Several clubs are in the red in their balance, who cannot invest on the long term; a defensive football model, that prefers expert players rather than youngsters: These are the two main reasons for Italy’s lack of value in their young players. This is what Italy’s former Head Coach Arrigo Sacchi said today during a press conference in Rome. Sacchi decided not to extend his contract with the FIGC. He has been Italy’s Youth Sector Coordinator for the past four years. Under his guidance, Italy’s national youth teams have played around 400 matches and several young players have developed into footballers who are now titular in Serie A as well as in other important foreign leagues. “I have to thank my assistant Maurizio Viscidi and the FIGC,” said Sacchi. “FIGC invested in the youth, in a country that does not believe in its youth.”
“We are here because Arrigo’s contract expires tomorrow,” said FIGC General Director Antonello Valentini during the press conference. “He was crucial for the reformation of our youth sector. He decided to leave at the end of his contract, although we tried to convince him not to do so. We hope he will change his mind in the future.”
“I am sorry to leave as this job has been very important to me,” added Sacchi, who talked to the press along with his assistant Maurizio Viscidi and the Club Italia Secretary Mauro Vladovich. “I have fought against stress in the last 22-23 years, and it looks like it has finally beaten me. I told the FIGC a year ago that I would quit at the end of my contract. I was not a good father, I neglected my daughter and I don’t want to do the same with my little granddaughter, who is now two and a half. And I’m not young any more, I need longer to recover.”
Arrigo Sacchi showed that the runner-up place at the last Under-21 European Championship in Israel was a result to be proud of. “We eliminated a team like Holland, and five of their players started the semi-final match against Argentina in the last World Cup in Brazil,” added Sacchi. “We’ve been working hard during the last four years, trying to give our players an international mentality.” Italy’s youth sector has helped to develop players like De Sciglio, Florenzi, Insigne and Immobile, who demonstrated their skills in Serie A, as well as players like Verratti, Caldirola, Donati and Fausto Rossi, who all moved from Serie B teams to top European clubs.
Italy’s former head coach also talked about the last World Cup, “It was love that made us believe that we could win it. None of our clubs had reached the Champions League quarterfinals. It would have been a miracle to win it, and that simply didn’t happen. There were mistakes and we could have done better. We have to change things in Italy. Some of our managers work more for their power than for the health of our football system. It would be good if everybody was a bit more self critical. We can only grow if we stop complaining. Italy has exported culture for 1,500 years, but is now too quick to look for compromises, for shortcuts, with too much astuteness. I hope our country can overcome this.”