«For me Umbria represents childhood and adolescence, but I could not live far from Florence».
I had in mind a thousand questions to ask Giancarlo Antognoni, but I had to summarize all my curiosities and above all synthesize a glowing career. Midfielder and historical member of Fiorentina football team – of which today is a sports manager – and World Champion in 1982: all this andch more is Antognoni. With San Marco Juventina he had his first experience in this world: “It is always intact in my mind the memory of the field in which I used to play, in Prepo. It was a dirt court but for us children it was a dream to play in it. I left Perugia when I was 15, but every time I visit it, the memory always comes back”.
Symbol of a team and a nostalgic of a football that is becoming increasingly faded: «It is difficult for a player today to wear the same shirt throughout his career». With us he talked about his Umbria and a football made of passion and dedication…
The first question is a must: what is your link with Umbria?
It is certainly strong, as I always carry with me the pleasant memories of the region in which I was born and I spent my childhood. Now, no longer having my parents who live there, I am in Umbria less frequently, even if I still have relatives in Perugia.
In Perugia your father had a bar that was also an AC Milan club and you dreamed of playing with Milan: in your heart is something left linked to the “Rossoneri”?
The memory and the sympathy for Rossoneri remained, even because my whole family was cheering for Milan. But eventually, in my heart, the purple color clearly prevailed.
You were a flag and a symbol of Fiorentina team: why is it so difficult today for a player to become a symbol of a team?
I believe that this is a wider phenomenon. Today football is completely different from how it used to be when I played. Now everythingis has completly changed: it is difficult for a player to wear the same shirt throughout his career. There are different dynamics between a player and the world of TV and sponsors. The players too tend looking for different life experiences: fori stance many of them go to play in China, Australia or in the USA.
You started playing as a kid with San Marco Juventina team: do you have any anecdote related to those years that you’d like to tell us?
They are the indelible memories of a kid who kicked a ball, the desire for freedom and to play for fun. Then it is always intact in my mind the field in which we played, in Prepo: it was a dirt field, but for us children it was a dream to play in it. I left when I was only 15 years old, but every time I visit Umbria, the memory always comes back.
After 36 years, what is the first thing that comes to your mind thinking about the victory of the World Cup?
There are so many beautiful things that it is difficult to remember them all. Certainly I can say the arrival at Ciampino with President Sandro Pertini with two wings of crowd that escorted us to the Quirinale. Then, unfortunately, there is also the great regret of not being able to play the final due to an injury.
What would you recommend to a kid who is bought by an important club?
The advice is to never change, to face the experience in an important club like when I started playing football. We must always maintain serenity, passion, dedication to work, without thinking of having arrived.
Have you ever thought of going back to Umbria, maybe in the Perugia team staff?
Honestly, I haven’t, even because I left Umbria when I was too young. Perugia for me represents childhood and adolescence, but later Florence became my home and it is difficult for me to see myself far from here.
How would you describe Umbria in three words?
Hospitality, beauty of nature and territory and good food.
The first thing that comes to mind thinking of this region…
I remember my childhood, when I was a child, the beauty of this region and its extraordinary quality of life.