In Italy, everything comes back to style.
“The more looks a coach can give a team, the less chance there is to make a bad impression on a night out,” Antonio Gagliardi says. “If you go to a Michelin-starred restaurant, you can’t dress like you’re off to a gig. You might be OK if you put on the same outfit for both occasions but you’ll never look as good as the guy in the smoking jacket at a fine-dining restaurant or the more informal look of someone at a gig.”
No wonder Andrea Pirlo wanted Gagliardi on his coaching staff after years of working with him at national-team level and regularly coming into contact with him while studying for his Pro Licence at Coverciano.
You may have seen Gagliardi on the Juventus: All Or Nothing documentary series, analysing opponents and passing on tactical instructions from a high vantage point at the Allianz Stadium. He is one of the luminaries of the Italian game and played an influential role in Italy winning the European Championship last summer as the team’s lead match analyst with colleague Simone Contran.
“The joy you get from that triumph is just never-ending,” Gagliardi explains. “It’s a trophy that’s up there with the World Cup and the Champions League. Winning a Scudetto or a Coppa Italia is big, but when the entire country is celebrating it means double.”
A new-look Italy won critical acclaim for adopting a style few considered their own. Early in the tournament, they were the most fashionable team, passing the ball around and dominating possession while also pressing with the intensity of Europe’s most en vogue club sides.