Should I start with stating the obvious importance football has in Italian cultural and social life? I don’t think so, since I’m sure you all know how and how much Italians can get completely nuts when it comes to football. Being a national pride, the italian know-how of the game had been jealously kept inside national borders until two decades ago, when foreign clubs started to employ italian trainers in order to speed up the growth of their own football movements. In twenty years many things have changed (above all: we are not cutting edge anymore, having been chased, catched and overtaken by the Spanish, the Brits and the Germans) but our peculiar way to talk about football has remained unchanged, and has been moreover exported succesfully (and most of the times amusingly) all over Europe.
Here follows a small chart of the most (in)famous press conferences or interviews given by Italian trainers abroad:
- Beppe Sannino (Watford). Ok, this one is quite classic, and actually reminds one of our past articles on Italian politicians speaking english. Just consider that usually you don’t need a Phd in foreign languages to become a football trainer and that Sannino is a (brilliant in so many ways) product of our “regional” football…
- Claudio Ranieri (Monaco). Roman by birth and Roma supporter, he was nicknamed by Lazio fans er macellaretto (literally “the little butcher”) because of his sudden losses of aplomb; this press conference, held while he was training french team Monaco, is his definitely best performance, reminding a classic sketch from italian comedian Totò.
- Roberto Mancini (Manchester City). The former Lazio and Sampdoria champion has always been famous both for his class and for his temper. Here’s an example.
- Paolo Di Canio (Swindon Town). Speaking of rants, here’s a real master. Paolo Di Canio, an idol for Lazio and West Ham supporters, has always been a controversial carachter: his shameful fascist salute after a roman derby and his reaction against a referee during a Sheffield Wednesday match are bright examples of a career littered with excessive and questionable behaviours. In this case, though, he seems to have a point…
- Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid). Ok, this guy is a legend (other than being the current Champions League holder), and the way he handles his lack of proficiency in French and English (even though he had been training in both countries, for Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain) makes him even more awesome.
- Alberto Malesani (Panathinaikos). Here we have a big one! Coach Alberto Malesani’s rants became memes through the interent community. His mollo un cazo (where mollo stands for Italian molle, meaning weak or soft, and well… even if misspelled, you definitely know what the second word means) is now a mantra, but in this press conference, held while he was training greek team Panathinaikos, he definitely gave his best.
- Giovanni Trapattoni (Bayern Munich). Another legend, and also the first important italian trainer to actually perform a full rant abroad. Even though the man was already famous for his very personal version of Italian Language, in this video he reaches perfection: the Trap, speaking in a twisted but yet effective German, accuses his players of not beign professional enough. But what makes this press conference absolutely epic is his pronunciation of the word Strunz: a player’s name in German, an insult in Italian.
Do you have any other name you’d like to add to this list? Then comment and share if you like!