Bayern Munich's Italian striker Luca Toni has claimed he will be returning to Italy while his coach insisted he would not try to stop him.
Toni moved to the Bavarian giants in 2006 after winning the FIFA World Cup™ with Italy in Germany in 2006. But after three successful seasons he has found himself left out in the cold by new coach Louis van Gaal for most of this campaign and his repeated outbursts against his coach have seen him left in limbo.
In an interview to be published on Wednesday in Chi magazine, Toni affirmed that he is coming home, presumably during January's transfer window. "I miss everything about my country: the fans, my friends, my mother. I don't yet know which team I will play for but I'm sure I'll be coming back to Italy," he said. "I've made some mistakes here in Germany and I regret them. Those mistakes have cost me my place at the World Cup in South Africa, even if I still hold some hope that (Italy coach Marcello) Lippi will call me.
"But whatever happens, I won't let myself be beaten down, my desire to play is still strong," he went on. "I'll only stop playing when I no longer feel any emotion on the pitch, which is not yet the case."
Toni, who was the top scorer in the German Bundesliga in 2007/08, admitted to having problems with his coach - he has already been hit with a €25,000 fine for one outburst.
Van Gaal, for his part, said ahead of Bayern's clash with Juventus on Tuesday that he has nothing against seeing the back of Toni. "I've already said it a couple of weeks ago and I'll repeat it so you can all hear it directly from my mouth, I think a player should respond according to the club's needs," said the Dutchman. "Hence when you are part of a club you should act in that club's interests but when a player doesnt want to do so, I'll do nothing to convince him to stay."