Roberto Di Matteo resigns as Schalke 04 coach
Berlin, May 26 (IANS) FC Schalke 04's Italian coach Roberto Di Matteo has decided to leave the club and prematurely terminate his contract that had been extended to June 2017, according to a statement by the German football club on Tuesday.
Di Matteo explained that he will leave Schalke, which finished Bundesliga in sixth place, after talks with sporting director Horst Heldt, noting: "Although the talks with Horst Heldt were always constructive, it became clear that the club wants to go in a different direction," reports Efe.
Di Matteo's Italian assistant Attilio Lombardo and goalkeeping coach Massimo Battara will also step down. According to the same statement, Heldt appreciated Di Matteo's decision in interest of the club, recalling that "Roberto Di Matteo took over the team in October 2014 when they were sitting 11th and in a much more difficult situation than people outside the club made it out to be."
"We had a plethora of injured players and there were other complicating factors. Thanks to Roberto's work, we were able to establish some solidity and managed to climb as high as third after the busy weeks following the winter break. We also reached the last 16 of the Champions League and only narrowly lost out after winning 4-3 away at Real Madrid," Heldt explained in reference to Di Matteo's efforts.
"Unfortunately, none of us were then able to stop the negative trend," Heldt continued, while the Royal Blues ended its Bundesliga campaign in the sixth position, and will be in the Europa League next season.
Before the departure of Di Matteo, Schalke announced on May 11 the immediate dismissal of midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng and striker Sidney Sam. Di Matteo shot into the limelight after he led Chelsea to their first ever Champions League title.