Luciano Spalletti: ‘Bologna remind me of my Napoli’


Italy coach Luciano Spalletti shared some insights on his management of the national team and explained why Bologna remind him of his own Napoli side. Speaking with Il Corriere della Sera, Spalletti talked about his management style, what he expects of his players ahead of the EURO’s and the Italian teams he enjoyed watching this season:

How do you keep a locker room together where different cultures and religions persist?

“By connecting on the same wavelength, all equal in a context where we must give strength to each other. Convincing each other to be strong, motivated, and always on point. Sport is essentially integration, and the example can and must start with us. Diversity is a value, it makes us grow. It shapes us, opens up horizons.”

You often say we are all brothers: what do you mean?

“I tell my players: in front of the locker room, there is a virtual piggy bank where everyone puts in what they have and can give. Recovering a lost ball can be worth as much as a goal. That’s how you win, that’s how relationships are born. I remember Totti’s happy face when I was at Roma and the whole team went to see him in the hospital.”

Then you had a falling out, though.

“When we saw each other again after years, we hugged. I look at people in the eyes, in their posture. I assure you we found each other again, the foundations of our relationship are strong.”

What does the National Team jersey have that others don’t?

“It’s the most beautiful and important in the world, the first skin for a player. It must be worn with pride and conviction. With dignity and humanity. In our National Team, everyone must be on the same level, no one should feel powerful. We all start from past defeats, they are what shape us. Victory is beautiful, it makes you cool, but if it remains an end in itself, it becomes a vice. From the depression of a defeat, one is reborn.”

Can Italy truly compete with the big European teams? England, France, Germany?

“We must do it, but we still need to work on it. What we have shown so far is not enough. We have technical and also human qualities, and let it be clear: they count equally.”

Scamacca has been reborn, do his reprimands about video games have anything to do with it?

“The credit goes to Gasperini who coaches him. If I somehow urged him to react, I’m happy, that’s my goal. Technology is important but it needs to be contextualized. We must stay connected with each other, even in downtime. It’s the details that make the difference, always. Those ten days we’ll spend together before leaving will be the most important.”

Will you call up the number 10s Baggio, Antognoni, Totti, Del Piero in those days?

“Add Rivera as well, and I do it for myself. He is the number 10 of my era… They will give us their experience, tell us about their trophies. They will inspire us.”

The Italian team you liked the most.

“Aside from Inter, which deservedly won the league title, Bologna. It reminds me of Napoli. Beautiful play, and there’s friendship, brotherhood within the group. That’s how you win, too.”

Will Milan let go of Pioli, in your opinion?

“Pioli is an excellent coach and above all a man with great human qualities, he has depth. He has done well for Milan in these three years. I don’t get involved in internal dynamics.”

What happened to Napoli instead?

“You don’t usually change three coaches in five years. How do you assimilate so much in a few months from men who have different methods and characters? Players sometimes need to be comforted, convinced of their strength. It takes very little to demotivate them. Young guys like Zirkzee, Kvara, for example, need to be nurtured, defended, and supported every day.”

Of Lorenzo, Raspadori, Meret: will you call them up with the same conviction?

“I evaluate comprehensively, not the season or the last few months.” How much does luck matter in football? A lot, it comes if you deserve it. If you know how to seize it. Real Madrid in the Champions League final is proof. Carlo was lucky against Bayern, there were some refereeing mistakes. But it doesn’t take away anything from the victory, they believed in it.”

Your greatest luck?

“Mom and wife. Without their strength, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere.”

The pain…

“I lost my brother Marcello, a rock. And my father Carlo, even stronger. Nothing else can touch me.”


Serie A obsessive.