experience in Ajaccio,” said Ravanelli.
“I want to start coaching again and I don’t want the mistake of making the wrong choice.
“This is the start of a new career for me and I hope to have the possibility in July before the new season. So why not Middlesbrough?”
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