Cesare Prandelli has hit back at claims he escaped Italy and warned Antonio Conte of the challenges that coaching the national team poses.
Prandelli resigned as Italy coach after a disappointing World Cup campaign in which he failed to guide his country beyond the group stage.
The 56-year-old has since taken over as coach of Turkish giants Galatasaray, a move that prompted critics to claim he had fled Italy as the inquest into their failure in Brazil started.
Prandelli has insisted that is not the case and believes the criticism he has received has been over the top.
He told Corriere della Sera: "The attacks that have been made against me have been cruel, but I do not have to feel like a victim.
"From one to 10, the stress for the World Cup adventure was more than 10. I’m not talking about professional stress, and there was some harsh criticism.
"But when I read and hear some personal attacks, I was hurt most by accusations of escaping. The idea that I had escaped. That's not true.
"I have demonstrated that in my life, personally and professionally. The success at Parma, after the bankruptcy of Parmalat, many escaped and I remained and my squad achieved fifth place.
"It happened in Florence, I did not escape. I was in my position alone, with executives indicted in Calciopoli, and despite this, without penalty, we would have finished second in the league.
“I was close to Juventus twice, but I am proud of the choice I made to stay in Florence. I believe in that sporting project."
Prandelli also defended his decision to get straight back into club football with Galatasaray.
He added: "There was no time to explain all this and then formalise the move to Turkey. They called me from Galatasaray, then called back: 'We are a big club. We have put on stand-by eight coaches for you'.
"And then the field. I had a physical need to put on my shoes and return to the field. When you fall off a bicycle you must get back on it immediately.
"The people who love me saw me in a comatose state. I owed it to them. I'm going to do my job. It's a challenge, I will have to get back into the game.
"The national team is still afloat and will recover. The players can redeem themselves, but my time with the Azzurri has gone."
Conte has been linked with the Italy job after his shock decision to walk out on Juventus, but Prandelli warned the 44-year-old that coaching at international level provides a very different challenge to what he has been accustomed to.
"Conte? He once said that losing is like dying. Yes, I believe that today he experiences stress towards winning." Prandelli said.
"If he becomes the new Italian coach he would find it difficult to pass on that same motivation as he managed to do so daily at Juventus."
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