Alessandro Costacurta revealed a coffee with Italy CT Roberto Mancini was enough to understand ‘he was perfect’ for the rebirth of the Azzurri.
Italy brought home the European Championship this summer, the second Euros triumph in the history of the Azzurri, and CT Mancini has been praised for his work with the players since he took over in 2018.
Mancini’s men extended their run to 34 games unbeaten with win on penalties against England in the Final at Wembley to complete the turnaround from the disappointing World Cup 2018 qualifiers.
Giampiero Ventura’s Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup three years ago and Mancini had a big task in hand to bring the enthusiasm back, trusting the youth to rebuild the pride of the Azzurri.
Costacurta was the Vice-Chairman of Italy at the time of the appointment and revealed that a coffee with the former Zenit St Petersburg coach was enough to make up their mind.
“A choice almost by chance,” Costacurta said when donating the Azzurri shirt he wore at the 1994 World Cup, according to Tuttosport.
“Roberto was in Rome with Zenit, at the same hotel as me. Over a coffee we started talking and I immediately understood that he would be the ideal coach, who would give us the play and an international dimension.
“That he would take us out of the dark, even if I didn’t think that he would have succeeded up to this point.
“In my career, I have had the Leonardo da Vinci of coaches, Arrigo Sacchi: well, Mancini has the same courage and has shown it since his debut in Serie A.
“Roberto is a courageous man who embodies many values. It’s enough to see this Italy become champions without having absolute stars.
“We have a visionary [Federico] Chiesa that has show he can become a star. Then there’s [Gianluigi] Donnarumma, a true phenomenon, and the [Leonardo] Bonucci, [Giorgio] Chiellini and Jorginho triangle that proved decisive.”
Costacurta believes the Azzurri can now bring further joy over the next decade.
“This Italy can give joy for at least another 10 years, behind four or five elements who are no longer young, there’s a lot of material and Mancini knows how to draw from it, he knows perfectly all the players of the youth selections, even during that chat three years ago he started talking to me about the players who could have been fundamental to relaunch the national team, which is why I immediately had no doubt that he would be the right coach.”