Chennaiyin FC manager Marco Materazzi has expressed his interest in returning to the club for a third season as coach for the Indian Super League (ISL) club with his current contract on the verge of expiration.
Materazzi's two-year contract with the Chennai-based club is about to end in a week and the former World Cup winner is yet to sign an extension. However, he has thanked the club owners for the opportunity they have provided him and has claimed that he would return for his third season, if provided the chance.
“My contract will be over in eight days. What I will say is that I will always be thankful to Abhishek Bachchan, Vita Dani and to the whole club. It is the club who decides about my future. So, I gave my very best and whatever happens, I will keep them in my heart because Chennai is not a club, Chennai is my family.
“In any case, I will always take Chennaiyin as my first choice. Come January- February we will see what happens,” the 42-year-old was quoted as saying by Goal.com.
The former Italian international guided his team to the semis in the inaugural campaign, where they eventually lost to Kerala Blasters in a closely fought tie, after topping the points table in the league phase.
This season, they struggled in the first half with just three of their first 10 games. But Materazzi's men displayed immense character to fight back and rose from the bottom of the table to finish third, and qualify for the semis.
Chennaiyin are in the driving seat in their semi-final tie against defending champions Atletico de Kolkata after thrashing them 3-0 in the first leg at Pune on Saturday. The Italian has certainly done enough to warrant a new contract. More importantly, with Roberto Carlos and Zico, managers of Delhi Dynamos and FC Goa respectively, confirming their exits at the end of this season, losing Materazzi might be a big blow for the nascent league.
Marco Materazzi praised his team's performance in the first leg of the semi-final.
"What I am proud of is that we started as a group, now the same players are playing towards the end of the adventure." #ItsInOurBlood— Chennaiyin FC (@ChennaiyinFC) December 13, 2015
“I didn’t expect this [result]. Kolkata have never lost 3-0. They are a good compact team & that’s why I am so proud of my team right now.”— Chennaiyin FC (@ChennaiyinFC) December 13, 2015