Home » Del Piero gives lessons in the Bronx. «Me as a coach? I’m finishing studying” – breaking latest news

Del Piero gives lessons in the Bronx. «Me as a coach? I’m finishing studying” – breaking latest news

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Del Piero gives lessons in the Bronx.  «Me as a coach?  I’m finishing studying” – breaking latest news

by Massimo Gaggi

In New York to inaugurate a Lega Calcio school, former world champion Alex Del Piero explains: «The priority is my children, but new challenges stimulate, I like to keep myself busy»

NEW YORK – «Who was better Baresi or Baggio?». Alessandro Del Piero looks between surprised and pleased at Arthur, an African-American boy from the Bronx with a historical knowledge of Italian football: «A difficult comparison, different roles. I really liked Baggio’s imagination, but Baresi was a rock, like Maldini and other great defenders, not just Italians: Thuram, Desailly.”

Girls and boys, blacks and Hispanics of the football school created by the Italian League of Serie A in the field of PS 55 Benjamin Franklin, a public school in the most difficult neighborhood of New York, get excited at every name. They ask him about his absolute idol: «Platini!». «But what, a Frenchman?».

They want to know everything about his victories while Luc Menard, a gigantic former Red Bulls player who exchanged a few dribbles with him and then lifted him like a twig, shouts in Spanish: «Ganó la copa de oro mundial!». The Juventus and national team champion who now lives in Madrid but has a restaurant and a football school in Los Angeles, came to New York to receive the annual award from the Scuola d’Italia. Welcomed at the gala, of which he was the guest of honour, by the Italian consul Fabrizio Di Michele, by the president of the School, Michael Cascianelli, and by the president of the institute, Massimo D’Angelo.

But now his full immersion is among the young people of a poor neighborhood who are looking for a better future in school and football. They ask for advice and he doesn’t hold back: «Work hard without looking for shortcuts, don’t be afraid of making mistakes: making mistakes, and I’ve made many, helps you grow. Also knowing how to recognize them. Making sport a way of life. Never back down from challenges, but they must be faced with respect, learning to take on one’s responsibilities.”

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This is the second school created by the Serie A League after the one in a Hispanic neighborhood of Miami (sponsor Puma and testimonial Pulisic). It is part of the brand’s expansion policy in the USA which also includes, says marketing director Michele Ciccarese, the Serie A Elite, a program that this summer will bring Italian coaches to coach kids from 24 cities in the United States for three days.

In the car, as we return to Manhattan, and while the updates of the 0-0 draw in the Juve-Toro derby arrive on the mobile phone, Del Piero talks about what he is doing and the prestige of Italian football: «With the 2006 World Cup we were at the top, then the image collapsed. Now we are rebuilding it. It is slow work, which must be done at various levels. And the results help: Atalanta’s exciting victory in Liverpool, but also the fact that we had Italians in the final last year in all the European cups: now we are first in the UEFA rankings.”

I ask him if, after the approach from Los Angeles to Madrid, the next stop will be the return to Italy. I try to tease him: «In 2008 you closed your last match for the national team with an assist for De Rossi against Georgia. A goal that earned us qualification, if I remember correctly. It is said that you will return as a manager: you now have various entrepreneurial activities, from catering to football to wine. In the past also a racing car team. But, seeing De Rossi and Thiago Motta, doesn’t it make you want to be on the bench?”.

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Del Piero doesn’t take refuge in mincing words: «Let’s see. It’s a journey I’m on. I’m studying to be a coach, I am in the last year of UEFA Pro: I will have the last internship of the course in the summer and if I pass it (smiles, ed.) I will become a 360 degree coach and not just for some categories. I did this regardless. I wanted to complete a journey: in terms of football experience, I had that as a footballer, for seven years I have been doing journalism, and not only that, behind the cameras. Indeed in front of the cameras but behind the scenes. Everything related to sport and media: post-match, analysis, etc. And now the path grows with a different experience, learning to see things from the coach’s perspective. Already in these courses you immerse yourself in a different perspective. Regardless of the maturation you have over the years, it is important to deal with certain people, discuss every month with a different coach: the next one will be Carlo Ancelotti, who I also know quite well. He also serves to understand if your future can be on the field again. But I also like the managerial profile. I have already been involved on various fronts, as you said, from vineyards to motor racing. They are experiences. Sometimes they go well, sometimes you get some good hits. New challenges stimulate, I like to keep busy. But priority goes to my three boys: they are now teenagers, they all play football, even my daughter. We’ll see what the future holds.” In Juventus? “Come on, let’s not fall into the banal.”

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April 14, 2024 (changed April 14, 2024 | 00:02)

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