Belfast Telegraph

Trapattoni happy to stay in Republic job, if FAI want him

By Daniel McDonnell

For once, there was no ambiguity in Giovanni Trapattoni's message. The intention was clear.

He has decided that he wants to continue as Republic of Ireland manager until the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. If he is asked to stay, the offer will be accepted.

“If they want me, I am available,” said the 72-year-old yesterday morning after a busy week of activity that concluded with encouragement in defeat to Uruguay. “If they not want, I can look about other possibilities.”

The FAI will have noted his words. In the past, Trapattoni has been asked before about his ambition beyond the end of the current European Championship qualifying campaign, when his contract expires.

Generally, the response has been positive enough. His employers have also publicly said that they have an open mind with respect to the future.

Yet, in the wake of the 72-year-old's health scare in January, his second within the space of six months, the vibe was that when this campaign ended, Trapattoni would step aside. His assistant, Marco Tardelli, has already been touted as a possible successor by Liam Brady.

However, energised by the events of the week, the boss has evidently decided that he is ready to go again for another campaign.

Unquestionably, his contract will be a source of debate.

Realistically, the FAI can't judge Trapattoni on his performances in his second campaign in charge until the business end is reached in the autumn, with the visit of Slovakia and a trip to Russia. If they offer a new deal before then, and it all goes up in smoke in Moscow, then they will be slated.

After all, this is a cash strapped association, and he is the highest paid employee at €1.7 million a year, although half of that is provided by Denis O'Brien.

Trapattoni will be 75 when the 2014 finals in Brazil come around and he spoke almost dreamily about the prospect of going there, perhaps envisaging a trip to the spiritual home of football as the ideal swansong.

“Obviously, I would be proud to continue because the next World Cup is in Brazil,” he said. “Brazil is Brazil, eh. That is my opinion.

“I met Pele one year ago. I spoke to him. To go to Brazil as the manager, it would be a good moment.

Trapattoni cited this summer's planned trip to the United States, where Ireland will play two matches, as an exercise that could perform a similar function as the jaunt to the Algarve which kicked off his tenure.

“I think we can improve. Maybe this summer, we go to America and the senior players will not come. We had two days before the game on Tuesday to try a new system.

“If we have 10 days, or two weeks, to show them their jobs, it can be a good exercise. I will promote this option.”

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