Lippi rules out Juventus return

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The Independent Football

Italy coach Marcello Lippi has ruled out making a return to club management with Juventus.

Lippi has continually been linked with a return to the Turin club, who he led to five Serie A titles and one Champions League success during two spells at the helm.

But the 61-year-old claims that even when his contract with the Italian national team expires after the 2010 World Cup, he will not be heading back to Juve.

The future of current Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri continues to be the subject of much speculation.

"I'm not going back to Juventus, neither as coach nor as a technical director," said Lippi. "Whatever anyone says, it's not true. I'm not going back to Juve.

"I'm the coach of the national team and I'm thinking exclusively about that."

Veteran Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro is hoping to be welcomed back at Juve, as he nears the completion of his exit from Real Madrid.

Cannavaro left Juve under a cloud in the summer of 2006 and is still a hate figure for some of the Turin club's fans.

However, he told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “I have explained many times what happened in 2006 over the past years.

“I understand that some would have expected different actions on my part, but the transfer to Real Madrid was agreed with the club.

“That's why my rapport with the new directors and the old guard has been excellent during these years.

“I respect the supporters and their opinions, but I hope that things will fall back into place. I truly wish that.”

Meanwhile, Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini has described claims that his club wanted to sign Ronaldo as 'a joke'.

Earlier in the week, Palermo's sporting director Walter Sabatini claimed the Sicilian club could be interested in bring the former AC Milan and Internazionale striker back to Serie A.

Ronaldo is currently resurrecting his career in Brazil with Corinthians following a serious knee ligament injury and Zamparini claims there were never any serious plans to sign the 32-year-old striker.

"Ronaldo? Sabatini was making a joke and someone went and wrote it in the newspapers," he declared.

"Here at Palermo we have adopted a policy that clearly states our focus on young players.

"Unfortunately for Ronaldo and for us, he is no longer a young person."