Gattuso clears doubts as coach


He was expected to be fierce and charismatic, as in his stage as a player. But on the Naples bench, Gennaro Gattuso has revealed himself as a thoughtful and effective coach, who has earned everyone’s respect.

After the victory of Naples over Juventus in the penalty shootout (4-2 after a 0-0 draw) of the Italian Cup final on June 17, Corriere della Sera presented Gattuso as “the real great surprise of the season. “

The tone was almost as if everyone had been surprised that Gattuso responded so well as a coach.

The former AC Milan midfielder had until now a somewhat erratic journey as a coach, after passing through the Swiss Sion, the Greek OFI Crete and two teams in Italy, Pisa and especially ‘his’ Milan.

But his footprint in football is known not for those experiences as a coach, but for his years as a player, with his talent and expressiveness, not without great anger. He earned the nickname ‘Ringhio’ (Roar).

Coach Gattuso seems a distant relative of footballer Gattuso.

In Naples, rather than anger, what he seems to bring to the dressing room is calm, before a squad wounded in his pride by a disastrous start to the season, which ended with the departure of Carlo Ancelotti, who was Gattuso’s coach at Milan.

– Team man –

Gattuso, who arrived at the Naples bench in December, has managed to recover players in low hours (Lorenzo Insigne, Nikola Maksimovic, Kalidou Koulibaly) and above all has won a title, that of the ‘Coppa’, eliminating on the way to the Lazio, Inter Milan and Juventus.

In what the coach Gattuso does resemble the player is in his conception of a team, on behalf of a group.

On the field, ‘Rino’ knew his importance in the team’s balance, but he also knew that he would end up giving the ball to a teammate with more skill in the feet. I knew its qualities, its strengths and its possible weaknesses.

On the bench, Gattuso arrived without great speeches and without promising ‘nice game’. But he did land with humility and a desire to work.

“I went through Coverciano (where professional coaches are trained in Italy). They haven’t given me the diploma,” he recalled in his time as Milan coach.

That first stage, which was initially considered unsuccessful, later improved with a fifth place, one point from fourth place in Serie A.

“It is a profession that is not learned in books, but rather by receiving blows to the teeth. I have had some failures and I will have others,” Gattuso explained.

– ‘Fair play’ –

Now you are living a sweeter moment. Since the end of January and after some difficult starts at San Paolo, Napoli have had a winning streak of nine victories, two draws and one defeat, taking into account all competitions.

In addition to the Italian Cup title, Napoli still hopes to qualify for the Champions League quarterfinals (1-1 in the first leg of the second leg against Barcelona), when the tournament resumes in August. And in the Serie A classification, he has gone up to sixth place.

This trajectory is accompanied by a speech that advocates for justice and fair play. While being fair to his players, Gattuso protects them publicly and never says a word louder than another about arbitration.

His aura as a great player (world champion with Azzurra and twice winner in the Champions League) also weighs.

“Rino is the most respected coach in the dressing room since I’ve been here,” said Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

After the title in the ‘Coppa’, conquered a few days after the death of his little sister, Gattuso shared his vision of football.

“It is evident that soccer has given me much more than what I have given him. For me, this is serious work, which I do with great passion. I know that I cannot relax for even a second,” he assured.

stt / fio / dr / mcd / psr