Maurizio Sarri: ‘At Napoli, we lost the Scudetto in the hotel – I wanted to break something’


Maurizio Sarri says he wanted to break something when Napoli lost the title race against Juventus from their hotel. Speaking with Corriere della Sera, Sarri recounted his time at Napoli and explained how Juve’s win over Inter sapped the morale of his squad:

 You Can’t Stay Away from Football, Can You?

“Indeed not. When you feel the energy and the desire to be on the field growing, you can’t stay away. The first few weeks after leaving Lazio, I completely disconnected. I needed a mental break and was also dealing with family issues. Now I miss it, a lot.”

With the Coaching Carousel in Serie A, Did You Receive Any Calls?

“Not from Italian clubs, unfortunately. And honestly, it disappoints me a bit because there were vacant positions in teams that I thought could be a good fit for me. I wasn’t approached, not even for a chat. The presidents make the decisions, of course. But I deserved to be heard for at least fifteen minutes.”

Are You Referring to Milan and Fiorentina?

“They were two teams suitable for me, certainly.”

Do You Have an Explanation?

“There’s a focus on young coaches, which is fine. But experience remains valuable and shouldn’t be discarded. Just look at the ages of the coaches who won the Conference League, Europa League, and Champions League this year: 63, 66, and 65 years old. It’s not a coincidence. Of course, if no one reached out, it’s probably because I made mistakes too. It’s something I need to reflect on personally.”

Is It Because of the Labels Attributed to You Over the Years? Complaining Too Much?

“About crowded calendars and subpar pitches? Yes, I stand by that. Klopp and Guardiola have said the same, but no one commented. When Sarri complains, it’s a big deal. Let me ask you: would you get operated on by a surgeon with a rusty scalpel? Well, a footballer shouldn’t play on an unsuitable pitch.”

At Napoli, You Said You Lost the Scudetto in the Hotel, and There Too…

“You can laugh all you want, but that’s how it went. There was a blatant mistake, later acknowledged, by one of the best referees, Orsato, in Inter-Juventus. We were in a hotel retreat: I left my room furious, wanting to break everything, but I had to lift the spirits of the players. I saw them sitting on the hotel stairs, crying. It was already too late: we lost to Fiorentina, and the Scudetto went to Juve.”

Two Years Later, You Went to Juve and Won It There

“It was a journey of great suffering, with many family discussions. As a Napoli fan, I struggled. I shouldn’t have left Chelsea, that’s for sure.”

Is That the Mistake You Regret the Most?

“No doubt about it. There were good foundations to stay, and I made a big mistake. We won the Europa League, the project was great, but I wanted to return to Italy, unfortunately.”

Any Regrets?

“Perhaps Milan, I was very close, but they didn’t want me. Then Napoli came, the most intense experience of my career.”

Without Winning Titles…

“The most beautiful stories in football are the ones where you didn’t win. With De Laurentiis, I had a relationship that wasn’t always easy, but I’ll always thank him for giving me the chance to coach the team I supported as a child. I will buy a house in Naples.”

Is Antonio Conte the Right Man After Such a Disappointing Season?

“Napoli will need to undergo a transformation, change their style of play. The good thing is that Conte is very quick in these situations to instill his mentality. I don’t see them outside the top three. The positive from last year is that they lost ground but were and are a strong team.”

Leaving Lazio and the Money…

“The environment was stagnant, the team was sluggish.”

Your Football Is Identity-Driven, Modern Football Is Moving Towards Flexibility, How Do You Reconcile That?

“My teams need to have a clear identity, but you also need to train players to adapt to opponents. If not, I’d only be coaching myself.”

Will Spalletti Be Able to Restore Glory to the National Team at the Euros?

“Luciano Spalletti is an excellent coach, but he has little time. Generally speaking, people say the national team determines the future of football, but you spend too little time together to become truly strong. I will watch Italy out of affection.”

Would You Coach a National Team?

“As long as I feel the energy to be on the field every day, no.”

The Player Who Made You Most Proud

“At Napoli, almost all of them, from Koulibaly to Mertens to Insigne. At Chelsea, Hazard: we always argued, but he had his best season with me.”

Besides Figline, What Do You Do During the Day?

“I study.”

Half an Hour Together: One, Two, Five, Eight Cigarettes. Aren’t They Harmful, Sarri?

“My tests are fine.”


Serie A obsessive.