Piero Ausilio answers. On the day of the TMW Awards, Inter sporting director, named the best Italian director in 2014 by the readers and the jury of Tuttomercatoweb.com, spoke live on SportItalia to answer viewers’ curiosity. Here are the questions and the answers from Ausilio.
Award – “The names of the directors who have won this award are important: I hope to be able to match them and hope to have a career like these people. I have been in football for a while and I know where I come from: I have had to make sacrifices to be sporting director of Inter. It’s a pleasure to receive this award.”
Dedication – It goes without saying that it’s my family: I know the sacrifices they have made. For six, seven years I did it for passion rather than economic interest. Then I dedicate it to my wife who supports what I do daily. Sportingly, however, I have another dedication: the one who gave me this direction was president Peduzzi, who sensed my skills. Taking me off the pitch, he did a favor for many young people, helping me to choose this path.”
Paying dues – I have done many things getting experience, however, I remember them all as training. I have experienced everything 100 percent. I started as a secretary of Inter’s youth sector, but I knew where I wanted to end up. Today I bring 17 years of experience: I would not be the same if I had not done what I did.”
The most difficult moment as director – “I would say every day, not just lately. The one we have taken is a difficult road, but when we start to win it will be a great joy. I experienced Madrid as a director and gave a hand to build that team: there were others who had more than me. Most beautiful discovery? The first that come to mind are Bonucci, Santon, Balotelli, Destro, Siquieira, Martins and Pandev. But maybe I forget Bolzoni, Meggiorini, the newer ones and it’s nice not being able to remember them all.”
Balotelli – “The operation for him was defined in one day: he had intended to move to Bellinzona, but I convinced him to buy into the project of Inter. Even then he was talented and lively and so I proposed him to Lumezzane on a loan with the right of redemption. He started out in Allievi, then passed to the Primavera and almost immediately after in First team.”
Why is the prize awarded to a director of a team that has not performed at its best?
“You have to contextualize the moment, especially this summer. Everyone knows that we had financial stakes imposed by UEFA and therefore the transfer market was done with the obligations derived from these difficulties. We have focused on players that can be defined as gambles when it comes to character: see Osvaldo, who despite everything proved to be a valuable players in the early months at Inter. Then something went wrong, but I do not regret my choice. We took Medel, protagonist at the World Cup, as the only real investment. The other situations, however, were special: we will see in two years if we will redeem them.”
The transfer market in January – “In this case we had a chance to take players who we had already been following for some time: we seized the opportunity with Shaqiri, who was not happy at Bayern, and Brozovic who aspired to come to a club that could give more.”
Inter sporting director in the worst economic situation of the club – “I was lucky enough to work with Branca for a few years, then I was lucky enough to build a team that reached the top of the world. Now we have more imagination, getting players who could be future top players considering the needs of the club.”
Renewal of Icardi’s contract – “Mauro is an instinctive guy and does things that are unthinkable for any player. He makes things that for others are difficult even to think about look easy. If he’s not celebrating it has nothing to do with the renewal. According to me Mancini is right: you should not deprive yourself of the happiness to celebrate.”
Sale of Icardi or adjustment of salary? “It is not a problem for us and not for him either I think: it is normal, there is no player that is happy to earn less than you think you deserve. He’s a serious guy, more mature than the age he has: he is completely devoted to his family and works hard in training. We have already met two or three times with his agent and for the moment I say that he has signed a 5 year contract. No one knew what he would or could become. The deadline is not that close that we worry about it, and then he has an agent who doesn’t live in Milan and we can’t meet every day. Still, we are taking small steps, one a month, don’t worry. Mauro is happy at Inter, has chosen us, he married our project and if you ask him today he will answer exactly what I’m saying.”
Mancini – “I say this frankly: we could choose a faster way and instead we decided to opt for the situation that doesn’t pay off immediately but which, at the time of the evaluation, will give us satisfaction. It was the right thing to do to bring the ideas of Mancini immediately, so that the players would follow immediately. The positive things in all this is the style of play and the growth of the team. Against Napoli we played a good game with an error by the team, against Torino we conceded in the last minute and then also the fine performances against Genoa and against Palermo came.”
Podolski – “He has gotten off to a bad start, although with Juve he had a great performance. Now he is training well: he’s a world champion who has not forgotten how to play football. We will soon see what he can give.”
Difference between Moratti and Thohir – “The everyday life still breaths of Moratti even physically. He is a fan who lives for Inter beyond the logic of a businessman. Thohir, instead, is passionate and often sends his messages forgetting the time zone. He will return for the return match with Celtic.”