Exporting Italian football is an increasing phenomenon, and this is true above all if we take into consideration the presence of Italian coaches in foreign championships.
The number of Italian coaches in the top English league, the Premier League, for the 2016/2017 season immediately catches the eye. Here we can find some leading names, such as Antonio Conte, coach at Chelsea, Claudio Ranieri (sacked – February 2017), with Premier League champions Leicester, Walter Mazzarri heading Watford and Francesco Guidolin with Swansea (sacked – October 2016). In an interview in “Corriere dello Sport” on 7 September 2016 Roberto Mancini commented on the number of Italians in the Premier League, proudly stating that Italy exports quality worldwide and noting that seeing so many Italian coaches in such a patriotic country as England certainly makes you think.
In reality it should be no surprise that the Premier League feels the need for our coaches and that, therefore, taking up Mancini’s comment, it sets aside its nationalist fervour for the cause. Coaches such as Antonio Conte, winner of 3 consecutive Italian championships and 2 Italian Super Cups with Juventus (with which he made a mark internationally reaching the Europa League semi-final against Benfica) and winner of a Globe Soccer Award as best coach of the year in 2013, or Claudio Ranieri, who internationally won a UEFA Super Cup in 2004 with Valencia and has already been renamed King Claudio after the astonishing victory with Leicester in the Premier League last season, coaches who cannot fail to bring more quality to the English championship.
However, the presence of Italian coaches in the Premier League is hardly new. Roberto Mancini himself had already brought his brand of football to the top English league from 2009 to 2013 coaching Manchester City, with which he managed to win the FA Cup in 2010/2011 and the Premier League the following season.
Another star of the Italian coaching school who made his own contribution in England is Carlo Ancelotti, now the coach of Bayern Munich, who with Chelsea won both the Premier League and the FA Cup in 2009/2010. And Ancelotti is also the coach who internationally has done the most to raise the profile of Italian managers, winning 3 Champions Leagues and 3 UEFA Super Cups, with AC Milan in 2002/2003 and 2006/2007, and with Real Madrid in 2013/2014, and therefore equalling the record number of victories in the Champions League of his colleague Bob Paisley, and that of victories in the UEFA Super Cup by Pep Guardiola. All this without forgetting the fact that with AC Milan in 2007 and with Real Madrid in 2014 he also managed to win two Club World Cups, also winning two Globe Soccer Awards in 2014, one as Best Coach of the year and the other as the Best Media Attraction. Ancelotti has won titles in Italy, England, France, and Spain and is gearing up to do so in Germany with Bayern, and so would become the first coach in the world to have won the Grand Slam of football, winning in the 5 championships which count.
The growing presence of Italian coaches in the Premier League is bringing some important changes which will probably make English football even more spectacular, a game which has always been focussed on the physical strength of the players rather than on tactics. Italian coaches take a different approach and base their play on studying the opposition and in the consequent construction of a style of play to minimise any risk of conceding a goal and to maximise the possibilities of attacking and scoring at minimum risk. It is thus likely that in coming years we will be able to admire in English football a perfect mix of tactics and physical prowess which will draw even more attention to the richest and most widely followed championship in the world.
Besides the 4 coaches in the Premier League, English football can also count on two other famous names, Walter Zenga and Roberto Di Matteo (sacked – October 2016), respectively the coaches of Wolverhampton and Aston Villa, two teams that play in the Championship, the second tier league in England. Of these two Roberto Di Matteo can already boast a decidedly interesting past in English football given that with Chelsea he won the FA Cup and the Champions League in 2011-2012.
If we then add to the Italian coaches the presence of coaches such as Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool, Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, and Mourinho at Manchester United, all with great technical and tactical experience, the question becomes even more interesting. If we think that Klopp in the past has had two major successes, bringing Mainz from the Zweite League to the Bundes League, going on to compete in the UEFA Cup, and raising the fortunes of Borussia Dortmund between 2008 and 2015; Guardiola has succeeded in bringing his innovations and teachings on football to clubs such as Barcelona and Bayern Munich (in 2013 winning two Globe Soccer Awards, one as a career award and one as the best media attraction); and Mourinho (who also won two Globe Soccer Awards in 2012 as best coach of the year and best media attraction) has never finished lower than third in all the championships he has taken part in right from the start, it seems clear that Premier League football is quickly on the way up and, starting this season, exponential growth in the spectacle and entertainment it offers is expected.
In addition, the record-breaking cash generation of the Premier League (ten billion euro to be split among the 20 clubs) has made this tournament the most competitive and difficult to win in international football. It is no coincidence that 4 coaches out of 20 have already taken home a Globe Soccer Award, the equivalent of the Ballon d’Or for coaches, and a fifth, Claudio Ranieri, could well be in the running this year, with the various coaches who achieved important objectives over the last season, such as Zidane, Allegri, Fernando Santos and Unai Emery, for the 2016 Award.