Lazio manager Maurizio Sarri has always been vocal about the state of modern-day football and he has recently given his views about certain issues surrounding the game.
Barcelona’s Gavi recently picked up a serious ACL injury during the international break and the social media was then ablaze with many of the view that footballers play too many games now and that is bringing about too many serious injuries for multiple players already this season.
Sarri has been a critic of the direction in which the game is going and he recently spoke to La Repubblica and he was asked about various aspects of the game and his thoughts about it.
He spoke about footballers playing too many games and he stated: “I’ve been talking about it for five years, yet they accuse me of looking for alibis and that’s it. These days in Spain the world is coming down over Gavi’s injury, they call it the UEFA Virus : I hope someone has the intellectual honesty to recognize that I’ve been saying certain things all my life.”
Sarri also described the Premier League as the most sustainable league in Europe, also praising it for the cultural values.
“The only sustainable football is English football, the most traditional, where on Saturday afternoons there is no match on TV because people crowd the stadiums of the minor categories. The FA Cup final is the most watched match in the world after the Champions League final, yet for a hundred years it has always had the same rituals and is played at Wembley, not in Saudi Arabia. Does that say something?”
He also stated that attempts have been made to turn football into a highlights-first sport, which takes away the emotion and tradition of the game.
“Football is an emotional sport: if you take away the emotion, on a television level it is certainly not the best show in the world. The emotion is kept alive by the child who goes to the stadium, but there is no future if you aim at the audience of the highlights.”
The Italian was also asked his views about those who consider him to be a problem for the footballing establishments and he responded:
“Basically I don’t care, I have a thinking head and I’m critical, even if this football is good for me. In private, my colleagues, all of them, tell me well done, you’re doing well, we need to report all of it. But then there isn’t one to come with me.”
Sarri also stated that if players play three games a week, the quality of the sport will go down and football will become more highlights-focused.
“If you don’t train, technical and physical decay and mental tiredness set in, so the show gets worse. Furthermore, even those who have not played are not free from tiredness, because they find themselves living in a tired environment. Now we only train on video.”
He stated that footballers should only play around 50 games in a calendar year, saying: “At most 50. We could at least start with small things, such as giving up summer tours and bringing the Italian Cup back to August even for the big teams, making them play on the pitches of the Serie C teams, who would then earn money to survive all year . But they would certainly tell us that there is a public order problem and that is why Juve cannot go to Campobasso. The Italian Cup is a clandestine event tailor-made for the television audience of the last rounds. But that’s not football, it’s Bayern losing to a C team.”
Sarri’s views about the game have always been vocal and refreshing and just like always, the Lazio boss has not backed away from putting forth his opinions about the potential ill-direction of football.
Kaustubh Pandey | GIFN