"In those last 25 minutes, everything happened to us, it seemed like a curse" - Corriere.it

"In those last 25 minutes, everything happened to us, it seemed like a curse" - Corriere.it

In the Champions League final, the coach who many, and for a long time, had snubbed managed to send a football Einstein like Guardiola into a tailspin for 60 minutes. In this match we deserved more than City. If I have become a technician of international importance? Time will tell

ISTANBUL — They called it Lemon. Or Spiazes, with reference to a hint of zeppola not too accentuated in the pronunciation. They were his fans, the ones who thanked him last night under the Ataturk curve for giving him this week of delirium. It happened a short time ago. Not even three months have passed since Spezia took the thirteenth point out of 15 available in 2023, joining a list including Empoli, Bologna, Sampdoria and Monza, with all due respect but not exactly the battleships of football.

Those defeats brought shadows of exclusion from the Champions quartet, and with them the usual questions that have always revolved around him like a spell. Cup man, indeed a cup, good only to prepare the single game, a specialist. As if it were an insult, and a cheap gift. He too seemed to have internalized the end-of-the-race mood, only my fault, he said, while the media embroidered on theBarella's perplexed expression after the change, and on theLukaku's anger because Lautaro had kicked the first penalty, read as unequivocal signs of a team that was no longer such, of a locker room where by now everyone for himself needs a more authoritative guide, and to put an end to the scandal of an all too long stay on the Nerazzurri bench.

Yesterday he consoled them, he hugged the Argentine who was crying, he held Lukaku tightly still in disbelief for that too central header. He led them under the curve, took them by the hand. At a certain point, his voice entered the internal circuit, taken from a sideline microphone. You did very well, she said to the Belgian giant. You have nothing to reproach yourself with. And they both had watery eyes. These are all things to remember. If indeed this game teaches the art of life, nothing like the parable of Simone Inzaghi he can explain to us how anyone can be a teacher, and that the only scandal to believe oneself untouchable, the only shame lies in the arrogance of those who judge by exercising prejudice.

The odorless and tasteless coach, this too has been said and written, did a masterpiece, which will not be fully recognized, because winner takes all, in Abba's song and in our country's sporting culture. He filed it at the Einstein of football. TO Pep GuardiolaThat for a good sixty minutes he understood nothing. He did nothing wrong, touching one of the greatest football feats ever. Instead he has to stay in this spotlight, knowing full well that compliments are only a respite, in mid-August the pendulum weighing on his head will begin to move again. Defeat is always the worst thing in sport, he says. We didn't deserve to lose, and we had a lot of bad luck in the decisive moments. But we have to accept that it happened like this. This is football. I still wonder why we haven't made it in the last 25 minutes. Ederson saves, rebounds, ball dancing in front of goal. It seemed that it was all written, like a curse.

the fate of people who are too nice, who modulate their tone of voice, as they do even late at night in the belly of the stadium, with the UEFA employees who signal him to tighten, to hurry, that after the champions arrive, those who have won. And he, with the courtesy that is often mistaken for flatness, nods, shows politeness, when in his heart he just wants to send to hell or alternatively to get away from that kind of amphitheater. He enters almost stealthily, in silence. How much difference with Guardiola who fifteen minutes later seems to be making a movie star parade, even calling the applause of the journalists present, winking, making jokes, quoting heavy masters like Johann Cruyff, as if he were aware of belonging to a superior lineage.

When I used to say I wouldn't change my players with anyone in the world, now everyone understands why the only flicker of Inzaghi, the only time he lifts his head from the microphone. City have deserved the Champions League in recent years, but tonight we would have deserved more. The game plan was this. At the end of the first half I was satisfied, all in all I am satisfied now. Finally, but really the last question, almost as if it were a detail, they ask him if he feels he has become a coach of international standing after having suffered so much criticism, and here too he replies with great humility. Time will tell, you journalists will tell. During the technical meeting I told my players that nothing would go as everyone expected, that the match would be decided on few occasions. I was right, but it doesn't matter. We all know that. As for me, I am satisfied and sad at the same time. I will start thinking about the personal meaning of this adventure from tomorrow. She leaves the scene in silence, with a sad expression. Instead, a sort of ovation is paid to his charming rival. Lack of good luck. Not Simone Inzaghi from Piacenza.

June 11, 2023 (change June 11, 2023 | 01:19)

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