Tomorrow Pippo will debut on the bench with Allievi Nazionali: “Pazzini is the forward I was missing”.
It’s fate, Filippo Inzaghi will debut as manager of Allievi Nazionali. Tomorrow is 9th September and 9 is the number that describes better his red and black career: 9 like the number on his jersey in which he scored for 11 seasons, 126 goals (the total is 9) and 2007 (7+2=9), that is best year, the one of 5 goals in 3 finals (Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Supercup), the only player doing it. Tomorrow Inzaghi restart without 9 on his back but with the same will he had when was sprinting in almost offside. He’ll debut in Vismara against Bologna, with his usual cortege of “inzaghini”: even on training pitch there were many people who came only for him. A woman who has followed him for years shows with pride a shirt with the writing: “Grazie Pippo”. Whistle, football kit and cleats: Inzaghi is perfectly identified with his new role, yet seeing him beside Paolo Maldini, who like any other dad came to pick up his sons Daniel and Christian (one of Inzaghi’s Allievi), makes you feel nostalgic. “I saw the support we had – Pippo says – in the matches played until now and I was struck. Guys are not used to it, I hope public will help us.”
What’s the hardest thing as football manager?
Saying to a guy he doesn’t play or he isn’t called up. Now I understand that for a manager is always hard leave out someone. Selections make me uncomfortable because I know what’s the felling when you don’t play.
And the most beautiful one?
Seeing how guys follow me and how much they improved in so little time. Filippo Galli and Renzo Ulivieri made me the most beautiful compliment after Previdi tournament, they said: “On the pitch we saw a team”. We lost the final with penalties against Roma but I’m satisfied. We hope to begin well with Bologna.
How is Inzaghi on the bench?
Quiet, more than when I used to play. I didn’t think I would have been able to stay this calm. I have to communicate serenity, it’s important for the boys.
And if someone like Ibrahimovic arrives, an hot-head, how would you handle him?
(smiles) Ibra is a good guy, I know him well… I’ll try to be honest above all. A manager gains the respect of players when has the courage to say things to your face. I was bothered only by managers who weren’t clear with me. So I’ll try to not make this mistake.
On Saturday will you go on withdrawal like when you were a player?
Not on withdrawal, but I introduced a little novelty: we’ll meet all together to have lunch, to team up. It was one of my desires and the club satisfied me.
Let’s talk about Milan: did you see the first two matches of Serie A?
I saw the match against Bologna and luckily Milan recovered, but I always believed in this team. Many senators went away, but there are still player from the old guard like Abate, Abbiati, Bonera, Ambrosini and Antonini, they are serious and they’re able to drag others.
The team has strengthen with Pazzini, Bojan, De Jong and Niang and Galliani said now you play in order to win. Do you think the gap with Juventus has been filled?
Juve is still favoured but Milan can compete. I hope they’ll do like black and white a year ago, they weren’t favoured but with a great manager they won the scudetto.
Pazzini in Bologna scored two goals like Inzaghi, like a proper forward. Are you happy with his coming?
A lot, I hope he arrived because according to me he was the forward who was missing: without Ibrahimovic only someone with his features is able to score those goals. Giampaolo and me know very well, we called each other before the signing, he was psyched up. I’m not surprised he started so well. He has instinct, sees the goal and has a strong mind: this year he can score 15-20 goals. He arrived in Milan at 28 years old, like me. I hope he’ll have the same luck.
But the 4-3-1-2 is ideal to get on?
During my career I never cared about plans, but it’s true that some Milans helped me: with wngs and striker I played better.
Bojan introduced himself saying “I was crazy for Inzaghi”.
Another excellent signing. I met him two years ago, I was in Barcelona in the hospital and he came with a friend of mine: he wanted to meet me. Since that time we often speak.
Falcao, after his hat-trick in Supercup, defined you has his model since always.
It’s a pleasure to read these things, it means I made something good… Radamel now is the strongest forward and he’s used to score in finals. Last year he asked my jersey and I gave it to him through Yepes.
Milan in Europe: the Champions League group seems affordable.
You know, with this group I wish I could have been able to chase Raul…