World Cup Winner tries his hand at management (video)

Last week it was announced that AC Milan legend and former World Cup winner Gennaro Gattuso has been named as the player-coach of Swiss Super League side Sion.

Gattuso’s appointment – Sion’s fifth coach this season – came after manager Victor Munoz was re-assigned to a Scouting role within the club following a 4-0 league defeat to Thun. The Sion hierarchy had blamed “a disastrous performance” against Thun for Munoz’ demotion, in spite of the fact that Sion only trail leaders Grasshoppers by 9 points in the Swiss Super League.

Gattuso joined the Swiss outfit last summer after Milan initiated a clear-out of their playing staff, many of whom had been on the books at the San Siro for several years including Clarence Seedorf, Filippo Inzaghi and Antonio Cassano.

Gattuso had spent 13 years with the Italian giants winning 2 Serie A titles, 2 Champions Leagues and 1 Coppa Italia. The defensive midfielder, nicknamed “Ringhio” which is Italian for “growl” owing to his aggressive, bulldog-like approach to the game, was instrumental in his country’s fourth World Cup title in 2006 as he played all but one game on the road to victory over France in the final. Gattuso retired from international duty after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Asked why he had opted to make the unusual move to Switzerland after his departure from Milan, Gattuso claimed it was for “quality of life“. Yet for a man who has seen most things in football, it came as a culture shock even to him that within only 4 months at Sion, he had played under 3 different managers. In fact, current Sion chairman Christian Constantin has overseen 27 managerial changes during his 10 year tenure at the club, a record that the newly appointed Gattuso will be fearful of.

Gattuso’s boss Constantin is certainly a colourful character. When Sion were expelled from the Europa League last season for fielding ineligible players, Constantin challenged UEFA on their decision but was unable to overturn it. However Gattuso has previously stated his faith in the man who brought him to the Swiss Super League saying “There are few clubs in the world where you’ve got a president who’s put in his own money“. Constantin had previously saved Sion from bankruptcy in 2002 before leading the club to Swiss Cup titles in 2006 and 2009.

In November of last year, by the time Sion were already on their third coach of the season, Gattuso claimed that the managerial merry-go-round had been disturbing and that “We’ve got a competitive team and we have to do more with the side we’ve got“. Now as player-coach, Gattuso will be the one responsible for putting this belief into action on the pitch as he and his team-mates strive to reduce the margin between Sion and the top spot in the Swiss Super League.

Gattuso has certainly been given a baptism of fire with his new appointment and in spite of winning his first match in charge 2-0 away to Lausanne last weekend, it may only be a matter of time before his trigger-happy chairman cuts Gattuso’s Swiss adventure short.