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Hierro reappointed at RFEF

Spain
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 By Ben Gladwell

Gianni De Biasi's Albania exit be 'as controversial' as Claudio Ranieri axe

Gianni De Biasi was a contender to replace Antonio Conte as Italy coach in 2016.

Gianni De Biasi says that if he were to lose his job as Albania coach, it would compare with Claudio Ranieri's dismissal as Leicester City manager.

De Biasi took charge of Albania in December 2011 and led them to their first ever European Championship finals last year. They did not make it beyond the group stage and they have already lost at home to Spain and Israel in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

But the 60-year-old believes that if the Albanian FA were to show him the door, it would be the same as Leicester's decision to sack the man who guided them to the Premier League title last season.

"If Albania were to do that to me, it would almost be as controversial," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of Albania's trip to face Italy in a World Cup qualifier on Friday. "I don't think it will happen, though. It's more likely that we would reach a mutual agreement with the federation."

That is something he would have sought last July when he was on the verge of becoming Italy's new coach -- or at least he thought he was.

The Italian FA (FIGC) instead appointed Giampiero Ventura to succeed Antonio Conte after Euro 2016, but not until after meeting with De Biasi.

"I hate envy and those who envy," De Biasi said. "I don't like the people who don't climb a pyramid and then find excuses rather than those who just don't manage to climb it. This is why, even if coaching Italy would have crowned my career which has been mainly at smaller clubs, I still don't envy Ventura.

"If anything, I envy his players. He has a solid defence, he has [Andrea] Belotti, [Ciro] Immobile and [Lorenzo] Insigne in great form and many alternatives -- [Antonio] Conte had fewer cards he could have played compared to him.

"I could have been in his position now. Or at least I had hoped I would have been, and I mean a lot, after I met with an FIGC director. I thought that I was their first choice, then suddenly something changed and Ventura overtook me.

"I only found out what had changed in November in Como, at the Alliance of European Football Coaches Associations' symposium in Como. At dinner with [FIGC president Carlo] Tavecchio, he told me that one person -- just one -- had opposed me by lodging his veto.

"He also explained to me who it is, of course, but it's too soon for me to reveal it. I will say who it was as soon as I can, first of all to the person's face. Maybe it's going to happen soon.

"I could have coached Italy, but these trains pass only once. I don't know why I've never coached a big club, or maybe I do -- I've never had strong agents or belonged to a strong agency, even if I've been asked by some of them."

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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