Monday November 12 2018
The end of Ventura

His comeback at Chievo went down in flames, and Gaby McKay says it’s time for Giampiero Ventura to walk off into the sunset.

It’s been a little over a year since Italy travelled to the Bernabeu to take on Spain in a crucial World Cup qualifier.

The Azzurri went into the match knowing that their inferior goal difference meant they needed a win, following the 1-1 draw at Juventus Stadium. In one dugout stood Giampiero Ventura, a wise old head brought to usher in the new Italy era. In the other was Julen Lopetegui, an up-and-comer who had advanced through the ranks to finally be given the top job.

We’re now 14 months removed from that match, and the careers of both men lie in tatters. Ventura deployed a bizarre 4-2-4 shape that night, and his team never recovered from the 3-0 loss. Sweden dealt the death blow - a year ago today - but the bleeding started that night in Spain.

Lopetegui, meanwhile, was on top of the world after qualifying with ease. La Roja were among the favourites for this summer’s tournament in Russia, but the Coach was sacked on the eve of the tournament after secretly striking a deal with Real Madrid. Last month he was given the bullet by Florentino Perez too.

It’s easy to have a certain degree of sympathy for a man losing the two biggest jobs of his career in the space of a few months, but it’s here the similarities with Ventura end.

It’s easy to forget that there was plenty of goodwill toward the Tuscan when he was given the Azzurri job. His Torino side thrilled in Europe, and his tales of chatting up women while working at a swimming pool came down on the right side of the endearing/creepy line.

When his Italy failed to qualify for Russia though, his bridges were burned. Failing to reach the World for the first time since 1958 was bad enough - FIGC President Carlo Tavecchio called it “the apocalypse”. What really grated though was the fact Ventura refused to resign, holding out for a pay-off in the wake of what was a national disgrace.

A Coach holding out for the money he has been promised may be understandable at club level, but when it came to the Nazionale many viewed it as something tantamount to treachery. In the end he received his full outstanding salary.

Many assumed Ventura would quietly retire, perhaps to a desert island with a volleyball for company - well, no-one would let him near a football again. Instead though the veteran spoke of his hunger to return to coaching.

Eventually it was Chievo who gave him that chance, and despite his pariah status there was an opportunity. Who doesn’t love a good comeback story?

Instead just four games into his tenure, with the Flying Donkeys having finally reached zero points after a draw with Bologna, he threw in the towel. There would be few tears for Ventura, but fans of calcio were entitled to wonder where this principled stand had been 12 months prior.

The Chievo board initially tried to convince the 70-year-old to stay, but club legend Sergio Pellissier made it quite clear that wasn’t an option.

“A start of the season to be forgotten and to top it all off, the resignation of a Coach who, as soon as he got here, had already wanted out,” the striker summarised on Instagram.

“In 22 seasons as a professional I thought I’d seen everything, but I’m forced to admit that there’s always something new… Don’t be like Ventura. You win and lose together. That’s how it must be in a team. Don’t give up until it’s over.”

Chievo were a sinking ship long before Ventura got there, but Pellissier seemed to be casting him as a rat nonetheless. The merry-go-round nature of the job may see Ventura offered another shot at redemption, but it’s surely now time for him to walk quietly into the sunset.

His reputation is utterly destroyed, his public image is somewhere below that of Francesco Schettino and the payout from the FIGC should set him up nicely for retirement.

Just go, Ventura, and never darken a dugout again.

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Have your say...
de laurentis said it perfectly after italy were out of the WC "now you know why i fired him 2 weeks after hiring him" the only reason he got the Italy job is because lotito had signed him and wanted to sign Bielsa as coach so he offloaded Ventura to the Azzurri compliments of his friend Tavecchio so that he didn't have to buy out his contact and got him a pay hike in the process only for Bielsa refusing to coach Lazio in the end ! That is how Ventura got the job - I blame Lotito for this !!!
on the 14th November, 2018 at 8:34pm
Puh....@Paolo idk... Ventura at Milan ? I see the same results,maybe worse. tho I assume his rate now should be a modest $500 per game.
Guys a delusional piece of garbage. Did anyone believe he was gonna help Chievo? He was given chance to redeem himself in small way, coach a team equal to his talent / that could only go up and he failed and quit on them after 4 games.
Still blows my mind how FIGC gave him the job of leading la Nazionale.
on the 14th November, 2018 at 5:42am
I still picture De Rossi losing his temper urging Ventura's assistance to sub Insigne XD
Disastrous couch!
on the 14th November, 2018 at 3:33am
Still better than Gattuso...
on the 13th November, 2018 at 7:06pm
I didn't know a ton about Ventura when he was first named, but there seemed to be genuine excitement at his selection, and many people said he would finally bring the younger generation into the side. Even the first few results appeared positive... really sad how quickly all that turned around. Fingers crossed Mancini has a better go of it! I still believe Italy has enough talent to at least qualify for the major tournaments, and we should be good enough to get through group stages too.
on the 13th November, 2018 at 5:47pm
walk off into the sunset? more like ride off to hell
on the 13th November, 2018 at 2:22pm
I'm not defending him in any way what so ever. But, at least he tried introducing some new players to the Azzuri and we had some good 5-0 wins against sides that previous managers would still only get a 1-0 win. Saying that though, he was never going to be the right man for the job, tactically inept and as many others have said, 4-2-4 away to Spain? Come on man what are you doing. Shame he wasn't this quick to leave his Italy post!
on the 13th November, 2018 at 2:06pm
If Ventura ever was meant as a carefully picked candidate to coach a "weak" Italian side, I fail to see proof of that anywhere. It feels closer to a random available name picked after Conte's exit.

The failure to qualify is a problem from the top. There's no other bigger factor. Could the players have done better or Ventura suddenly became a master tactician at ~70? Maybe, but that'd take a miracle.

That said, his conduct speaks for itself. Shameful.
on the 13th November, 2018 at 2:00pm
So, he agreed to coach Chievo only for the compensation fee I assume.
At least he's already written in history of calcio .. as the worst coach ever existed.
on the 13th November, 2018 at 12:21pm
Lol he used the stupid 4-2-4 back in his serie B Bari days hello??? .. how the hell was that ever going to work against a Spanish side packed with 6 highly skilled midfielders ???
I swear this guy is either insane or has the onset of Dementia/Alzheimers!!!!
on the 13th November, 2018 at 12:05pm
He's an absolute disgrace not just as a coach but on a human level as well...full of excuses, never accepting responsibility due to his incompetence and utter stupidity. Hopefully this rat has been weeded out of Italian football once and for all!!!!
on the 13th November, 2018 at 11:04am
Dude managed only low level teams in his career and those experiences will never offer you the amount of pressure you need to sink in while managing the big club, which was shown in Italy's performances, if coach is afraid the players will also suffer, so it was not 4-2-4 against the Spain the biggest blunder, but choosing a-ventura in the first place.
on the 13th November, 2018 at 10:50am

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