Farewell Carlo Mazzone, great coach


Farewell Carlo Mazzone, great coach

John Battistuzzi

It was easy to love the former Roma manager. Partly because he was never guilty of a sin that, at least in Italy, makes even good people unpleasant, winning, partly because of his lifestyle and life in football. He trained primarily in the provinces, achieved excellent results, but without any laurels.

Carlo Mazzone was a man who was easy to love. Partly because he was never guilty of that sin that, at least in Italy, makes even good people unpleasant, i.e. winning, partly because of his lifestyle and life of football: free range, like ball, not only Italian, until a few decades ago it was mostly a provincial story, at least in its main characters. Carlo Mazzone died today at the age of 86, the day Serie A was restarted for a new season without a favourite..

He was a character without wanting to be, or rather without forcing one. Someone who says things straight out, direct, as it is sometimes difficult to be. It was difficult then, in his time, and it is difficult today, when relationships and lack of regrets are qualities that every coach must have in order to continue to coach at a good level. Carlo Mazzone never set too many filters between brain and language, even if he sometimes spoke with a big accent: “Look, it’s better if you don’t say anything than if I speak…”. He left the sentence suspended, and everyone understood what needed to be understood. The rest is Romance words, colorful phrases and an extraordinary ability to be close, close, to the majority. First of all, the rest was accurate analysis, the ability to take responsibility, not to blame others – yes, sometimes referees, but you know that sooner or later in Italian football you always end up there.

Carlo Mazzone was able to analyze what was happening on the field, because he was a great coach. You don’t sit on the bench the most (792 times in Serie A, absolute record), if you’re not a great coach you won’t win third with a Fiorentina team that wasn’t third (it was 1976-1977), you won’t reach sixth place with Ascoli, twice fifth place with Roma, still far from a top team, you don’t get eighth place with newly promoted Brescia unless you are excellent coaches.

First of all, unconditional respect for champions cannot be achieved. Francesco Totti, Roberto Baggio and Andrea Pirlo always treated him with unconditional respect, they always defined him as one of the best coaches they had when Carletto Mazzone became, contrary to himself, above all a strange character, like a meme, the one that rushing under Atalanta’s mortacci curve, rather than a sophisticated technician who can sometimes foresee some of the tactical breakthroughs that would be lauded in later years. Pep Guardiola, Barcelona manager at the time, said: “My team represents an evolution, perhaps an extreme one, of the teachings that Carlo Mazzone gave during his time at Brescia. Tactically the coach was exceptional, I learned a lot from him during the year. one and a half times more than in all previous years. Mazzone replied indirectly that he learned more from him than from others, because “at that time he was more attentive, as he was getting old and had to think about changing jobs.”

Enzo Francescoli, an excellent attacking midfielder of the 1980s and 1990s, called him “special”. He explained, “In recent years, I have seen some tactical ‘inventions’ being praised. When I hear this, I remember my last year at Cagliari, how we played back then, and I smile. we played better, or if not better, at least we had fun and had fun.”

It was difficult to treat Carletto Mazzone badly, perhaps also because, although he had not coached since 2006, there was always someone who mentioned his name. At the stadiums where he trained, a choir performed in his honor from time to time. In the memories of footballers or former footballers, perhaps who became coaches or managers. And even in extravagant contexts, like when Will Smith said he supported Roma and was grateful to that “great Italian coach, Carlo Mazzone, for creating Totti”.

Carlo Mazzone did not hesitate to bet on Francesco Totti when he finally found himself on the bench for his Roma. “It was Boskov who made his debut, so it’s not my fault that Francesco made it to Serie A. I just made sure he played a little. He was young, very young, he had to be introduced slowly. The first year he played eight games with me, but I would have made him play many more, but at that time it was accepted. However, from the next season I got tired of waiting and deployed it often and willingly. something good, the right thing to do is to see. And Francesco is really something beautiful,” said Carlo Mazzone in 2010.

Carletto Mazzone was never afraid to launch real young players, he was never afraid at all. At least not in football. He talked, relaxed, argued, got angry and apologetic, and few people did, above all, he was always available and never the center of attention. If it was necessary to be on the sidelines, he did it willingly, if he was also a breakwater. He entertained on the field, even off it, with a joke. “Prince” Giuseppe Giannini, the symbol of Rome, who was “stunned” by the growth of Francesco Totti, said: “I argued with him many times, we said the most terrible things to each other. But always in his face. He was kind of a gentleman, a decent man.”

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