London: Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri has said he wants to return to Italy to be closer to his family after a ‘heavy’ first year in the English Premier League, amid reports that he is wanted by Serie A champions Juventus.
Chelsea won the Europa League, finished third in the Premier League and were runners-up in the League Cup this season, but Sarri’s time in London has also been marked by a fraught relationship with a section of the club’s supporters.
The Italian, who was subjected to taunts from the stands over his team’s style of play during the campaign, told Vanity Fair that he feels “something is missing” since his move to England.
“For us Italians the call of home is strong,” the 60-year-old added. “It has been a heavy year.
“I begin to feel the weight of distant friends and elderly parents I rarely see but at my age, I only make professional choices. I won’t be able to work for 20 years. It’s hard work, the bench.”
Sarri coached Napoli before taking the Chelsea job but said he was not concerned that supporters of his former club might take a dim view of him potentially joining their northern Italian rivals Juventus as Massimiliano Allegri’s replacement.
“The Neapolitans know the love I feel for them,” he added. “I chose to move abroad last year and not to go to an Italian team. The relationship will not change. Loyalty is giving 110% when you are there.”