Pietro Vierchowod: “The Italian national team”

Interview with a legend of the game.

This man, with the hollow and unfathomable face, Ukrainian blood in his veins and tenacity in his legs, had a reputation as a tough and tenacious goalscorer. He labeled his rivals. His shadow became a prison from which one could not escape. His breath on his neck was a cold wind like that blowing in the Soviet steppes, driving one out of the coveted region. And so it remains an odd taste, knowing that after a few springs you’ll be able to interview Peter Vierchowod, lo tsar our football is anything but easy.

He flees from being marked by the clerk on duty who wants to chat with him between the shores of Lake Como and the Lombard Prealps. Difficult undertaking, despite old friend Marco being towed away. And then all that’s left to do is pick up the phone, paper and pen and listen to the voice of one of the greatest defenders of all time. Between memories of a limitless career and a judgment on the present football. Approach. Honest and no nonsense. As usual.

Pietro Vierchowod, what was “his” football? The one who started life as a village boy in Italy in the 1970s?

A simple football that marked my days. School, lunch at home and then playing soccer all afternoon. And like me, thousands of Italian children. A passion that united everyone. Mainly football and many other team sports. The road, the field, the yard. We speak of a world that no longer exists. Back then, after 2 p.m., it was all about playing and having fun. They didn’t have all those technical distractions. Now, again from 2 p.m., most young people only think about…. Scrolling on a smartphone or clicking on a PC keyboard.

Does that mean young Italians aren’t loving the sport anymore?

let’s stop now The answer ist quite easy. I invite you every Sunday morning, as soon as the youth championships start again, to Milan or the Milan area, where I am working as an observer. At 11 players, about 8 they are foreigners and consequently they take space away from the Italians. Here is the answer. The reason? Difficult question to which I cannot give a precise answer, but I can say without hesitation that the consequences are visible. Here I am.

Do you mean the crisis of the national team?

Certainly. Just think of a trivial but effective comparison. In 1982 Enzo Bearzot called me, Bergomi and Franco Baresi to the World Cup in Spain. All three old between 21 and 23 years. Collovati himself was certainly not old and another baby ahead of Daniele Massaro. Let’s advance the story and get to the present. Not many make it into the senior team by the age of 23 and most boys either end up on the bench with the so-called big names or are settled in provinces B and C.

And yet, apart from the U21 players, the blue youth team brought home some satisfaction. Silver at the U20 World Cup and European Championship gold in Malta with the U19 players are the most recent joys.

True, but what is really happening? That we stay out of the World Cup for the second year in a row. Two times in a row! Just thinking about it is absurd. And yet we still had two match points ahead of Qatar after the European Championship. Two penalties awarded. Two missed penalties.

From the playmaker of the Italian European champions. In addition, a naturalized Brazilian returns to his speech.

Who also missed the penalty shootout in the final. I’ve known Roberto Mancini for a long time, I respect him as a coach and two summers ago we had an excellent season, but… maybe everything went too well. The Italian national team is there great difficulties, no need to hide it. At Euro 2020, the group had solidified and continued for a month. After the party we threw everything away, although there was little chance of staying home. And speaking of foreigners and locals, please don’t tell me that the boy playing for Genoa now is worth the blue starting shirt!

Any reference to Mateo Retegui is purely intentional.

It’s proof that the number of players that can be called up is really low. If foreigners are the rule and not the exception in Serie A, if our players aren’t valued from the start, how can one imagine strengthening the national team? I am for the obligation to put up a minimum number the Italian. Otherwise, can you tell me other solutions?

It must be remembered that foreigners were already there at the time he played.

Definitely, but shall we talk about the disastrous rift between them and the current ones? I played with Falcao, Prohaska, Souness, Francis, Cerezo, Deschamps. Not to mention the opponents. Only the best from abroad got into Serie A. Few, but very strong, real monsters. first choice names. A long decline followed, which has brought us to the present day. Out of ten players, two are strong, the rest are worth little or nothing.

Faced with the present, it is better to return to a memory of the past. A long career that began at a young age in Como and ended in Piacenza when he was over 40. He didn’t win the Scudetto with Fiorentina by a point, triumphed in Rome, won it all with Sampdoria and finally finished the Champions League with Juve. Did he feel like a leader or did he belong to a group with a winning mentality?

Maybe both. If I had to describe my career I would use one word. An adjective: unique.


