Former Italy CT Arrigo Sacchi assesses the current national side, warning there aren’t enough Italians in Serie A.
The legendary tactician took the Azzurri to the 1994 World Cup final, and spoke about the state of the national team in his interview with Corriere della Sera.
“Something has moved, globalisation helps,” Sacchi said.
“In TV we see more spectacle and so slowly we’re adjusting. To emulate that.
“Right now there’s a good group of Coaches who teach their teams to dominate matches: [Marco] Giampaolo, [Eusebio] Di Francesco, [Luciano] Spalletti, [Paulo] Sousa, [Gian Piero] Gasperini.
“Then there are some lads who are growing, a result of the hard work we’ve done with the national teams between 2010 and now.
“[Andrea] Belotti, [Lorenzo] Insigne, [Ciro] Immobile, [Alessandro] Florenzi, [Alessio] Romagnoli, [Daniele] Rugani: the direction is the right one.
“However, there still aren’t enough Italians playing, and that’s a huge problem for the national team. Where’s the Italian pride?”
Sacchi was then asked how he thinks Giampiero Ventura’s side will do at the World Cup.
“[Fabio] Capello is great, but I don’t agree with him that they should go there and play closed-up and hit on the break. That’s not the right way to grow.
“I also think though that the national team can’t lead a movement, it’s just not possible. Ventura, who is good, does what he can with what he has.”
But Ventura plays the back-three which Sacchi famously hates…
“I hate it when it’s five, if it’s proof of the fear of playing high up the pitch,” the former Milan Coach clarified.
“At Milan we defended with two men, and if we needed it the full-back would quickly come back. Nowadays too many defend preventively, all they do is play in reaction to the opponent, to their mistakes.
“In the Champions League final against Juventus, Zinedine Zidane left [Dani] Carvajal against [Mario] Mandzukic, without thinking about the 20 centimetre height difference.
“We’d have changed the formation and two or three players to avoid that. And who won?”
Madrid did have Cristiano Ronaldo though…
“I once went to meet Carlo Ancelotti when he was at Real, and do you know who was there working out an hour and a half before training? Cristiano Ronaldo.
“The other Ronaldo, the Brazilian, had more quality but he didn’t last as long because he was looking for privileges, he didn’t want to run much.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is an exemplary professional, cognitive psychology teaches us that you’re not born with talent, it’s something you have to work at every day.
“That’s how he is. He raises Real up, Real raise him up.”