Paolo Di Canio would not consider succeeding Vladimir Petkovic as Lazio coach due to his fractious relationship with chairman Claudio Lotito.
The 45-year-old Italian, who was sacked as Sunderland manager in September, was reportedly among the frontrunners to replace under-fire Biancocelesti boss Petkovic until he ruled himself out of contention.
The Bosnian has already agreed to replace Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland coach in July but could leave the Stadio Olimpico much sooner with the Romans floundering in Serie A.
Di Canio is a lifelong Lazio fan and enjoyed two seasons with the club towards the end of his playing career, but his difficult relationship with Lotito led to a premature departure.
In response to the negative publicity generated by Di Canio’s fascist salutes to Lazio ‘ultras’ during several games, Lotito decided against extending the striker’s contract in 2006.
The former West Ham and Sheffield Wednesday player told the Gazzetta dello Sport: “Me, coaching Lazio? With Lotito there, never in my life. I don’t like him but that’s no secret.”
Lazio are currently 10th in the Serie A table, only six points clear of the relegation places, and Di Canio feels Petkovic’s reign is reaching its natural conclusion.
“It’s a delicate time and there are lots of different elements that haven’t been managed properly,” he added.
“It’s clear that the coach no longer has the power so maybe it’s right to make a change. It’s not Petkovic’s fault but as a coach it’s difficult to move a project forward when you know it’s already over.”
With Di Canio seemingly out of the running, reports in Italy suggest Lotito will turn to Edy Reja should Petkovic depart ahead of schedule. The Friulian enjoyed two successful seasons as Lazio boss before resigning in 2012.
“Reja? I guess he knows the dressing room well,” Di Canio added.