17 August, 2019
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 «The game that satisfied me the most? The one in favor of the people of Norcia hit by the earthquake».

More than two hundred matches in A Series, international referee since 2007 – 2017 was his last season because he reached age limits – seventeen years of activity with the debut in the top flight in 2003 and Élite Uefa referee since 2012. These are the numbers of Paolo Tagliavento, the most representative whistle in Umbria and beyond. During the game, he is strict, in order to guide the twenty-two players; on the contrary, with us he is easy-going and kind. He is an Umbrian proud of his land.

 

Paolo Tagliavento

What is your bond with Umbria and with Terni?
It is a very strong bond, because I was born in Terni, I grown up there and I still live there. I love my region and I am very fond of the people I have lived with and who have been part of my childhood.

Do you think that Umbria is a region that is “out of the game”, cut off from other realities?
For the position it has, it’s a bit cut off because of its infrastructures. For example, I often use the car for my travels. Fiumicino is not far, so I also take the plane when I leave far away, while the train is not really comfortable. In some ways, being a little out of nowhere can be an advantage, because you can experience peace and tranquility.

If Umbria was a football rule, what would it be?
The edge. Which is a special rule: when you apply it makes the game more bearable. The edge of Umbria is in its landscapes, food and life.

Is there a game that you always wanted to referee but you has not done yet?
I could say the final of the World Cup, because it is the dream of any referee and few people get there. Instead, I will tell you the game that satisfied me the most: a charity game after the earthquake of 2016, which was held in Norcia between actors and civil protection personnel. It was something concrete for Umbria and it made me very proud.

The Umbrians are accused of being narrow-minded, do you recognize yourself in this stereotype?
No, it never happened to me. Perhaps in the northern part of Umbria they are more narrow minded than Terni, which is influenced by the Roman way of living.

Are there in Umbria young referees who could reach your level?
There is an excellent school of arbitration assistants, who have reached good levels. As for the referees in the Lega Pro and Series D there is someone for it could make their way.

What would you recommend?
I would advise him to give its best, always. To have passion and to make sacrifices, because only in this way we can reach these levels. Passion is the driving force, but it is not enough. It also takes commitment and hunger to reach the goal. This profession should be put a little in front of everything. The funnel is very tight and few come in the A series. But I would also recommend to have fun and enjoy.

How would you describe Umbria in three words?
Beautiful, unique, open-minded.

The first thing that comes to your mind thinking of this region…
Serenity.

He wears the captain’s armbund of Sassuolo every Sunday and, as a real midfielder, he runs and recovers balls for his team.

Francesco Magnanelli, born in Umbertide and raised in Città di Castello, is a DOC Umbrian, one of those who love territory and simple life, rather far from the stereotype of the modern footballer. He is a halfback, a dirty and hard work. A job done for the others. He started from the youth league of Gubbio and came to the Europe League with his Sassuolo, always carrying a piece of Umbria in his heart.

 

magnanelli_sassuoolo

Francesco Magnanelli, 33 years

What is your link with this region?
It is my land, my original family, my friends. I have a very strong bond with this land and for that I try to come back as soon as I can. I spent my holidays in Umbria, it is a very special and fascinating place. For me it represents simple things, the countryside, barbecues and barefoot walking.

So you still consider it your home, even though you have been living in another place for  years?
Of course I consider it my home. I always say that I have two houses: one in Sassuolo and one in Città di Castello. In Sassuolo I have my wife, my children and my work; in Città di Castello there are my origins and sometimes, when I am there, I do things I used to do when I was kid. I enjoy the countryside, together with a simple and real life.

In your field you are an Umbrian excellence: do you feel a bit of a representative of this region and of Umbrian sport?
Without exaggerating, I’m just a boy who has managed to get out of Umbria, a region that curbs you. I’ll tell you better: Umbrian young people often go to Perugia to do the university, but only a few of them really go away. Somehow it makes it hard to get out of. If I think of the soccer world, there are so many football schools, but there are few guys who can do extra-regional experiences. Today, I have to say that the situation has a little improved, you can hear of names of emerging young people who might have opportunities, but until a few years ago it was all blocked. In short, it is still difficult to get out of Umbria.

Can this happen with sports?
Exactly. Every village has its own team and there are so many football schools and by improving them, focusing on young people, we could stimulate sport, but also the opening up to the outside.

After your career, will you come back here or stay in Sassuolo?
I still do not know what I will do, for now I take life as it comes. Let’s see in the next few years.

What does it mean to be an Umbrian out of Umbria?
Umbria is a place you really appreciate when you live outside it. You can see from afar all its merits and its defects, that perhaps by experiencing it you do not perceive.

What are the advantages and what are the defects?
The benefits are tranquility, history, art, culture and simple traditions. Traditions, however, can be a double-cut weapon and become defects if they curbs you and block development. Among the flaws there is the lack of proper infrastructure, just think of the fact that Umbria is hard to reach by trains and roads.

What about the stereotype of being withdrawn: did someone or did you notice it?
No. Maybe only Umbrians notice this narrow-mindedness. For everyone else Umbria is a paradise. They only see the best and when they talk about Umbria they talk about it as a happy oasis, a perfect place to live.

How would you describe Umbria in three words?
Charming, origins – just one hour at Città di Castello and start talking straight into dialect – and nest meant as a simple life shelter.

The first thing that comes to mind thinking about Umbria.
My return to the origins, to simplicity, to motherland.