Italian World Cup winner Gianluca Zambrotta says the once-storied Serie A football league has been in a downward spiral compared to other premier club competitions in Europe. The 39-year-old former full-back is currently enjoying a successful season as coach of Indian Super league (ISL) franchise Delhi Dynamos.
In the changing world of football, the decline of Serie A catches the attention of the former Juventus and AC Milan star. “The quality of the Serie A is going down. About the rest of the world the game hasn’t changed much,” Zambrotta, who has also turned out for Spanish giants Barcelona said in an interview.
Zambrotta, who was a key member of the Italian outfit that clinched the World Cup in 2006, stresses on the need for scouting talents, having good coaches and academies for India to improve. The ISL, he says, can learn from top club competitions such as La Liga, Bundesliga, English Premier League and Serie A.
“The ISL started just three years ago and has grown in a very good way. Of course there is a big potential to get better and to become one of the most important leagues in the country.
“Of course you can get better and learn from other leagues like Serie A, Bundesliga and the UK. But the ISL can also improve Indian players by having good coaches, academies which will help to grow Indian football.
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“The ISL started just three years ago, so to build a strong fan base it will take some time. But, also you have to work with the young players, have good coaches, academies and staff to help the young players in a better way.”
During his seven seasons with Juventus from 1999, Zambrotta won two consecutive Serie A and Supercoppa Italiana titles in 2002 and 2003, also reaching the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final.
Though he is focussed on Delhi Dynamos at the moment, Zambrotta is open to coaching elsewhere, in the future. “Right now I’m focussed on coaching the Delhi Dynamos in a good way because it is my first time. But in the future, never say never. Of course it is my dream to coach one of the famous teams. Not just in Europe, I am open to coaching in other parts of the world as well. But right now, I am totally focussed on doing well with Delhi Dynamos,” he says.
Zambrotta spent two seasons with Barcelona between 2006 and 2008 before returning to Italy to play for Milan, where he won his third Serie A and Supercoppa Italiana titles in 2011.
With the Italian national team, he won 98 caps, playing at three World Cups, three European Championships, the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, and the 2000 Olympics. Besides the triumphant World Cup campaign, he was part of the side that reached the Euro 2000 final, and he was also selected to the Euro 2004 Team of the Tournament for his performances and also the Team of the Tournament in 2006.
India, he feels, will benefit immensely by organising the FIFA U-17 World Cup next year. “Hosting the Under-17 World Cup will definitely help. You can learn a lot from watching good teams play. So, it will be very interesting for India and India can also get some good ideas from this tournament.”
He is happy with the performance of his Dynamos side so far in the third season of ISL, which is his first. “I am really happy with the experience so far. Of course we haven’t done anything yet and we have a long way to go. But, I am absolutely happy with my experience in India.”