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Naples (Italy) (AFP)
We expected him roaring and disheveled, like the player he was. But on the bench in Naples, Gennaro Gattuso proved to be a thoughtful and efficient coach, who won the respect of all.
After Naples’ victory against Juventus in the Italian Cup final, Corriere dello Sport presented Gattuso as “the real big surprise of the season”. And therein lies injustice. It’s as if everyone is surprised that Gattuso is good.
The former AC Milan midfielder had a convoluted coaching career against him, who before bringing him to San Paolo, took him through Sion, OFI Crete, Pisa or “his” Milan.
But there was especially the memory of his years as a player. The aggressiveness, the ardor, the anger, which earned him the nickname “ringhio” (roar, in French) and which made his career could they be useful on a sidelines?
The misunderstanding was there. Gattuso the coach is actually a distant relative of Gennaro the footballer.
In Naples, more than rage, he brought calm in a locker room traumatized by a disastrous half-season with Carlo Ancelotti, his former trainer in Milan.
– “In the teeth” –
He got lost players – Insigne, Maksimovic, Koulibaly – back on his feet and therefore won a title, eliminating Lazio Rome, Inter Milan and Juventus, which Maurizio Sarri and Ancelotti, infinitely more highly rated, for their career or their reputation as tacticians.
But where the coach Gattuso still looks like the player Gattuso, it is in his way of not taking himself for another.
On the field, “Rino” knew his importance in balancing the team, but he also knew that he would end up giving the ball to a teammate with better feet.
On the bench, Gattuso arrived without big speeches and never promised football-champagne. Tenacious, hardworking, humble, he did not give up on his value and his role in the success achieved.
“I went through Coverciano (where professional trainers are trained, editor’s note). I was not offered the diploma,” he reminded when he visited AC Milan.
Initially judged to be a failure, this Milanese trip, completed in 5th place at a point in 4th, has since been reassessed. Before him and after him, the others did worse and his successor, Marco Giampaolo, was sidelined after seven games.
“It’s a job that you don’t learn from books, but you take a bite out of your teeth. I had some failures and I will have many more,” said Gattuso.
– Fair and fair play –
Today, on the contrary, it is going through a period of success. Since the end of January, and after a difficult start, his team has had a good series of nine wins and two draws for a single defeat, in all competitions.
In addition to the Cup victory, Naples has hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Champions League (1-1 against Barcelona in 8th leg) and goes back to the Serie A ranking (6th).
This course is accompanied by a discourse always remarkable of accuracy and fair play. Demanding with his players, Gattuso protects them publicly and never says a word higher than the other on arbitration.
His aura of great player (world champion and double winner of the Champions League) also weighs. “Rino has been the most respected coach in the locker room since I’ve been there,” said chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis.
After the Cup victory, won a few days after the death of his little sister, Gattuso had given his vision of his place in football.
So there is still a bit of the Gattuso player in the Gattuso coach.
© 2020 AFP