Luciano Spalletti underlined his ambitions with Italy at the upcoming European Championship and he reflected on the recent Serie A betting scandal.

The 64-year-old Italian coach excited Azzurri fans when he took over the national team at the start of September last year following Roberto Mancini’s shock exit. Coming fresh off the back of his Scudetto win with Napoli, hopes are high that the coach can bring Italy back to glory after their recent World Cup heartbreak.

Spalletti succeeded in his first task in charge of Italy, securing a spot in the upcoming European Championship. With the Azzurri coming in as defending champions, a strong campaign is expected in Germany this summer.

Speaking on page two of today’s Gazzetta dello Sport, Spalletti first reflected on his first few months in charge of the national team.

“We earned qualification, and we deserved it. We were consistent in our choices and in playing proactive football, without ever abandoning that. But we have to be better at maintaining for the entire duration of the matches, we haven’t succeeded with that yet.”

He was asked why the team haven’t managed that yet.

“There were many different difficulties and overcoming them all with ease was not easy. Some on the pitch, where we faced strong teams like England and Ukraine. Some off the pitch, in three retreats, twice they came to get players from inside the camp.”

The Azzurri coach spoke about the difficulties of the recent Serie A betting scandal.

“It certainly was (most difficult moment, ed.), and it produced an important reaction from the group. Although I can’t understand why they decided to come and interview the players in the training camp and not perhaps at home in a more private and less traumatic moment for them.

“They had their cell phones and tablets taken away, where today the entire private life of the kids is. They experienced a feeling of precariousness and fragility.

“But it was a good thing that all this happened because it allowed them and those who were not finished in the investigation to get back on track and realize the mistakes and risks they run.

“When you take up the habit you lose the path to happiness, which is made up of roots, relationships, healthy things.”

Spalletti discussed how a national team coach is expected to discuss wider issues, like gambling addiction or the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“It is one of the aspects of my role that absorbs the most energy. I have the duty to be constantly informed about what is happening in the world and to transmit the right values and messages. It’s a big responsibility. It’s not enough to slip up and then end up in the pillory of social media.”

He commented on the responsibilities of this role at this stage of his life and career.

“It is the highest moment of my career and of my journey as a man. I am a very calm and damn good person, despite moments in the past that have made some people think otherwise.

“Of course, age has also smoothed out some corners of my character, but in the professional field I have always been extremely correct. And to achieve this I was sometimes forced to take positions that public opinion, fans or those judging from outside did not like.

“But inside the locker room my behaviour has always been correct and necessary to obtain team results.

“I want to hope that I have been entrusted with the role of coach, not only for my coaching skills, but also because as a man I can represent the national team of the most beautiful country in the world well.”

The Italy coach spoke about some key values needed in the national team, like respect and professionalism.

“Because it starts from there. That is the basis on which talent must then be added. Shirt, values, pride, responsibility, these are not words that I use at random, even if some must have thought so…

“Some players must’ve believed that Spalletti barks and then doesn’t have bite, but instead they are wrong and now there are some things that must be made clear. From now on they leave their PlayStations at home and no longer bring them.

“I’ll invent a little game for them to think about to distract themselves at night. They come to me, and I give them homework to do in the evening if the daytime homework wasn’t enough.

“Because in the national team you stay on track, concentrate, don’t mess around. I repeat the All-Blacks slogan, ‘No d*ckheads here’.”

Spalletti sent a clear message.

“I need to bring out a strong national team, I’m not satisfied with anything. I want to win the European Championship and then I want to win the World Cup. Then we can go out immediately, but the speeches I give to the team are those that all Italians expect.

“We go to Germany to win, not to participate. Our history requires it. To do that I need these players to become better than they are. I don’t have time to train them, we need something that gets inside them and lights a fire in them, makes their eyes widen, gives them the belief that they can do it.”

He felt that the psychological aspect was the difference maker.

“That’s what makes the difference. The team must be given certainties and motivations, not excuses and reasons. We lack nothing to compete with the best.”

The Azzurri coach spoke about the gap between his side and the top teams in Europe.

“I know that England, France, Spain and Germany are strong, but we can be at their level. But you don’t win with players who play well for just 20 minutes but with those who do a lot of things for 90 minutes.

“And that they are inside the game even if they come from the bench or if they are in the stands. Mental energy should not be wasted managing those who sulk. Because it takes energy away from preparing for matches and we can’t afford that.

“This is why we must choose proactive, reliable and enthusiastic guys. Anyone who doesn’t have these characteristics can stay at home, we don’t need them. I want a healthy group and to leave a mark in these three years, then I can even stop.”

He hinted at a new path after his Italy adventure.

“Maybe I will change role, because after Italy I will have difficulty being a coach again.”

Spalletti was asked what else players leave behind with their PlayStations and if mobile phones were allowed in the dressing room.

