SARRI arrived Turin last summer with one of the most intriguing backgrounds in football. A former banker who for years combined working in amateur football with his day job as a foreign currency trader.
The international reputation he now enjoys has been built slowly & steadily from humble beginnings in the eight tier of Italian football, almost 30 years ago.
Aurelio Virgili – worked with him.
🗣️: “SARRI is someone who was way down there with huge potential & has managed to show everyone what he is capable of. If you go back in your mind and think where he was and what person he has become, it’s a fairy tale”.
“He was the same in banking as he is in sport; precise, a person who approaches everything in a scientific way”.
Luciano Innocenti – played as a striker for Sarri.
🗣️: “As our coach, Maurizio made a difference with his determination, his desire & hunger. He studies the game. He is always reading, watching, making notes. He lives for football”.
“He was very superstitious. I remember when we would be driving to a game in the car & he’d always light a cigarette when we were going round a particular corner in the road. He could also get angry and his team’s were BASTARD’S to play against.
Andrea Buset – played as a midfielder for Sarri at Faellese.
🗣️: “He had a number of different superstitions. Firstly there was the smoking. Nowadays you can’t smoke on the bench; back then you could. He would put one cigarette out & then light up another straight away”.
“And he also dressed in black. He only stopped that relatively recently – he dressed like that at all his old teams. It was his lucky colour”.
- Simone Simonti 🗣️: “We knew everything about our opponents, everything – technical details, tactics, information on individual players. For that time it was unthinkable that a coach at our level would have that amount of information on another team”.
“We played a 3-5-2, with zonal marking. At the time it was the dawn of zonal play, which in Italy began with ARRIGO SACCHI at AC Milan. It was a template, a mould for ‘SarriBall’. Twenty-five years ago we were already using the same tactics at corners & free-kicks that Maurizio has since brought up the leagues”.
The Big Breakthrough into Serie A
Fabrizio Corsi – Empoli’s president
🗣️: “Sarri is seen as the professor of the game, an expert who is closely followed by athletes & non-athletes”.
‘A HERO LIKE MARADONA’
Sarri moved to Napoli in 2015, finishing 2nd behind Juventus that year & 3rd the following year, then runners up again before he left for Chelsea in 2018.
Agostino Iaiunese runs L’ Antico Caffe Greco – a Napoli supporters bar in Sarri’s hometown Tuscany.
🗣️: “In Naples, Maurizio is viewed like Diego Maradona. He is seen as a leader. The people of Naples have a really strong bond with Maurizio”.
“His family lived right above this bar, this was his home. It’s a huge coincidence that this fan club is now here. He’s genuine & speaks his mind that’s why people took to him straight away. He is the only manager in the world who stopped a game because of discriminatory chants. He said: ‘Either you make them stop or I’ll take my team off the pitch’. That has never happened before”.
‘WE ARE VERY PROUD’
Amerigo Sarri – Maurizio’s father talked about his father’s incredible spirit of generosity.
🗣️: “During the World War || an American plane was shot down 5km from here two American’s were taken in by my father & we sheltered them for two & half months”.
Despite spending only one season at Chelsea, it was evident in the first few months what Sarri wanted to achieve & that landed him a first major silverware in ‘Top Flight Football’ [Europa League].
Having won his first Scudetto title last week; What a fitting end to a difficult & strange season it will be for SARRI & JUVENTUS if Sarriball wins the Champions League in Lisbon to end a 24-year wait for European Glory.
Credits: [BBC Sport]