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Gennaro Gattuso faces Valencia appointment backlash a year on from Tottenham U-turn

The Italian coach’s planned appointment at Tottenham last year was scuppered after fans protested about his previous comments and Valencia supporters have voiced similar opposition

Gennaro Gattuso has not yet been confirmed as the new Valencia manager but his impending appointment has been met with a backlash from the club’s fans.

The Spanish club announced the exit of manager Jose Bordalas this week with Gattuso set to replace him at the Mestalla. The Italian has been out of football since leaving Napoli a year ago and enduring a turbulent summer which saw Tottenham perform a U-turn on appointing him following past comments that he made – with that backdrop now threatening his imminent appointment at Valencia.

Gattuso has had a journeyman managerial career but did enjoy successful stints in charge of AC Milan and Napoli, winning the Coppa Italia with the latter in his first season in charge. After leaving Napoli last summer he was appointed as Fiorentina boss, but that deal was ripped up before commencing following a breakdown between the club and the boss regarding player recruitment and the involvement of Gattuso’s agent, Jorge Mendes.

The influence of Mendes at Valencia has now been criticized by the club’s legendary former goalkeeper Santiago Canizares, who has described Gattuso as a “son of Mendes” and one who works to the wishes of his agent. Canizares asked: “Is it right for one agent to control an entire club through his coach? I don’t think this is a good method.”

Meanwhile, Valencia’s fanbase has mobilized online to resist the appointment with the hashtag ‘#NoToGattuso’ being shared across social media platforms due to his previous comments that have been criticized as sexist and homophobic. This was a similar strategy to Spurs fans last year to block Gattuso’s appointment in North London.

Gattuso previously said of Barbara Berlusconi that he “didn’t see women working in football” and insisted “marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Have Your Say! Should Gattuso apologize for his previous comments about him before being appointed in a high-profile role? Tell us what you think here.

Gattuso has been out of football since leaving Napoli a year ago



In an interview with Gazzetto dello Sport, as cited by Football Italia, Gattuso has now moved to defend himself by stating: “My history speaks for itself. I’m racist? I’m homophobic? I’m xenophobic? I’m sexist? Have we gone mad? It’s time to calm down.

“So let’s start explaining, the phrase about women, uttered at the time of Barbara Berlusconi’s entry into football, was meant to be a defense of Galliani’s work, which had been brusquely dismissed.”

Going on to address claims that he had made racist remarks, Gattuso rejected the suggestion based on the fact that he signed Tiémoué Bakayoko when he was Napoli boss. In 2013, when Milan teammate Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the pitch after experiencing racism, Gattuso had said: “How many times have white players been booed? It has happened to me, but I don’t give it much importance.”

Gattuso continued when addressing his previous comments: “I’m racist? Then why did I sign Bakayoko when I was at Napoli? I’ve never had anything against Black players, many of whom have been my teammates and friends.

“I built my career with hard work, commitment and sweat. Nobody has given me anything as a gift. And I will no longer allow anyone, with terrible accusations, to hinder my work.”

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