La Meglio Gioventù

In the wake of Claudio Ranieri's leaving the club, it gazed inwards. It reminisced on a relationship now well into its second decade, a relationship which had indeed been good to them both. The club had won with him, he had won with the club. Now they decided to try it again, in a new role. The previously worn-out and geriatric player looked like the epitome of freshness in his new role as manager. Enthusiasm abounded. Italy's coach predicted success for him, and heralded his knowledge and dedication.

A couple of months later Ciro Ferrara was fired by Juventus.


Now, the same doesn't need to happen to Montella just because the opening paragraph could just as well have been about him. The point is this: let's avoid falling into the same trap Juventus fell into when appointing Pep Guardiola and suggest that these comparisons and predictions are helpful. When Ferrara was hired by Juventus, Pep had just won the CL in his first season as manager for Barcelona, and was in fashion. The Turin papers spoke of "our Pep", and a "Guardiola in black and white". Guardiola was perhaps not unique, but destined to be a coach. He became one long before his peak as an active player had arrived. Ferrara, while an intelligent defender, does not carry the same predisposition to coaching as Pep does. I'm not sure Montella does either, but rather than trying to pin him to either of the two extremes Pep and Ferrara, let's try to let him be himself and judge him on that alone. Shall we?