The number 10



My career began in an amateur youth team where it came natural to place myself among midfielders and strikers. At 13 years old I went to Bologna and I played for every team of the youth sector as trequartista, a wonderful role because it allowed me to always be in the heart of the game, start the play, serve my team-mates or find the net. The nicest thing was being always very important for the team, in a few words the player who made a difference.


At 16 years old I made my debut in the Serie A. Unfortunately, Bologna were not a great team and so coach Burgnich decided to field me - with his and my great regret – as pure striker. There were rankings, balances and the fact that I also scored goals. I netted nine times, but Bologna were relegated and Sampdoria signed me. My wish for the following year was to finally play in my role, the trequartista.


The season started and my dream was shattered by the new coach when I told him what my expectations were and he got up and walked away. And there ended my dream before even starting. Today that I am no longer a football player, I am very happy with my career as a striker, but I think it would have been even better if I could have played in my natural role of trequartista. I say this because unfortunately a player with these features should be lucky to find a certain type of team, but above all a coach who also knows how to change his type of game.



I understand, and it is right, that a team has an organized game and balance, but I think there is always need for these great players who:

  • make a difference in many games;

  • take responsibility when things do not go well on and off the field;

  • help their less technically-skilled team-mates;

  • also help the coach when the team does not go well - and during the year, this can happen;

  • entertain the fans sometimes with extraordinary pieces of skill which can also make the coach angry.


Roberto Mancini's 2000/01 Master's Thesis for the professional coach certification.