Francesco Guidolin tips Napoli for the Scudetto, Manchester City for the Premier League and wishes he’d worked with Gigi Buffon.
The veteran Coach spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport about his career and near misses. You can read part one here.
“I really like Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli, as they play beautiful, fast-paced football that is elegant, keeping the ball to feet and with a positive mentality.
“In the Scudetto race, a lot will depend on the Champions League commitments, but I think Napoli will just take it from Juventus. They have added a fundamental ‘player’ and that is the belief in their own capabilities.
“In Europe, I like to watch Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Pep needed a year to understand English football, as in the Premier League he couldn’t simply replicate his Barcelona.
“In his first season, he was getting to grips with it, now he will reap what he has sowed.”
Napoli and Manchester City go head-to-head later this month in the Champions League.
“It’ll be a marvellous game, open to any result,” continued Guidolin. “Napoli won’t feel shy, because they know that they’re considered to be one of the most entertaining sides in Europe.
“However, Sarri is not a ‘descendent’ of Arrigo Sacchi. They have very different playing styles. What Sarri does share with Sacchi and Guardiola is the capacity to keep the team short and occupy the opposition half, the desire to control the game. The way they develop their moves are different.”
Guidolin insisted he had “no regrets” in his career, but there are some players he’d have loved to work with.
“I would’ve liked to have Buffon in my team. We’d be in sync, because as well as being the best goalkeeper in the world, Gigi also has indisputable human qualities. He’s a real leader.
“Any Coach with Buffon in the side finds much of his locker room work has already been done for him.
“I’d also like to play Isco and Marco Asensio behind a main centre-forward. Today Real Madrid are the best side in the world. Zinedine Zidane is intelligent and has a lot of common sense. He was a giant of a player and therefore knows how to deal with other giants.
“Mentality comes before anything else. I have given my players boots and photographs, made them listen to classical music, showed them bits of films, for example the final minutes of ‘The Last Samurai’ with Tom Cruise, the scene where the Japanese warriors don’t give up and die with honour.”