Lippi rules out Juventus return

MILAN - Italy coach Marcello Lippi has ruled out a return to Juventus after the World Cup finals next year.

Lippi, who quit as Italy coach after their 2006 World Cup triumph but came back to the job in 2008, has never suggested he will stay on after the finals in South Africa.

He has been linked with a return to his former club next season, especially with current Juve coach Ciro Ferrara under pressure following a string of defeats.

"I don't know what I will do after the World Cup but I will not return to Juve, neither as coach nor director," he told Tuesday's Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 61-year-old acknowledged he had advised Juve to appoint rookie Ferrara after Claudio Ranieri was sacked in May, and also backed the possible return of former sporting director Roberto Bettega to the Turin club.

Bettega left Juve a year after a 2006 match-fixing scandal but was never implicated in any wrongdoing. Media reports say Juve's board is ready to reappoint Bettega to the role to try to stop their Serie A slump.