A MANAGER THAT IS ALL OVER THE FIELD
Training sessions. Matches. Always present. First as a player, now as team manager for Inter.
It is used to be called traveling management staff, now it has become team manager and it seems that everything has changed. Today the most famous team manager is Ivan Ramiro Cordoba who on last May, one day before a derby in which Inter won 4-2, the then player decided to let go and retire. A message posted on the Inter website to bid farewell to the fans. Massimo Moratti, however, did not want to lose him and so right now, Inter are the only club in the world that has a team manager that won a league title, domestic cup and Champions League in the same year.
Why did you announce your retirement so late?
“Because I did not want to talk about my last game and forget the most important thing: the game itself.”
When did you decide to call it quit?
“The same week with that Milan derby, after a decisive knee medical/visit to understand what the real chances that I still had to be a footballer.”
How was it to say goodbye to football?
“It was an incredible and unique emotion. Before the game, all of my teammates wore the number 2 shirt, my whole family was in the stands and the president came on the field to give me a hug. And then the victory over Milan. It was a perfect evening.”
In the early days as former player, you said that you wanted to devote yourself more to the family. Have you changed this idea?
“I took time to understand what was best for me, especially try to imagine myself in a new role. At that point, I decided to continue working for this club and it was an easy decision.”
How did the family take it?
“My wife, again, was very understanding. I would like to be closer to my children especially the youngest, Juan José, who is four years old. When I am with him, he wants all me to himself. He wants all the attention.”
After a period of inactivity, what kind of shape are you in?
“What shape… I have gone to a gym four times in seven months. I know full well that soon I will have to get back to running.”
How has your day changed?
“Not much. I am close to the team and I cannot miss any training sessions and matches. Then there are also the meetings too. I think that I am even more committed than before. Luckily I can still drop my children off to school and pick them up.”
How did you prepare for your new role?
“Despite not knowing how my career would end, last year I attended a class in sports management at Bocconi University.”
And the first day in your new role was?
“It was wonderful and also difficult. Early training camp made me realize that there is big difference between being a player and a manager. To avoid making mistakes, I went to bed at two o’clock and at six, I was on my feet…”
And your first game on the bench?
“Perhaps on the field it would be more easy and natural but I talked to the players like I always have. The work off the field is more complex and when I am in doubt I just let my instincts guide me.”
On the field, sometimes you did not say anything… Now as a manager?
“I do not miss any opportunities but I also know that I now have more responsibilities. I am learning things.”
After so many coaches that you had in your career, you are now working alongside Stramaccioni who is your age. What is the relationship/feeling between you two?
“Good. We have shared many different moods together, moments of satisfaction, difficult ones too. I think that he is the right person to lead Inter.”
Tomorrow, February 24, there is the Milan derby.
“We must look to confirm the victory that we got in the first leg and we will have to put all our effort and rage that we have on the field.”
Because you will play against a special opponent: Mario Balotelli.
“I only wish for a good game and that there is mutual respect between the fans and those on the field. You are entitled to boo but people should never get personal with the chants that have nothing to do with the game. Football must be fun.”
You and your wife have been trying to give back to the children in your country Colombia.
“Just a few kilometers from Medellin where I grew up and became a footballer with the shirt of Deportivo Rionegro, we created the foundation called “Colombia te quiere ver.’ We basically take care of the basic needs of the children, ensuring that at least two meals each day to those that go to school.”
How did you start?
“By sending containers with food, clothes and shoes. One time, a flood stopped everything for ten months and so we had more to do and more to get organized after.”
What goals to do you have?
“That our reality remains small and easily manageable. Only then we would have the certainty of being able to share what life has given us.”
Source: Gazzetta dello Sport