Inter Coach Andrea Stramaccioni reveals how he felt when his playing career was cut short, the road to the Nerazzurri bench and why Javier Zanetti is “not human.”
The 36-year-old tactician is, like Jose Mourinho and Arrigo Sacchi, a man who never got to play in the top flight and became a Coach very young.
“Ending my playing career due to injury was the saddest moment of my young life,” he told Sette.
“It was as if in a single moment everything had been destroyed – my dreams of playing in Serie A, but above all of playing professional football. To this day when I kick the ball a few times my knee swells up.
“I put on 15kg as I was so depressed. I was only helped out of that dark time by my family and my studies.
“My small message that I can send is that even in Italy a Coach who was not a famous player, nor related to a star, can reach a big club. ‘You made it coming from nothing’ is the greatest compliment I can receive.
“I have always tended to spot which players can change roles. I worked at the very bottom of the rung and was also a talent scout for professional clubs, all of which helped me.”
Stramaccioni also spoke about his current Inter squad, such as 39-year-old captain Zanetti and striker Antonio Cassano.
“Zanetti is not human – he is beyond human. He’s the first to arrive at training and the last to finish, then he stops to perform preventative exercises. This is the secret of his ability to play, after 20 years, every game as if it were his first or his last for Inter.
“As for Cassano, we speak the same language, that of the streets, the way you earn respect in front of your house.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!