The 32nd edition of the prestigious Panchina d’Oro, celebrating the best coaches of the past season, took place today at the Coverciano technical center. Among the awardees was Luciano Spalletti, now the head coach of the Italian National Team following his successful stint with Napoli, which led to a Serie A title.
Spalletti secured the top honor with 42 votes from the 61 participating coaches. Simone Inzaghi of Inter claimed the second spot with six votes, while Stefano Pioli of Milan secured the third position with three votes, having won the award the previous year.
During the ceremony, Spalletti expressed gratitude and humility for the recognition, stating, “I don’t want more Panchine d’Oro; these are already too many. I hope that this award can also be won by excellent colleagues who haven’t had the chance to showcase their quality. I need to thank those who allowed me to win this award, from the players to the executives like Giuntoli, and the club led by Aurelio De Laurentiis.”
Reflecting on the improvements in his coaching journey, Spalletti remarked, “I don’t know where I can be improved, but I’ve always woken up early in the morning, never stayed in bed. I’ve dedicated all my time to football, and perhaps that’s the key. Trying new things, continuous evolution, learning from others, fixing things done by others, and putting them in the right places.”
Speaking about the upcoming UEFA European Championship, Spalletti shared, “I’ve been thinking about it since the moment Gravina called me to become the national team coach. I must try to make available what I have, be better than what I am, and dedicate my time to that thought. I can’t make promises of any kind, but I’m convinced that our players will show what everyone expects, instilling a bit of fear in others. Within competitions, we, as Italy, manage to endure this force for the history we have, for the players who have worn the Azzurri jersey before.”
Regarding the issue of a center-forward, Spalletti suggested, “I would put Kean in; he has shown to be a strong player. It becomes fundamental to have players who can play other roles within these call-ups. It becomes essential not to hear that this player, if in condition, can solve the game alone. I need certainties; those who need to be stimulated can stay at home. I don’t stimulate anyone. If I take people and then have to stimulate them, it means I made a mistake in calling that person.”
On the significance of the Inter-Juventus match, Spalletti anticipated, “I expect a beautiful game, a change when I started in this profession, there were situations and matches that created fear and apprehension. The match that makes your blood boil is the one you have the courage to overturn all the thoughts that come to you.”
In conclusion, Spalletti emphasized the growth of Italian football, stating, “The Italian championship receives from any game. If one wants to take the beautiful stories in football, in the championship, there are many, taking moments from the matches and contributing to growth. In this, we are perfect; then there are other stories where we want to remain those who experience defeats as if it were the end of the world.”