There are countless anecdotes about Roberto Mancini, for example the tale about his first big trip with the national team. Mancini was 19 years old in 1984, talented and hopeful in the midst of world champions, the venue was in New York. “Are you going out again, little one?” asked Marco Tardelli, Claudio Gentile, and a few others the night before the return flight.
Roberto came with me. First Soho, then: the legendary Studio 54. The hours pass, Mancini is in heaven, everyone is gone, except Tardelli, who says, “It’s five now, I’m going, are you still alone?” Returning to the hotel, Tardelli went to his room relaxing, but Mancini was intercepted by assistant coach Cesare Maldini: “Senor Berzot is waiting in the breakfast room. Attention!”
World Champion coach Enzo Bearzot gives Mancini a lecture on his life. That he may take parental responsibility with young players, and that he could not turn a blind eye all night long. “I will never call you again if you score 40 goals this season,” says Burzot.
Italy won 14 games in a row
Today Mancini, 56, is the national coach and the same father. In Studio 54, if this still existed, he would still be cutting an excellent character if he wiped the strands of his long hair from his forehead and moved his body across the dance floor. At EM 2021, a first impression was enough to become a championship style icon.
The competition – like his equally handsome colleague Vladimir Petkovic, today’s opponent for Switzerland (9pm, live tape SPIEGEL.de; TV:ARD) – had no chance, as Mancini’s Italy played its first match. Mancini opened with a gray marble jacket and a 3-0 win over Turkey.
Of course with the win, one could say, because Mancini’s Italy has now won 14 games in a row, the last eight without conceding a goal. He has not lost in 28 matches and is only two games away from the legendary series Vittorio Pozzo (world champion 1934 and 1938). And yes, it is the same country that did not even qualify for the last World Cup in Russia. Several players of that time are still there, from the back – defenders Bonucci and Chiellini – to the front Ciro Immobile.
A proud yacht owner knows a lot about Dolce Vita
Coach’s permission. No one is denying that it is up to the coach when Nacionale returns again and the press turns against itself with chants of praise for playing as offensively as any Italian team before (82 goals in 33 games) and still winning just as much. better than before. Mancini himself does not even resort to appeasement, but tries to further fuel the fruitful dynamism of successes and ecstasy. In the opening match, he published an open letter filled with patriotic pity (“United under one blue sky…we play responsibly to represent one of the strongest and most beautiful countries in the world”) and promised: “We want to have fun.”
Mancini is one of those coaches who can impress a team only with their personality. Because he – the proud yacht owner – understands a lot about the Dolce Vita and therefore the things that matter to the players. Because he always retained the allure of a free spirit. And because he has incredible work experience. He played 836 matches and coached 753.
“Il Mancio” comes from Marche, a small, often-forgotten region in central Italy on the Adriatic Sea. At the age of 16, he made his debut with Bologna in the Italian Serie A. His greatest time in Sampdoria was Genoa in a duet with the leader of the current Italian delegation Gianluca Vialli, where he was later also champion and European Cup winner in Lazio Rome. His longtime coach Vujadin Boškov once described it thus: “Roberto gives this phenomenon for half an hour, then takes a nap, and, oops, wakes up suddenly with goosebumps for another 20 minutes.”
Called “Trequartista” or “Fantasista” in Italy, dozens of creators, he has traditionally been Calcio’s hanging party. And because calcio fun was mostly uncommon until this European Championship, there was only one of these players in the squad. In the World Cup at home in 1990 was the divine Roberto Baggio, and Mancini did not play a single minute.
He had scored his only international goal against the host nation at the European Championships in Germany in 1988, after which he shouted his chants into the press box, where his alleged tormentors were sitting. Impulsive, Mancini for his intrusion on referee Aaron Schmidhuber after the Champions League final loss to Barcelona in 1992 was suspended. And he was a rebel: in 1994 he refused to appoint Arrigo Sacchi to the World Cup because he had already replaced him at half-time in a warm-up match in Germany.
Today, Mancini admits that the past prompted him to take up the position of national coach in 2018. “As a player, I did not win the European Championship or the World Cup, although I was part of excellent teams. I wanted revenge.”
He never looked like a reformer, now he is
Not everyone was as enthusiastic about his appointment as Mancini, who even as a player loved being a coach on the field and discussed a lot with his coaches, soon began his second career. He wrote his thesis for a coaching license about dozens, but his teams won titles, but they hardly seduced and failed in Europe. Inter Milan traded him with Jose Mourinho after three successive tournaments, and soon in Manchester City he made history again despite the first league title of the Abu Dhabi era. Everywhere elegant scarves in club colors made an impression more than football, which had little to do with the player Mancini; Even after returning to Inter in 2014.
He never looked like a reformer, now he is. These inconsistencies also belong to the coach who publicly rose to the position of prosecutor against Eder’s naturalization at Euro 2016 and who now built his team around the naturalized Brazilian Jorginho. Perhaps best known as a pragmatist, he recognized that Italy needed a better mix of generations, more courage, freshness, sharpness and, above all, a different temperament.
And maybe he also learned to temper his pride better sometimes. Enzo Bearzot revealed years later that all he had to do was call and apologize and that he was going to be nominated again. Mancini did. Now he wants to tackle his rotten story with the national team as a coach.
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