Exclusive Interview: Stefano Maccoppi

James Rowe for The Secret Footballer

JR  ‘'Good morning Stefano, thanks for talking to me at TSF today, it’s quite an honour.  Let’s start with a really interesting period in your playing career.  There were two seasons with Bari that coincided with an amazing period in the club's history…

SM  ''In the two years in Bari I met champions such as David Platt, Zvonimir Boban, João Paulo, Frank Farina and Robert Jarni and I learned a lot from them.  I had been coming to Serie A for five years with Como 1907, another great club, so I was aware of the high level of that Serie A.  I faced the greatest players of the time from Michel Platini to Diego Maradona to Zico to Marco van Basten to Careca… every Sunday it was a continuous fight but it was also a huge satisfaction to face those great champions that you could only usually see on television or on stickers.’' 

JR  ‘'I think you just reeled off about half a billion euros worth of talent in modern day prices Stefano!  After Bari you played for five seasons with Piacenza Calcio 1919, another great old Italian club with a rich history….”

SM  ''After the two years in Bari in Serie A, I decided to accept the offer of the Piacenza team, it was a well-structured club in Serie B but with great prospects to fight to get to Serie A.  I have wonderful memories when at the end of the Serie B championship we moved up to Serie A.  It was also a team made up entirely of Italians, so the whole city and the whole of Italy was extremely proud.’' 

JR  “You then went into management where you had an amazingly varied journey…”

SM  ''After finishing my career as a football player, I started the career of coach first in the youth sector of Piacenza and Sampdoria, and then in the first team in Italian Serie C and B. I then went abroad to countries such as Switzerland, Romania, Malta and the continent of Africa.  They were all wonderful experiences both from a football point of view and from a cultural and human point of view.  Now thanks to those experiences I have a lot of knowledge, and I would still like to enrich that knowledge by having other coaching experiences all over the world!’'

JR  “We are currently enjoying Euro 2020(1).  Have you been enjoying the tournament so far, what do you make of Mancini’s Italy?”

SM '' I am following the European Football Championship a lot and I am very happy to see that Italy is one of the protagonists of this prestigious Tournament.  I admire more and more so-called surprise Nations such as Denmark, Ukraine and Switzerland that give life to surprising matches such as Switzerland against France.  I have coached in Switzerland for ten years and I am proud of it and I hope they continue the tournament, it will maybe be good to see Italy-Switzerland in the Final even though such a game will not be easy.”

JR  “Stefano. Thank you so much for giving up your time today, it’s been a pleasure talking to you.  Just finally, looking forward to the future, is there anything left in football that you would love to achieve?”

SM. “Yes, I would like to continuously learn more things in order to be able to teach them to the teams that I hope to go on to coach so that young people can realize their dreams just as I did.  Working doing what you love with passion.”

James Rowe is a Dutch Football expert based in the Netherlands, professional writer and translator for The Secret Footballer. He has featured on talkSPORT and regularly features on talkSPORT 2 and Love Sport Radio. You can follow him on Twitter here.