Sunday March 25 2018
Costacurta got it all wrong

In one extraordinarily clumsy conference, FIGC figure Alessandro Costacurta proved why the Italian national team is in such chaos, writes Susy Campanale

Some thought it an odd choice when Alessandro ‘Billy’ Costacurta, the former Milan defender and current television pundit, was chosen to be co-Commissioner of the FIGC. He was tasked with choosing and negotiating with a new Coach for the Italy squad, but in a Press conference on Saturday managed to do everything wrong.

Here is what Costacurta said to the media and what message came across.


“We will tell you the name of the new Coach on May 20.”


Marvellous, a specific date. A pity then that only the day before that, FIGC Commissioner Roberto Fabbricini – technically Costacurta’s superior – had declared he wasn’t sure whether Italy would have a tactician by the time a friendly against France rolls around in June. If anyone thought there was a united front within the Federation, even a makeshift one, then they were sadly mistaken.


“If we have the opportunity to get someone better than Gigi Di Biagio, and I don’t think there are many, then we will."


This was the nugget of the ill-fated Press conference from Costacurta, the ultimate back-handed compliment. He simultaneously managed to make clear Di Biagio is by no means their first choice, nor the best option, but he is the most available. Imagine those as your wedding vows and see if your partner has already found a divorce lawyer midway through the first dance.

The Nazionale isn’t a job anyone would want to take on right now, let alone a Coach who is already under a rich contract elsewhere. Carlo Ancelotti fears it’ll put his legacy at risk, but it could be just what he needs after the surprise Bayern Munich sacking and bitter end to his Real Madrid experience. Antonio Conte has been there and done that, so should learn from Marcello Lippi that second stints on the Azzurri bench rarely go well. Roberto Mancini is handsomely-paid at Zenit St Petersburg and frankly a massive risk for the Federation to bet on.

However, Costacurta confessing as much in front of the media while pointing to interim boss Di Biagio as some sort of managerial booby prize is not helpful.


“I think it’s more important to think about the players we have, because I doubt Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola would’ve done better yesterday.”


Not content with insulting his Coach, Costacurta moved on to denigrating an entire generation of Italian players as inferior and unmanageable. I don’t buy this idea that there is no talent in the squad, it’s simply a matter of finding a way to get the best out of them as a unit.

Most of the young talents coming through were expected to shine at the European Under-21 Championships in 2017, but they failed to deliver on their undoubted potential. Who was the tactician in charge? Gigi Di Biagio.

Besides all of that, Costacurta is right about one thing: Mourinho or Guardiola would not have done better. That’s because Mou has been exposed as the Catenaccio-and-counter charlatan he really always was and Guardiola needed a whole year of intensive training to get Manchester City playing his football. Neither would be suited to the role of Italy CT.

This is a position that requires a selector of players more than a Coach in the Maurizio Sarri mould, someone who can work out how best to use his resources in a very short space of time and get those ideas across with minimal practice. Basically, Italy need Ancelotti.

Have your say...
...well yes hiring decent coaches at the international youth level u-19,u-21 could have major benefits in developing future. Even with all the Italian coaches,there are more below average ones than decent ones. Ya can’t have coach who’s been hired and fired multiple times in a season,always in bottom half of league,or no real successs. Job should go to coaches who’ve done it all: Lippi,Capello,Sacchi,Trapattoni,etc. old yes, but easy job for them as director or adviser role as they look ...^
on the 25th March, 2018 at 1:38pm
The most disappointing thing since the Sweden game is how little has changed and that how little it seems that things will change. That game should have been a wake up call and time to follow the model of Germany or even France.

The same outdated mentality exists. A start would be recruiting decent coaches at youth level. The U21 coach role has for too many years gone to a completely inexperienced ex-international who has flopped in every job. Di Biagio has proven to be a poor manager
on the 25th March, 2018 at 11:56am
Nailed it
on the 25th March, 2018 at 11:43am
I agree with everything here up to the point about the U21 EC. We have a tendency to over-hype our young players. They show a few glimpses of quality & all of a sudden they're the next big thing. We are a long way from the likes of Spain - who knocked us out - Germany, France etc. Too many of our players & young players appear to lack a sense of responsibility & not take the game by the scruff of the neck (especially in attacking positions), remaining on the periphery over the 90 mins.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 10:54am
It is fair to point out that all national teams should SELECT the best players available.

Then, and only then, comes into the equation the manager/coach.

The BEST PLAYERS, regardless of their age, because a national team cycle need only be 2 years.

2 years to the Europeans for a cycle, + 2 years for the World Cup, and so on...........
on the 25th March, 2018 at 10:04am
Sack em all. From top to the bottom; directors, sporting director and all the possible positions that only seem to exsist in an Italian hierarchy! This has italian written all over it, chaos,corruption and scandal at every turn.
One is apointed coz he is the friend of another, positions are created coz there was abit of money spare at the time and the end result is this bunch of useless dogs lead a team to failure.
Cap foreigns in Serie A and show some god dam respect to Italian youngsters!
on the 25th March, 2018 at 9:21am
Costacurta doesn’t strike me as a good commissioner. Descent defender, and AC Milan legend but he doesn’t fit in that role. Saw him on Domenica Sportiva on RAI and he seemed like he was hiding the truth,or grasping for answers. By this reported interview he sounds like hes hiding the fact he has no clue what’s going on with new coach selection and it’s chaos within FIGC.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 5:57am
Mourinho and Pep aren't as foolish as DiBiaggio to think Italy can play with 3 mids and 3 forwards. Never have, never will. Immobile, Chiesa, Insigne looked like they were on separate islands with an ocean between our midfield. Enough with this stuff. 4 midfielders + a No9 that can finish + a crafty no.10. That's the Italy that's always had success.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 4:28am
Call me May 20 and I still won't care. The FIGC are a disaster right now. This team won't be ready for the Euro Qualifiers in October....yes October. What can be done with a couple of friendlies in May/June? It should have started with Argentina vs Italia, but no, we get the same nonsense regarding squad selection, and starting lineup.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 3:29am
“If we have the opportunity to get someone better than Gigi Di Biagio, and I don’t think there are many, then we will."
Basically Costacurta just said unless there's a miracle we are stuck with this muppet Di Biagio...this is the worse possible start for so called 'reform'...FIGC is a total embarrassment.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 2:16am

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