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  • Arrigo Sacchi celebrates his 75th birthday today
  • As a coach of AC Milan, he shaped the development of modern football
  • He also led Italy to runner-up in the 1994 USA.

He is a former shoe salesman who became a popular name after being given the AC Milan reins in 1987. He wasn’t a stranger to frank and unconventional ideas, especially against the need for manmarking and sweepers.

His player, including some of the game’s biggest names, was, of course, suspicious. “Five well-organized players can beat ten chaotic players,” he told them. To prove it, he ordered the four rearguards, led by goalkeeper Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini, to keep the goal just by marking the zone. He then told other players to bomb the defense, but with no specific instructions.

First, he deployed four attackers, then five and six, and continued until there were ten outfielders against a block of four defenders and one keeper. .. Incredibly, the training game ended 0-0. Players with world-class talents such as Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Carlo Ancelotti were convinced. The coach’s name was Arrigo Sacchi. Today, as he celebrates his 75th birthday, we look back on the legacy of coaches who helped shape modern games.

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We were training to synchronize the movements of all 11 players. The general idea was to create a contextual awareness of this game. All 11 players must always be in active positions, with or without the ball.

Sacchi

Arrigo Sacchi on Training Ground with AC Milan, 1989-90
© Adult image

Sacchi’s playing career was extremely modest and limited to the amateur scene. Even after turning to coaching, he had to work in his father’s shoe business as he was initially limited to small local clubs. In Coppa Italia 1986/87, he defeated AC Milan twice to decorate his freshly-bred Parma and headline in Serie B.Club owner Silvio Berlusconi takes a closer look and looks at Sacchi Milan Next season coach.

“I didn’t realize I had to be a horse first to be a jockey,” Sacchi famously joked when critics asked about his qualifications for work. Not only was he witty, he was also innovative, as evidenced by his scudetto in the first season and the European and Intercontinental Cups in each of the next two seasons.

AC Milan after winning the 1989 European Cup
© Adult image

His ideas were radical at the time, but would later define his playing style and become part of modern football. These included the transition from human markings to zone equivalents. Aggressive and high-press games were also important. I had to hone my training by playing shadow football without the ball and block the normal transit channels. His team was also known for its narrow line-to-line gaps and compactness, and for following a clear game plan in all positions.

Sacchi has long supported the 4-4-2 system, with a defender-forward gap of less than 25 meters. This compact space is standard today, but revolutionary at the time. To be able to play this way, offside traps were a central element of his game plan. At the time, he was considered offside if the attacker was at the same level as the last defender.

When football changed from an individual to a collective game, there was only one real tactical revolution. The idea of ​​teaching 11 people to move alone still gives me goosebumps.

Sacchi

“The Italian team has always focused on defense, but we defended by attacking and putting pressure on the enemy,” Ancelotti said. “Sacchi had a new type of football recipe. His 4-4-2 was, in my opinion, the only way to play modern football.”

Another Milanese powerhouse, Roberto Donadoni, also appreciated his former boss. “Sacchi revolutionized Italian football in terms of both thinking and tactics. We had a way to play and deploy it against opponents from amateurs. At Bernabeu. In a weekly training to Real Madrid. “

Lothar Matthäus explaining rival AC Milan's tactics in 1990
© Adult image

In training, teams were often lined up in basic formations, and Sacchi showed where the imaginary ball was. His player moved around the pitch accordingly until the positioning was automatic. He had an equally unconventional way to practice moving forward. I played the ball this time, but there was no defender. His side will experience their aggressive moves in a virtually 11-to-zero game. And while this technique is popular with many trainers today, there were slanderers at the time.

When I coached Beralia in Part 4, I once came to the dressing room and the player said:’This coach with us what I didn’t have to do in Serie A or Serie B I’m doing it. He is a genius or a crazy person. ‘I told him: “I hope it’s the first.”

Sacchi

“He made you do the same thing over and over again every day, especially our defenders,” Maldini explained. “But when I met Baresi, Costacurta and Tassotti today, I was able to play with them as they did at the time. It’s rooted. That was one of the keys to success.”

Too often, Sacchi’s football philosophy is reduced to his four rearguard and defensive ideas, but above all he wanted to make the game interesting and far from the old. Catenaccio style.

“I send players to give people 90 minutes of joy,” he said. “Whenever I have the ball, I want five men to be in front of the ball, and there must always be a player who occupies the left and right wings. But that’s possible for everyone. Yes, they don’t have to be the same person. “

It wasn’t a big surprise when he was appointed as an Italian coach in 1991. 1994 FIFA World Cup USA ™, Led by Ravenna Native Squadra Azzurra Until the final, he lost to Brazil with a penalty. “Brazil plays better and deserves a win,” Sacchi said. “I always wanted to win with merit. That’s important to me.”

Two years later, at UEFA EURO 1996, his team had to win the final group match against Germany.Despite playing brilliantly in stages, many spurred opportunities, including missing a penalty, were scoreless draws. Azzurri I will bow. Perhaps who knows that Sacchi could have led Italy to a major title if he had more time to train his players on his method?

“Only now that I’m a coach, I fully understand your job!”

From Van Basten to Sacchi

But it’s not the main title he’s won that guarantees Sacchi’s lasting football heritage, but his to many coaches who are still shaped by the development of the game and his ideas today. It’s an effect.

Arrigo Sacchi will attend the Italian Football Federation kick-off seminar on June 20, 2015 in Cesena, Italy.
© Getty Images

– Soccer Sports

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