Massimiliano Martino: Talent and Opportunity
Interview with Massimiliano Martino, author of the book and head of the Frosinone press office.
Not only responsible for the press office of Frosinone Calcio: Massimiliano Martino is also an excellent author. In fact, it saw the light in June.Talent meets opportunity‘, published by Edizioni Efesto. A book that tells, practices and tells the stories of eight top athletes. In a world of football, but also of sport in general, increasingly dominated by athletes who break records but leave very few lessons to young people, the author reminds us in a clear and factual way what the true values of sport are. From Fabio Grosso to Dino Zoff, via Gianluca di Marzio and many others.
You wrote: “Sport leaves fixed images in the mind, like Tardelli in 1982 or Fabio Grosso in 2006.” Your quote goes very well with a very similar quote from Federico Buffa, who said: “The World Cup marks the time of our lives.” But is that really the case?
Yes, I really do. In fact, you, too, will have associated a certain period of your life with sport. Maybe we’re more influenced because we’ve always done this job, but I remember Grosso winning the World Cup, for example, more than my nephew’s christening. These historical moments shape “our time”.
You have chosen to tell stories of champions who have been given a lot by sport, also in terms of education and character. Have you also thought about this aspect?
I started with people. In fact, I was fortunate to appreciate them more as people before choosing their stories. Each of them had left me something in the human relationship, and I chose the stories that gave me the goose bumps the most; I think they left me a lot, but I hope I left them something too.
You have chosen not only to tell stories of “champions” but also of those who tell those stories: in fact, there are two journalists like Bezzi and Di Marzio. Why the decision to make room for them as well and maybe “leave out” other champions?
Years ago I was fortunate to receive a merit award from CONI entitled “Sport a Lifestyle” which recognized many champions but also journalists like Bezzi and Di Marzio who reported on the exploits of these champions. I liked the idea of including them in the book, who, while always working behind the scenes, also make a lot of sacrifices to achieve their goals.
You decided to tell eight stories in the book: which of them did you consider and then discard?
It was logistically difficult to tell much more even if I wanted to. I chose to cover several sports: fencing, swimming, football, walking, then two journalists. I’ve tried to summarize all the different sports in a 360 degree wrap, and I’ve also thought of diversifying them to keep readers interested in all the disciplines I’ve described.
The presentation of the book was quite successful, “a party within the party”. I am of course referring to Frosinone’s rise and am I asking you, was there a moment during the season when you felt your plans would somehow be dashed if the team didn’t reach their goal?
I asked myself this question too! As head of the press office, it would have been a joke for everyone if Frosinone hadn’t managed to get promoted to Serie A, as I had the idea of launching the book at the stadium together with Fabio Grosso. I would have done the same since everything was already organized and the date and place were already set when promotion was not yet certain. But fortunately it went that way, with a good response from the public.
You’ve chosen to tell the achievements of some champions, starting with what’s behind them and what we often don’t see. Did you ever think about failure while writing the book? Even behind them there is sacrifice, passion, etc., but failures are not celebrated as they sometimes deserve.
Even the champions talked about in the book told me about their failures: they all started with their “unhappiness” to find their happiness, and that’s a beautiful thing for me. In addition to the sacrifice, savoring the thought of defeat also contributes to growth. This question is the most pertinent because it is exactly what I wanted to clarify: even from failures we come to something fantastic, as in the case of Giuliana Salce; but also Stefano Pantano or the same journalists who are presented in the book.
Zoff told you, “I never saw sport as a way to become someone.” Is that the essence of all the stories you told on the opportunity to meet talent?
Zoff’s testimony was certainly the most telling of all: From the very first question, I was immediately in awe of his authoritarian voice; Then it cleared up and everything went great. I firmly believe that he never thought of doing sport to become someone else: he did sport for his well-being, out of a desire to do it. There is no better testimony.
With his contribution, Paolo Sellari (alongside that of Francesco Repice) touched on a very topical subject: “Sportwashing”. Last year we saw Qatar, now it’s Saudi Arabia’s turn. What do you think of what happens when so many champions put Arab money ahead of the prestige of European football?
Football is a very cyclical sport: once Serie A was the most beautiful championship in the world, then it was the turn of the Premier League and so on. But look at China: they behaved exactly like the Arabs and we all know what happened after that. I am convinced that the same will happen with Saudi Arabia: there the god of money counts more than talent, but the NBA, for example, is like European basketball. Every country has its own sport, and theirs is definitely not football.