The Italian Job Hardcover – Jun 27 2006
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"The book is essentially a memoir but with the aid of some really interesting interviews...it gives some astonishing insights into the workings of the modern game" GQ Style "The Italian Job reveals how rival cultures in England and abroad are reflected on the pitch" The Times "Gianluca Vialli's new book is an interesting comparison of sporting attitudes here and on the Continent - To the Italian player, football is a job: to the English one, it's a game" The Observer "...this fascinating book that analyses the difference between English and Italian football...The Italian Job tackles the questions which inform football debate in England and Italy - from the tactical and technical to the cultural and sociological" Italia "An early contender for this year's literary prizes in sport" Sunday Tribune --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Gianluca Vialli is one of the most famous Italian footballers in the post-war era. He won league titles with Sampdoria and Juventus and captained Juventus to Champions' League victory in 1996. At international level he won 59 caps for Italy, scoring 16 goals and leading them to the semi-finals of both the 1988 European Championship and the 1990 World Cup. As a manager, in two and a half seasons at Chelsea he won more trophies than any other manager in the history of the club, including the FA Cup, Cupwinners' Cup and League Cup. He currently divides his time between London and Italy where he is the top analyst for Sky Italia's Serie A and Champions' League coverage. Gianluca is donating proceeds from The Italian Job to the Fondazione Vialli e Mauro per la Ricerca e lo Sport (www.fondazionevialliemauro.com), a charitable foundation set up by Gianluca and Massimo Mauro, which raises funds for research into cancer and Amiotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Gabriele Marcotti is the UK correspondent for Corriere dello Sport, and World Football columnist for The Times. He has also written for the Financial Times, Sunday Herald, Daily Mail and La Stampa. He co-presents two weekly radio shows on TalkSport and is a regular analyst on Bravo, Setanta and SkySports News. He is also a columnist for Sports Illustrated.
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Part of the difference lies in the cultural backgrounds and economies of the two countries, but more lies in the traditions which have developed. Vialli explores the effect that the fans and the media have had on how the game is played, how differently the refs call the game in each country, and how the youngsters are brought up. His observations are interesting and perceptive.
If you are a student of European football, you will like this book. If you want soccer history, tell-all revelations, or finger pointing you would want to look elsewhere.
The cultural, socio-economic, geographic-climatic, psychological differences between the English game and "Calcio" are well-researched, relevant, and judiciously taxonomized. Large portions of the book are dedicated to the history of the internationalization of the English game both in terms of foreign players and coaches. While many are are quite valid points, especially with regards to modern training methodologies, acquiring tactical sophistication, nutrition, diet, one question remains -how was it possible for coaches like Matt Busby, Jock Stein, Bill Shankley, Bob Paisley, Brian Clough and others to achieve so much European success? For tactical sophistication just recall Sir Alf Ramsey and the revolutionary system he employed when England had won its solitary World Cup. The players ate steaks and fried cod liver and indulged in alcoholic beverages, that is true. Possibly, the answer could be found in a comment to Claudio Ranieri (horrified on seing his players gorging on fried bananas and cuban rice)by one of Real Madrid's legendary players of the past: "We may have been eating wrong, coach, but we won quite a few games."
For example, Italians are more serious about their football whereas the English are more laid back.
The book discusses the game from every human aspect. The players, managers, clubs, youth systems, fans, referees, media .. all of it. And by the end of the book you can say why the English and Italians never saw eye to eye when it came to football.
Disclaimer: Football here means Soccer.