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    Fdration Internationale de Football Association Since 1904

    SACCHIS LEGACYInterview with Arrigo Sacchi




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    6 Arrigo Sacchi

    Arrigo Sacchi was a man of action and a revolutionary in his field who managed to combine pragmatic defensive football with a more attractive, Dutch style of play at the end of the 1980s. Franchi met the 68-year-old Italian in his birthplace of Fusignano for an exclusive interview.

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    23 Sepp Blatter The U-20 World Cup once provided a spring-board for Maradona, Messi and Figo. One of FIFAs objectives is to make football accessible to people from all walks of life, the FIFA President says in his weekly column. Fiji and Myanmar will be among the nations contesting the title from 30 May. 16 Angel Di Maria

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    Sacchis legacyOur cover image shows Arrigo Sacchi on the AC Milan bench in March 1990. Two months later, he and his team won the European Cup for the second time.

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  • U N C O V E R E D

    There is an anecdote dating from 1989 that neatly encapsulates the com-plex and revolutionary work of Arrigo Sacchi. Ahead of that years Eu-ropean Cup semi-final, Real Madrid sent an observer to AC Milans train-ing camp with the intent of spying on the Italians and learning more about Sacchis successful tactics. The baffled delegate sparked great con-sternation on his return to Madrid, admitting that he had learned noth-

    ing from the coaching session and reporting that the former defender had set his players up to train 11 versus 0.

    Born in 1946, Arrigo Sacchi was an amateur footballer of average ability who plied his trade for home team Fusignano for many years before moving to Bellaria on the Adriatic. But after hanging up his boots, he discovered that he had a special flair for coaching. He learned quickly, and when Silvio Berlusco-ni brought him to giants AC Milan in 1987, it seemed as though he had come from nowhere. I was an unknown who knew hardly anyone in the football business, he later said. The fact that I didnt have a past helped me to make my way in that world.

    Even today, Sacchi occasionally appears at AC Milans training ground. This is usually a bad sign, as it means the outlook is sufficiently poor for the club to seek the 68-year-olds advice. One thing is certain: no coach has played a greater role in shaping the destiny of I Rossoneri than Sacchi, so our reporter Massimo Franchi travelled to the Italian province of Ravenna to meet him. Our exclusive interview begins on page six.

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    11 versus 0 with Arrigo

    4-2-4 formation Arrigo Sacchis opinion is highly regarded.


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  • Arrigo Sacchi, 68 At my age you have to do regular exercise.

    A R R I G O S A C C H I

    The creatorArrigo Sacchi shaped an era in football and his coaching style is still

    revered to this day. Here he talks about Italys outdated football, geniuses and coaches who think too much of themselves.

    Massimo Franchi, Fusignano


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  • A R R I G O S A C C H I

    Thats indicative of the state of our football. When one of our big stars goes overseas they quickly recognise how good they really are and how they are valued. Theres a huge difference. Even as little as ten years ago Italy was the best in Europe and always had teams fighting for the Champions League title. Today were in fourth place behind Spain, England and Germany and we need to be careful not to fall even further behind. We can already feel the closest pursuer hot on our heels.

    What kind of a sport is football?Football is an attacking sport, although you have to attack as a

    unit. Nowadays there is a lot more emphasis on team unity. After all, it is a team sport and not a game you play individually.

    What do you mean by that?A team with togetherness has synergy, but one without it does

    not have much. In order for that to be possible, all 11 players have to move as one, they have to keep the right distances between each other and lose their markers at the right time. At the back they also have to be well-positioned and mark their opponents. In short, all 11 players have to be active at all times, both in possession of the ball and without it. Thats the objective. Thats very difficult to do today, and was even harder a quarter of a century ago.

    That sounds like a lot of physical and mental effort is required...The opposite is true in fact: at AC Milan we never invested more

    energy than our opponents did. We always had greater stamina because when youre in possession you never really need to sprint further than about 15 metres, but when youre chasing the ball then you could be sprinting 40 metres. Its common knowledge that my boys could play for a long time. Paolo Maldini only retired when he was 41, as did Filippo Galli. [Alessandro] Costacurta was 39 when he hung up his boots, while [Franco] Baresi and [Mauro] Tassotti were both 37. The only one who had to stop earlier was Marco van Bas-ten, but that was because he had osteophytes.

    So you are saying the whole team shared the burden equally?Thats exactly right. I always put a lot of emphasis on a univer-

    sal kind of football. I always wanted to have a strong collective rather just having good individual players. So I trained the team with a view to making every single player better, instead of inte-grating individuals into the side.

    A rrigo Sacchi on 1 April you turn 69. What is an aver-age day for you like?Arrigo Sacchi: At my age you have to do regular exercise in order to stay fit. I get up, have break-fast, read the paper and watch the television. Then I do a bit of exercise, preferably riding my mountain bike. After lunch I take care of some personal matters, read a bit and then watch football on TV. Some-times, although not very often, I go to the stadium too. Occasional-ly, Mediaset [an Italian media company] invite me to be a pundit, especially for Champions League games. If theres no football on TV then I go out with my wife for dinner or to the theatre. In Fusignano theres an auditorium dedicated to one of our towns famous sons, Arcangelo Corelli, who was one of the greatest com-posers and violinists in the Baroque period towards the end of the 17th century and the start of the 18th.

    You have always been an admirer of art and culture...Yes, because football is also a kind of art, a spectacle, just like

    music, comedic poetry, dramaturgy and cinematics. But as the great Bertolt Brecht once said, if there is no script there is only improvisation and therefore only superficiality. Imagine a choir made up of 11 people, just like a football team and ten of them sing an aria from Aida perfectly while the 11th acts as he sees fit and sings something completely different. You can imagine how that would sound.

    Has football changed since you were a coach?It changes every day, just like life itself. You have to stay up-to-

    date and keep developing so that you dont get left behind. Stand-ing still is the same as going backwards. Football follows the devel-opment of society. Today we live in a global world and if you dont play a global kind of football then youre quickly left on the outside looking in. Modern football is fast a lot faster than it used to be not long ago. And if youre not quick in todays game then theres no room for you.

    Italian football also appears to have been left behind...That has a lot to do with our history. After the co