Former Inter manager and current Italian international team coach Roberto Mancini gave an exclusive interview to Milano based Gazzetta dello Sport talking on a wide range of issues.
Mancini, what has impressed you about the Serie A so far?
“Definitely Cristiano Ronaldo: he has improved Juventus after some initial difficulties, and it was not simple, and then Barella.”
What do you like about Barella?
“I said it to Tardelli at Coverciano: He looks like you, he has technical quality, shooting, he does not lose the ball, he attacks with his head despite not being tall, he never gives up and is strong, but he must score a few more goals. He is a young man with limited experience in Serie A but he has a mastery of a very important role, a model for those young people who have everything but just need to find that little bit more for that extra leap in quality.”
Soon Koulibaly will return to San Siro for Milan vs Napoli. Mayor Sala said, “I will return to the stadium, but I will get up and leave at the first sounds of racism,” what will you do?
“I trust that it will not happen again, that the previous incident has taught a lesson, in 2019 these are absurd things, they should not even come to mind.”
Prandelli proposed: ‘The next time Balotelli is whistled, embrace him.’ If Mario returns to the National team and it happens, what would happen?
“The players in the field could stop, since these are incidents caused by 50 people out of 60,000, maybe just to unnerve them. The other 59,950 are certainly smarter and could cover those whistles or those abuses.”
But Matteo Salvini has just said that the matches should not be suspended: the view of our government is different from that of UEFA. Is it not dangerous to play it down?
“If the racism should be repeated a sensational action from the players could work or at the cost of penalizing 99% of spectators at the stadium: Players could at least stop playing.”
Do you still talk with Balotelli?
“Yes, we have good feelings for him, he is doing well, he has improved physically, the hope is that he plays more, he must play and score goals: he does not need to do anything else.”
Who will surprise in the second half of the season?
“Roma have young players who are gaining experience all the time, they are recovering ground. Atalanta can confirm the good work they’ve been doing, they have scored more than Juventus, even if they concede more, but if I have to win a game, I prefer 5-3 than 1-0.”
Would it be enough if Inter sign Modric to reach Juventus’ level?
“He can give Inter a great leap in quality, he is a technical player, incredibly technical: he would be good in our National team.”
Salvini does not agree with playing Juve-Milan in Saudi Arabia because of the discrimination against women, what do you think?
“It is not a problem they just have there, but 70 years ago in Italy the situation of women was not much better. This match can help the start of a new respect for women, even in stadiums, to promote transformations as happened in China with the Olympics, because in Arabia, as in the whole Middle East, football is very popular.”
Is it bad to close Italian ports to migrant ships?
“We Italians today are seen as the bad guys for the many problems, but we have always had a big heart, we have always helped everyone. My father went to work in Germany and was helped there for example. The migrants should be helped, always. You must always follow the heart, and we are inherently good people.”