Because of the various trophies won, three represent the epitome of uniqueness. Moments that rarely happen, that have delighted thousands of fans and in which I have been the protagonist. During the 1982-1983 championship in Rome, everyone reminded us that “only in Mussolini’s day” did the Giallorossi sew the Scudetto onto their chests. A little teasing and a little swearing. And instead, at the end of the year we did the deal. A feat that Capello then repeated with Totti on the field, but this triumph, precisely because it has waited 41 years, brings with it a different note.

A championship on loan. He wins and returns under the lantern.

Where Paolo Mantovani treated us like a father. There is no better description. And the 1991 Scudetto was born many years earlier. As a group began to cement. That hard core that stayed in Sampdoria to aspire to the tricolor enterprise. I, Vialli, Mancini, Pagliuca, Mannini, Pellegrini, Lombardo We were the base that Dossena, Cerezo and everyone else joined.

However, be careful. From the outside, and as La Bella Vacanza tells us, while we seemed like a group of friends, those who didn’t adapt to our work culture were left out. From 1985 to 1992 there was a block of seven to eight players that dragged everything. From the smugglers. Signings that lasted the length of a championship often left us because they couldn’t bond with us. That was our strength. Shoot straight to go to the dream. Even at the price of rejecting some new comrades.

However, in the documentary, even among you senators, some nonsense is told.

More than one. We all had strong characters. I, Mancio, Pagliuca. We argued a lot, but it was all over after ten minutes. On the field as in Bogliasco. We were True friends, before athletes. And with a great president like Mantovani. A father, I want to emphasize that again. We gave everything for him.

It’s time to take off the mask and reaffirm my black and white support. And ask her about the sensations of that May evening at the Olimpico in Rome.

Scudetto with Roma, with Samp and Champions with Juve. That’s what I mean by uniqueness. So much so that after that only the Giallorossi won this trophy again. I remember the days leading up to the final with ease. We seemed to fit Training for a friendly game. Instead we met the reigning champion. This Ajax was very strong. Litmanen, Davids, Canoe. I remember Musampa, very quickly, he drove us crazy.

And yet, we we were silent. When the Dutch were strong, we were very strong. The best Juventus ever for me. Luca (Vialli, ed), Pinturicchio (Del Piero, ed), Paulo Sousa, Peruzzi. Better than all before and after. Victory was certain for us. I only regret one thing.


I still can’t figure out how We couldn’t win in the 90 minutes, where we played better and made too many mistakes. But even in the penalty shoot-out we were calm. Cyrus (Ferrara) went to the penalty spot with a smile, as did Jugovic. I hid when Lippi was looking for the five shooters (Laugh, ed), but we were really on the right track. I tagged Litmanen and I think I had an excellent race. To be honest, I didn’t expect Peruzzi to clear the ball in goal like that, otherwise they never would have scored.

Has this success overcome the disappointment at Wembley Stadium?

No, Wembley stays and will stay. Despite the defeat, pride remains in eliminating the defending champions with a 3-1 win over Red Star in Sofia. We played on a neutral field because the winds of war were already blowing in Belgrade. And when Jugovic scored, I was also very happy, because for me, Luca and Attilio it meant a little revenge after four years.

I can’t remember a celebration as incredible as that of many of my teammates on May 22, 1996. And when I think about who won nine league titles with Juventus, I have to smile. Try to win a Champions League league in Turin and then we’ll talk about it. Juve have won and will win many more leagues, but how many have won the Champions Cup? Not even Zidane or Cristiano Ronaldo managed to do that.

Two greats, like Diego Maradona, who took away our dream of winning the Magical Nights World Cup.

That was a double disappointment. For the defeat and for my exclusion. On the morning of July 3rd I was in the starting XI and in the evening on the substitutes’ bench. What happened? Any pressure calls? We’ll never know. We played great throughout the tournament. Even at the San Paolo, although support was not uniform. We dropped a lot in the second half. To.

We were tired, everyone defended and two changes had to be made. Me over Maradona and Ancelotti in midfield block their midfield. Vicini let in Baggio and Serena. A second striker and a centre-forward. I never understood the logic. Also because there would have been no story with Germany in the final. We were stronger and had the drive of a nation.

Has the coach ever explained this exclusion to you?

No. I remember that at the end of the game he told me that I would play the final in Bari. A game nobody was interested in. I sent him to this country. We won against the English, but with a bitter aftertaste that I will never forget.

Baggio, Serena, Ancelotti and Vierchowod on the bench. In the semi-finals of a World Cup. A little over thirty years have passed, and yet it seems as if a century has passed. Then the eyes open and we return to the harsh current situation. The Tsar was right. To say it with the great Arpino: A dark blue future awaits us.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *