The prophet of Fusignano. As Arrigo Sacchi has divided the football world into before and after

World history knows three of the football revolution:

First – Holland-1974, when a team of Rinus Michels showed the world the concept of collective (or as we used to say total) football.

The second Milan of Arrigo Sacchi in 1990-ies. Refusal Libero, compact collective team with reasonable universalization, all of the same ideas of total football Michels in the attack (Sacchi made no secret that it took a lot of notes Michels), but a very different approach to the game without the ball. Sacchi gave his interpretation and promoted the game even further. Key word – synchronicity.

The Third “Barcelona” Guardiola 2009-2011. The team that showed and taught us that to possess the ball 70+ % is the norm. And dominate through possession was for a decade the main trend. PEP influenced the game at the stage when it seemed that nothing new could be invented. He reinterpreted the iconic 4-3-3 in a new way.

Of course, the origins of philosophy in all three cases related, although differences too much. But more on that below.

The guy with the Shoe factory has won Silvio Berlusconi

Sacchi never played football at a professional level. Sort of Nagelmann the late 80’s-early 90’s. of Course, this Sacchi once at the press conference will not stand the scorn of journalists, will freak out and say, “Look, to be a jockey before that, do not have to be a horse”.

The path of the great Italian started from the bottom: first “Rimini” Series C1, then in Coverciano courses, specialty “Manager of the youth sector”, then the position of the curator of the youth teams, Fiorentina. At first Arrigo combined coaching position with the family business – a Shoe factory. But fate was destined the other way.

In 1985 had the opportunity to work in a series of S1 – “Parma” was in need of a young professional. Many people recommend the sports Director of “parmesana” to pay attention to the perspective of a guy who thought globally, outside the box and had a very ideological idea about the game.

Parma in the late ‘ 80s – a city of possibilities. The heyday of capitalism, the opportunity to earn and concern “Parmalat”. For a complete happiness was to have a football representation in the top division. Sacchi gave the little town an opportunity to play in Serie B. moreover, in parallel in the Cup “Parma” twice defeated “Milan” to “San Siro”. In a beautiful, bright key. The then President of “Milan” Signor Silvio Berlusconi has eyes for the young trainer. Soon after they met, he realized that with this person it is possible to create something big. In the Milan of Arrigo landed with a whole bunch of original ideas.

The road from “heretic” to “a prophet with Fusignano”

Sacchi, as nobody knows what it’s like to swim against the current. Italy the late 80’s-early 90’s- the country with old-fashioned mentality. Football has been played as an attacking sport, but the Italians only cared about the result. Any innovations in the preparation of the players – especially the old stuff, nostalgia for the past, only the traditional catenaccio.

There is a theory that the development of football is directly related to the development of the state. At least Sacchi likes to talk in this tone: “We are historically a country of individualists, citizens who dislike the government, do not love the nation, and consider their city the center of the Universe”. Ask any Italian who is he by nationality, and, most likely, he will say that he was from Genoa/Naples, etc., in General, will call their city.

Then in Italy do not perceive football as a sport, with strict rules – hence a lot of betting scandals. The culture of defeat exist in a society where appreciate the worth of success. That is not the Italy of those years. Sacchi often in such cases, liked to quote Churchill: “Italians lose wars as if it were football matches and football matches as wars”.

“In these words a great truth about our attitude to football. We still cry at the stadiums that someone should die and all these racist scandals…” – sadly sums up Arrigo.

In short, star Sacchi was supposed to light up in a country that did not think about the future, not looking for new ways and was very closed to innovation.

Sacchi openly questioned the current at the time of the preparation of players. It immediately put the label of “Mr. Nobody”.

“In Italy, don’t forget, burned Giordano Bruno”, writes in his autobiography, Arrigo. Some journalists thought I was a heretic and was strongly against my ideas. But another part, younger people are not as conservative, were interested in what I was preaching. Sometimes even came to fights between the two camps of journalists.”

The great Dutchman Michels once said: “Italians are strange, you teach technique in the context of the game. And we learn, what should be the game. It’s the same thing that put football on the table, to say that around the water and learning to swim. We throw them in the water.”

Sacchi was ahead of its time by 20 years

“On the quarantine looking retro games. Every time I get on AC Milan Sacchi, realize that they was ahead of its time by 20 years” – admitted in the latest interview with Maurizio Sarri.

Lobanovsky, Michels, Sacchi and Bielsa – all these geniuses unites the gift to foresee the future. They have predetermined the development of football. All four combines word – the system of collective (total) football. In the system everything is permitted and everything is forbidden outside it.

Sacchi has hotelas a special role – he developed the concept of “zonal football” and developed it to the maximum. It is now a common thing, but in the late ‘ 80s to imagine the team without a Libero is unrealistic.

Sacchi showed how strong the team if it plays a team where everyone knows their role. The timing of action – the key to success. Somehow the sporting Director of inter Giovanni Beltrami from admiration exclaimed: “Even sisters Kessler (German singer twins) are so in sync!”.

No one mocked the rule of offside as the teams Sacchi. On the importance of play in four defenders, and zone defense is a great story from the autobiography Sacchi “Total football” (by the way, another good lesson quarantined). The restaurant him and his wife came to Gianni Brera, the ex-Milan player, and asked who should be responsible for Maradona in the next match vs Napoli.

– “Give me a list, I’ll see.”

He has written several names.

“You’re right – it will do it!”.

– “How’s that?”

“Who takes care of Maradona? Depends on the area of the field where he is.”

Wife Sacchi, who was sitting next to contempt, disgust glanced at the Brera: “don’t you play zonal?”

The idea Sacchi – in the creation of short commands, where the distance between the attacker and the defensive player is not more than 25 meters. Supported by compactness. Gaps between lines should not exceed 6-7 meters. The team wildly pressing the zone where the ball.

“In training we have used certain colors to learn how to move synchronously and at the same time. I called the color, and everything was moving forward or backward, or to the flank, depending on color,” explains Sacchi.

Sacchi also worked on the pressure, which in Italy did not know anything. It was hard to retrain players who are used to a running back to move forward. The principle Sacchi (and any collective football) – the team defends and attacks all 11 players. Already in his time Sacchi emphasized that the goalkeeper will be required to possess the passing game, and to insure the line of defense (Hello Neuer).

“My football was active even without the ball – the players controlled the situation due to pressure. The landmarks were different too. In Italy used to focus on the opponent, the match turned into a duel one to one. In my football in the first place the ball, then teammate and then an opponent. This collective protection. Intelligence, attentiveness, proper location on the field and the ability to make the right choice – basic concepts”.

Now all the leading coaches, to a greater or lesser extent, are the legacy of the great Italian.

Training often practiced exercise when the goalkeeper and 4 defenders were opposed by 11 players (Midfielders and forwards). As a rule, these 11 were rarely scored. Van Basten was often made a bet with the coach, they say, nothing complicated, and it will go into the goal. And then lost and paid for prosperine champagne. And Sacchi victorious echoed: “it is Better to organize 5 players than 11 without an understanding of the principles of the game.”

Also played “dog” or as the Spanish say – “Rondo”. One or two players in the circle must take the ball against 4-5 partners. There are different variations of exercises and proportion. Sacchi insisted that the players did it in motion and not standing still. Guardiola, when he came to Bayern, reacted this way: “I don’t think football is played standing up. You do that, that will never happen in the match. It’s a waste of time, not training”.

Physical training also for the most part, Sacchi adapted to the ball. You can swing in the hall, and you can play mini-matches for 2-3 minutes, training pressure. Goalkeeper+regista+5 attackers against a goalkeeper+Libero+5 defenders-guardians. Regista and the Libero may make two touch, the rest – as they want. These games are important for us to be collectively studied and defend, and defend yourself. Again, it is now common practice. For conditional Brendan Rodgers with “Lester” or other professional who thinks in modern categories – it’s all clear as day. Rogers also voiced this statement: “a Good team defends collectively all 11 players. If you attack in any clear pattern – so you do not attack in the full sense of the word.” But Sacchi was one of the first of pioneers. He is among those who illuminated this path.

Klopp – the main disciple of Sacchi

Surprise surprise! It’s insanely touching story. When Klopp brought Dortmund to 1/2 of the Champions League after the drama against Malaga – he was invited for a live broadcast from Italian TV. In the Studio, an expert sat private bathroom with shower. The reporter is said to Jurgen, he said

– You have the truth in the Studio sits Mr. Sacchi?


– I want to hear those words. We are familiar with you in absentia and never saw live. But all I know about the coaching craft – everything from you.

What Klopp is actively using zonal pressure. Once he corrected the journalist: “We don’t vysokooplachivaema team. We bressingham the zone where the ball”.

This similarity between the two coaches ends. For example, both practice similar techniques in training. Sacchi, as we remember, was called color and the team was moving in the desired area and Klopp uses an upgraded version of this trick – litchenette, that is a series of exercises aimed at developing coordination and neural connections in the brain.

“If you don’t have a midfielder – create it,” said Sacchi. And very similar postulate can be traced Klopp: “I don’t believe in transfers – I believe in training”.

Yes, that really there – once he went to Guardiola and Sacchi said: “All of what I have accomplished – I owe Cruyff and you.”

If we are talking about legacy Sacchi then Ancelotti has led his Milan, and then as an assistant at the 1994 world Cup and then gone to free swimming.

The world Cup final-1994 – the peak

Yes, the one where Baggio made a fatal mistake. Like his inspirer Michels, Sacchi exactly 20 years similarly lose the final. There is a certain tragedy of existence. But after two Cups of the European Champions with “Milan” and national team Sacchi ever entered the elite hall of fame of Italian football.

“Football is a reflection of society. So I share his experience as a reporter at the conference. Tell that group of players becomes a team due to the passion, love for work and respect for the club. When I worked in Spain, I saw how they approach victory without a beautiful and high quality games are not interesting. We, in Italy, all thoughts primitive: won – well, lost – asshole”.

The team Sacchi, when he lost the ball, sassy way collectively pressed back control and continued to attack.

“We are an arrogant and ignorant nation. We don’t understand, don’t want to know and not grow. My ideas are, oddly enough, received more recognition in other countries than at home. Football is a source of passion, fortitude, ability to sacrifice, respect, culture, pride, courage, intuition, culture in General and the ability to lose. Football needs to bring this to a society that has a moral crisis. These values form the team. Without ethics there is no team. But if there is no team, no games, no entertainment. And so there are no results.”

Thanks to Sacchi on Italian television became significantly more likely to talk about tactics, to use the terminology according to the type of trequartista, majalla another lexicon pumped geeks. Sacchi made it fashionable.

Poor health forced early retirement

Gastritis and other ailments plagued the Italian Prometheus. A trip to Atletico Madrid, a short-term return to Milan, the technical Director of “Parma” and finally a well-deserved rest and time with family and friends. My own column in the newspaper, the television and the status of a national hero where you love and respect.

It is very good that this story is not about a sentimental character that is not recognized, and Vice versa – the person who for his beliefs went through a lot and triumphant can tell our grandchildren about past exploits. The magazine “France Football” has put Sacchi in third place among coaches of all time.

In 2005, the year the University of Urbino Sacchi was awarded an Honorary doctorate. He was not a player, but became a coach. Was not a student, but became a doctor. He doesn’t even drink wine and haven’t been on all sorts of courses, but feels good sommelier. So he Ariggo Sacchi. He felt the skin on his criticism of so-called experts, have always rebuffed the naysayers and never forgot to share knowledge with others. Like the Prometheus, who stole fire from Olympus and gave people.


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