“I have to tolerate phones, but they cannot be kept on the massage table or during treatments. I talked about video games because there were things I DIDN’T like, and please write the ‘didn’t’ in capital letters.

“I want to revive the camps and retreats of the past, old habits and atmospheres. Simple and healthy things. And Buffon will help me in this. If modernity is playing the PlayStation until four in the morning when there is a match the next day, then this modernity is not good.

“We live in a world that gives little incentive to hard work and sweating things out, today’s kids prefer to put a photo on Instagram with their hair done rather than lowering their heads and working. These are not the values that my Italy must transmit.

“You come to the national team with laughing eyes and a beating heart and you are like a pack of wolves going in single file to push your teammate to the front and leave no one behind.

“The Italians ask for a badass and responsible national team, solid and bold. You come to the national team to win the European Championship, not to win in Call of Duty.”

He was asked if he was worried about the drop in form of various players at their clubs, like Federico Chiesa and Nicolo Zaniolo.

“I observe the difficulties, but in the national team some change tasks and performances. In any case, I have to be ready to swerve and find alternative solutions, I want to try the 3-4-2-1 to try to make some players more comfortable.

“Maintaining an offensive propensity, without always returning to five at the back when not in possession, creating balances that allow us to always play the game openly.”

The Italy coach discussed some of the players on the cusp of breaking into the team.

“Buongiorno is very strong, Bellanova is a force of nature, Calafiori is ready, Fabbian is a surprise, Gaetano is playing now, Folorunsho is a beast and then Cambiaso, Baldanzi, Lucca, Carnesecchi, Di Gregorio, Provedel…

“There may be new petals in the squad. The list is 23 but I will bring four or six more to the pre-call.”

He spoke about if Inter could win the Champions League this season.

“Yes, because they have everything, play, balance, compactness, maturity, unity of intent. Everyone helps each other, you don’t see wrong attitudes, angry gestures after a change or a mistake. They are a team. They train well and are very strong in the middle of the field.”

Spalletti commented on Davide Frattesi’s lack of consistent minutes.

“Yes, but I will have him fresher at the European Championships. He is someone who always fills the match well.”

He was asked why teams have struggled to win two titles in a row in recent years.

“More than an anomaly, I’d talk about a minimum common denominator between the two teams (Inter and Napoli, ed.) the absolute unity between the players. Everyone participates in common and individual joy.

“Perhaps the things that I don’t want to see in the national team happened to the opponents who could have fought with Inter, players who keep their attention high for 20 minutes instead of 90 minutes and don’t relate to the group.”

The coach commented on the suffering of the Napoli fans this campaign.

“I’ll tell you a moment that encompasses everything. I went to see Milan-Napoli, I was at the bar in the Lounge area, a child who was a Napoli fan started staring at me seven or eight meters away. When his father gave him permission, he ran to me and he clung to my legs, he was crying.

“I picked him up and he was still sobbing. I would have liked to ask dad for his phone number. If he is reading or someone knows him, I would really like to talk to that child who touched my heart.”

Spalletti discussed comments from Aurelio De Laurentiis regarding his departure from Napoli.

“Which of the De Laurentiis’ spoke? There are four or five of them around and I’m not referring to the children… There’s the grateful one, the melancholic one, the resentful one, the behind-the-scenes one.

“I wish him to reach the Club World Cup which guarantees enormous revenues, my hand is also in Napoli’s ranking.”

He spoke about the surprises of the season.

“In Bologna I see many things about my Napoli, they play European football. Overload around the ball and continuous exchange of positions while maintaining a team balance.

Atalanta are no longer a surprise, they have completed their journey, they are a mature, solid team. And then they have Koopmeiners.”

He revealed which team he always likes watching.

“Milan. They are probably the most chameleon-like among the top teams and their matches are always different. They know how to do a bit of everything, Pioli always manages to send a team that is competitive at a high level onto the pitch, enhancing the qualities of the entire squad.”

Finally, Spalletti responded to Daniele De Rossi’s quote that he was ‘Spalletti’s son’.

“He was very nice, and I thank him. The impression he conveys to me on the bench is that in addition to being the coach, he has kept alive the charisma of the captain he was, of the leader who dedicates himself to the team.

“His players perceive this and are giving it back to him on the pitch. Furthermore, he brought a change of mentality and game to Roma. It wasn’t easy in such a short time.”

2 thought on “Spalletti: ‘I want to win Euro 2024 with Italy, enough playing PlayStation’”
  1. When there is a betting scandal the Azzurri always have a chance in the Tournament. What happened in 1982 and 2006 WC tournaments. Both wins. If the Azzurri can find a reliable striker there is no reason why they cannot win the Euro in Germany.
    A win in their first game against Albania is crucial!

  2. italy must try a new keeper inn goal… Vacario and Provedel are the obvios choices.. Donnarumma has seemingly peaked and may be in decline.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *