Rivera: “Milan can win the second star, I hope the disappointments of Inter and Juve continue as a Milanista , the #10…” | OneFootball

Rivera: “Milan can win the second star, I hope the disappointments of Inter and Juve continue as a Milanista , the #10…”

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Gianni Rivera during Milan’s 120th anniversary party on December 15, 2019. (@acmilan.com)

Gianni Rivera is getting ready for the new season and he hopes Juve and Inter will continue to disappoint.

The man who attached the first star to the sky of San Siro is waiting for the 2nd one. Gianni Rivera, the Captain of the 10th Scudetto of the Rossoneri, believes that Milan can do it again.

The first Ballon d’Or winner in the history of Milan (1969) spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Luca Bianchin ahead of the new season that starts tonight (18:30 CEST).

Milan is chasing a star, it resembles 1978. Can they do it? “Milan can win again, of course. In May they celebrated with merit, with the recognition shared between the Club, Coach and players. In the summer, then, it doesn’t feel to me that the team fell apart…”

Does Scudetto of the star bring a special emotion? “Every victory has a meaning. As for Milan, this second star could have come sooner but something obviously went wrong.”

Gianni Rivera during the Italian Football Federation Panchine D’Oro E D’Argento Prize at Coverciano on March 26, 2018. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

This is the Saturday of predictions: for Rivera, who will win? “The beauty of Calcio is, that before playing, you don’t know anything, even though everyone makes predictions. It’s like saying it’s going to rain tomorrow when it’s sunny outside…”

Inter and Juventus, however, are important candidates, even if they come off a disappointment… “And I, as a Milanista, hope these disappointments continue…”

The feeling is that a lot, for Juventus, depends on Allegri, who is often either hated or loved. Which side is Rivera on? “Look, for me the coaches are all the same. Rocco and Liedholm were the best because, although they were different, they reasoned in the same way, without being protagonists.”



Sorry, but why are they ‘all the same’? Coaches have ideas and personalities. You, for example, live in Rome. Do you like Mourinho? “Mourinho doesn’t step on the pitch, that’s what I mean. And to judge a coach, I need to know him. To me, however, he seems like a coach who sometimes wins and sometimes loses.”

Like everyone, or almost everyone… “Ancelotti always wins. Everywhere he goes. He is remarkable.”

Nereo Rocco in November 1978 said: ‘When Rivera stops, I see him suited as an English-style General Manager: he has the qualities because he knows how to talk to the players’. A Coach Rivera, however, has never been seen… “The last word is not said. I have a professional coaching badge, I’m doing well in my life but I would like to return to football.”

As a director or as a coach? “Even as a coach at almost 80-years-old, why not? After all, a coach doesn’t have to run…”

Gianni Rivera during the Panchina D’Oro Prize award at Centro Tecnico Federale di Coverciano on February 3, 2020. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

For equal measure, also a quite from Liedholm: ‘Rivera has an innate sense of leadership’. Players now have less personality, don’t you think? “We had more courage, yes. If there was something to say, we would end up saying it. Now not.”

The nearly 300 Serie A players who declared their [political] vote in 1976 come to mind. As a former Member of Parliament, what is the relationship between football and politics? “They are parallels: footballs and politicians never expose themselves. In fact, politicians sometimes do but, if it’s necessary for convenience, they take it all back.”

So, this Italy of Calcio, from what must it start again? “From young players. Maybe there are too many foreigners, for sure we need to focus on the youngsters. It’s not true that Champions are no longer being born. I’ve created an academy, which I also talk about on my website – giannirivera.it. We will start in June and it will be a traveling academy, with Calabria being the first stop. We will have former players like [Angelo] Sormani and [Giancarlo] De Sisti, as well as some referees.”

Why referees? “Because I’ve seen young referees getting attacked and it’s not possible. Before technique, we need to start again with ethics.”

Gianni Rivera poses for a photo during talian Football Federation Hall Of Fame on April 9, 2018. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Something about technique, however, can be said. Do you like today’s number 10s? “Today I don’t watch much football but I realized that number 10s do not exist anymore. I realized this when I saw a goalkeeper with my number…”

But are there players who convey an emotion? “I don’t want to talk about individuals but yes, there are. Every era conveys emotion, otherwise the stadiums would be empty. Today, however, we almost always play all squashed in one half of the field. Fortunately in the second half the players get a little tired so you can see some technique. Oh, one more thing: I don’t understand the way the kick-off is done: everyone plays the ball backwards. If we had done it in Mexico, I wouldn’t have scored the 4-3 against Germany.”

In short, it was better in the past… “The level of my time is no longer there. I feel like we see less and less of a Pelé, of a Maradona. Maybe even of a Rivera…”

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