The Italian team was again eliminated from a World Cup and will be at least twelve years without participating in the highest football event. Former striker Bruno Giordanowhich included that “Magic” striker (for Maradona, Giordano and Careca) who marked an era at Napoli in the eighties, and who wore the national team shirt 58 times (with 35 goals) spoke exclusively with Infobae about the “azzurri” crisis, and what he thinks should happen in the future.
—What do you think is happening for the Italian team to stay out of the final phase of a World Cup again?
“It’s really unfortunate, but if I told you it was a surprise, I’d be lying.
“Why are you telling me this?”
—Because I think it was something that was coming.
—But Italy just won a European Championship in London against England, and that wasn’t even a year ago.
—It was an oasis, something that could happen in a month, things that happen because of the unpredictability of football and because coach Roberto Mancini managed to put the pieces together and everything happened in a special way, but then things returned to a sad normality.
“What do you mean?” Could you be more specific please?
—Italian local football has been neglected for a long time. Only thirty percent of the players in the league are Italian. The rest is all foreign. I understand that you have to bring figures. That already happened in the eighties, when Italy was the Mecca of world football, but now, it is exaggerated to bring players from abroad to replace ours and we were losing identity.
—You mean the Bosman Law of 1995?
—A little yes, but it’s not all that law, which harmed Italy a lot because now any player with a passport from the European Community can play for any team in this area, and that makes many foreigners look for it, and add to that the extra community, although there are quotas for that. But a lot of smoke is also sold…
“A lot of smoke?” Who is it?
—Many coaches who go to the media, move cards, write on blackboards, talk very nicely but it’s all theory. Everything is a tactical system, movements from one side to the other, but technically they leave a lot to be desired. At the moment of truth, they do not show on the field all that they apparently know. That is doing great damage to Italian football and not from now on.
—Since when do you think the problem comes from?
—At least, since the last world title was won in Germany 2006. After that, note that Italy was no longer in the elite since South Africa 2010. It did not go beyond the first round neither there nor in Brazil 2014 and it was not to Russia 2018 and is not going to Qatar 2022 either. In other words, they will be, in the most positive case, which would be to return in 2026, twenty years away from the soccer elite when it comes to a team with four world titles and with a great role in the history of the competition. And if you take the clubs, since Juventus won the Champions League in 1996 until now, it’s 26 years with just three European Cups.
—It seemed in the European Championship last year, that the Italian team was trying to change towards a more creative game, something that already happens with some of its teams such as Sassuolo, Gasperini’s Atalanta, Fiorentina. Isn’t it good to finally get out of the “Catenaccio” (Lock) of the past, which characterized Italian teams, with an effective but petty game for the show?
—Look, I’m going to tell you something, and I was a striker: I wish the Catenaccio would come back, even if it was! But they don’t even know how to defend because of these theoretical coaches that in practice they can’t translate everything they talk about!
—You say that a coach like Marcello Lippi, who made Italy world champion in 2006, or Juventus of Europe in 996, left no disciples?
—I don’t think so…that generation of the Lippi, the Fabio Capellos, is not here today. The few who follow that line, Carlo Ancelotti (now at Real Madrid) or Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus) are resisted, they look for people who sweeten their speech, who sell in the media.
—And Mancini, the current coach of the Italian national team? Because he had a resounding success in 2021, like winning the European Championship, and a very big failure now, by not qualifying for the World Cup…
—I think Mancini should continue. He did a good job for the European Championship and showed that you can find a way to play, but I imagine that it will be difficult for him to continue with the pressure that will be there. I have my doubts that he has the possibility of a continued job.
-And then? Who can be the technical director of the Italian team in the next stage?
—Fabio Canavaro. He was key when he won the 2006 World Cup, he is a great figure who won the Ballon d’Or, he is respected by everyone. He may be a unifying figure that allows them to let him work in peace, but if the technique is not deepened and the situation of Italian players and coaches in Serie A is not improved, we will continue to suffer as is happening now.
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Bruno Giordano: “The elimination of Italy is not a surprise, there are many technical directors who sell smoke”