Paolo Di Canio says that he still hopes to return to West Ham in some capacity.
The 49-year-old, who still lives in England with his family, has revealed that his one burning ambition is to renew his career at West Ham. “I have always said it is my destiny to come back to West Ham – and I never change my opinion,” he said.
“Until I die, I hope to have a role at West Ham, because it would be fantastic before finishing my life. I will never give up, but obviously I know that the club have their own programme.
“I follow them with all respect, with my heart and am full of passion for West Ham. I will follow them until I die, whether I get a chance to go back or not. I belong to the family.”
However the Italian legend remains sceptical about the club’s new ground, which he described as “too big” with “too much space around the field” – even though he feels the team are now beginning to settle into their new surroundings.
“It was difficult for everyone to move stadium,” he added. “For the fans and even the players who had only played at Upton Park for six months, because that’s all you needed to absorb the atmosphere.
“The shock of leaving Upton Park, the atmosphere; they paid the price.
“It was a place of history and tradition – of Bobby Moore, Trevor Brooking, Geoff Hurst, Billy Bonds. The atmosphere can never be the same [at the Olympic Stadium], but in the end they have done a good job.”
Di Canio was speaking from the Star Sixes tournament, where he was representing Italy.
Although they qualified for the knockout phase having finished runners-up to Brazil in Group B, Di Canio and his fellow Italians were sent crashing out of the competition by France, who won their quarter final tie 4-2 before going on to win the tournament.