Wednesday March 25 2020
Gilardino: 'Football will help push Italy on'

Pro Vercelli coach Alberto Gilardino thinks football “will be one of the many vehicles to push Italy forward” when the country comes out of quarantine.

The former Italy international retired from football in September 2018, after a stint at Spezia Calcio, but left behind an illustrious career at the top level, where he picked up a World Cup winners medal and the Champions League during his stint at Milan.

Gilardino was capped 57 times by Italy, contributing 19 goals in the process, helping Marcello Lippi claim the biggest prize in football a year after being voted Player of the Year in Italy.

The 37-year-old from Biella moved on to pastures new, becoming the assistant coach at Rezzato immediately after retiring as a player. He was promoted to head coach during the last 10 games of the last season and was picked up by Serie C side Pro Vercelli ahead of the current season.

Gilardino has admitted that the forced break and the current self-isolation has been tough to deal with but is sure the “mindset will change” after the suffering, to help Italy “get back up”.

“I was a footballer for 18 years and in the last two years I have started my coaching career,” he told La Stampa. “I’m not used to being still. I have always spent very little time at home.

“Italy stopping completely is surreal. The lads are training at home with specific programmes and it’s not easy.

“I express their positivity, I tell everyone not to worry and when we return to the pitch, we will make up for this period. Now we need to use our heads, stay at home and do what we need to do to keep the virus from spreading.

“Our mindset will change. This blow, from a human perspective, will have positive repercussions. In difficult times, Italy knows how to give its best and get back up. There will be a great desire to start again.”

Pro Vercelli are currently 14th in Serie C, four points above the relegation play-off places and the former Fiorentina forward has claimed that football at all levels will help Italy push on after the tough period.

“Football is one of the many vehicles that will push our Italy forward,” he said. “We need to remain positive and have a concrete goal for the future.

“It’s time to be grateful for those who make sacrifices everyday to treat the sick and prevent that Italy drowns.”

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