La Gazzetta Interview: Marcello Lippi

Every week Football Italiano brings you a translation of one of la Gazzetta dello Sport’s interviews. This time it is the turn of Italy Coach Marcello Lippi…

Marcello Lippi

Lippi

“This is a fun, balanced, top quality championship. The Scudetto will go right to the wire. Serie A is back to being a point of reference in Europe”. Marcello Lippi talks about the first 9 weeks of the championship, starting with Napoli. A long-time love. “Reja’s team is exciting when they are in top gear. Lavezzi has become a complete player, Denis is the battering ram he used to be, and the midfielders are quality players like Hamsik, Gargano, Maggio, Blasi. Given that, why should Napoli lose the top spot? Moreover, if you add the San Paolo Effect… De Laurentis and Marino have been very good”.


On top of the list there is Udinese as well.

“Adding a brick every year. Adding quality young players to an already competitive group. Have you seen the strikers Marino has got? Di Natale, Pepe, Quagliarella, Floro Flores, Sanchez. It’s not easy to find something better in the world. Moreover Udinese have not played Obodo nor Zapata. During the last transfer season, the latter was requested by all the big clubs”.

Can Napoli or Udinese win the Scudetto?

“Yes, they can. Provided that they stay at the top till March. The Champions League leaves a deep mark in spring. Now, though, Reja and Marino are right saying that their only aim is to quickly get enough points to stay up”.


Milan overtook Inter.

“The Rossoneri are half a step ahead of their rivals. Not so much because of the table, but as they won’t be worn out by the Champions League. Milan are deadly when they have an aim. They want the Scudetto now, and it’s no coincidence that they hadn’t started the championship this well in ages”.


Ancelotti faltered after the first two defeats.

“Carlo had to build the team in a hurry because of the Olympic Games and the South American qualifications. It took only a month of work to give birth to the new Milan. Then finally the derby victory gave the last push”.


Ronaldinho and Kaka offer continuous magic.

“I like Gattuso’s power though. He’s a great player and a smashing lad. And Pirlo will be back soon”.


Somebody said his injury marked a turning point for Milan.

“Nonsense. Pirlo will give Milan another boost. He’s one of the greatest players in the world.


Juve went through a critical moment too.

“But the ‘Old Guard’ promptly sorted it out. Have you seen what Nedved created against Bologna? Juve were missing 11 regular players, but Pavel took the team by the hand and led it to victory. The old bianconeri dragons have something special in their DNA.They can slip up, but the next minute they’re standing again. Juve have got everything to win both the Scudetto and the Champions League”.


Amauri is the only one among the new that fits in perfectly.

“True. For now he’s the best buy. I’m following him closely”.


Inter instead are slowing up.

“Hold on. The problem is that anything related to Mourinho is magnified. It all becomes ‘-issimo’. This goes for his statements and, of course, for his results. Instead Mourinho is working well. He doesn’t care about dominating the championship now. He wants to take his Inter to the top in Spring, when also the Champions League will be decided, the trophy that all the Nerazzurro world longs to win. And don’t forget that the central defenders were missing before. And now he’s got loads of injured midfielders. But don’t call Inter ‘dead’.


Mourinho used the iron fist with Adriano.

“A coach can’t have his working methods spoilt by anyone”.


Has Roma’s spell at the top come to an end?

“They’ve been the unluckiest team. Loads of injuries, late purchases. Spalletti is like a tailor that made a wonderful dress. But that dress is a bit crumpled today. Roma can get higher in the league but need to be able to rely on all of their champions. I don’t think a spell has come to an end”.


Fiorentina are maturing well.

“Against Inter it was as if they had won, because they stayed competitive even without Gilardino and Mutu. A big proof of maturity. And with those two, Prandelli’s team will defeat Bayern in the Champions League, you’ll see”.


Italian football is going back to the seven sisters time.

“We talked about 7 clubs that can win the Scudetto. A sign of growth. A balance upwards, not downwards”.


And a useful sign for your national team too.

“Our football is giving birth to something new. In the last international call-ups I already forced things. And I’ve got more seeds to sew in my pocket. I’m thinking of Palladino, D’Agostino, Ferronetti, Esposito, Biagianti, and Galloppa too. All people I’m following. Many line-ups can gift us with some spectacular football. Genoa and Atalanta for example. And I was entertained by Zenga’s Catania as well”.


Maradona is Argentina’s new manager.

“I can already picture the Argentinian players hanging from his every word on the first day of training. Diego is seen as an oracle. Plus, I’m sure he’ll do a great job. Maradona will be able to get 101% from his players because he’s easily loved by his journey companions. Go and ask Napoli’s old players…”.

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