Roberto Di Matteo has stated that he can’t wait to get started at Schalke 04 following his appointment on Tuesday morning.
The 44-year-old replaces former manager, Jens Keller, who was given the sack after the Royal Blues suffered a disappointing start to the 2014-15 Bundesliga season.
Poor start to season for Schalke
Schalke have only won two of their last seven games in the Bundesliga, and are currently nine points adrift of leaders, Bayern Munich.
Despite securing a memorable draw away to Chelsea in the Champions League, the Gelsenkirchen outfit have so far only mustered two points in their European adventure this season, something which led to Keller’s demise after nearly two years at the helm.
Although Keller guided the Royal Blues to third and fourth place positions in the two Bundesliga seasons bygone, it was reported that the German manager had lost the faith of both the board and his players, with his departure coming just an hour before Di Matteo’s appointment.
For Di Matteo, this is his first managerial job outside of England following spells at MK Dons, West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea.
Indeed, he experienced his first taste of winning silverware during his incredible eight month stint at Chelsea, where he lead the bellow par London outfit against all odds to both Champions League and FA Cup titles.
However, despite winning the Blues’ first major European trophy in their 107 year history, he was given the sack just five months into his new five year contract after Chelsea missed out on qualifying to the 2012-13 Champions League knock out stages.
Having taken a 23 month break from football, the former Italy international was coaxed back into the managerial hot-seat by Schalke president, Clemens Tönnies, by signing a three year deal at the Veltnis-Arena.
Happy to be back
Despite being handed the task of guiding Schalke to domestic and European success, with the long-term plan of winning long-awaited silverware, Di Matteo insists that he can’t wait to get the ball rolling.
He told German newspaper Bild: “I am very happy to be at Schalke. I am looking forward to the challenge. Schalke is a great club with great fans.”
Although Di Matteo was born less than 20km away from the German boarder in the Swiss town of Schaffhausen, the former midfielder never played in the Bundesliga during his 14 year career as a player.
Despite this, Di Matteo has stated that he is a big fan of the Bundesliga and has kept tabs on German football preceding his appointment as Schalke manager.
He continued to say: “In the break (from football) I have always watched football, including the Bundesliga. I am crazy about football. The Bundesliga is one of the best leagues in the world.”