Legendary Italian footballer Gianluca Zambrotta never shied away from taking the bull by the horn in his illustrious career and now in his second avatar as a manager he certainly doesn’t mince words when it comes to baring his mind.
For a man who nearly completed a century of caps for thenbsp;Azzurrinbsp;and won the Holy Grail–the World Cup India is still a far cry from his old stomping grounds that were once Barcelona and Milan. And he admits he is taken aback by the fast and furious nature of the ISL.
ldquo;India is a large country and there are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration. One travels a great deal between matches which adds to the fatigue.
ldquo;Those foreign players who think the ISL is a fun sojourn are sorely mistaken. The league is no holiday and anyone who canrsquo;t understand that should pack their bags and go back. Games come thick and fast and that is why my coaching staff and myself have paid utmost attention to detailrdquo; he said.
Delhi have been improving in each instalment of the ISL and fans are pumped up after an extremely impressive pre-season.
Zambrotta is calmly confident of ending the capital’s dreary run in all domestic leagues across different sports.
ldquo;Pre-season left very little to be desired and the West Brom game was indeed a highlight. We are playing well as a unit and should every player perform his job there is very little we canrsquo;t do. Football is a team game and our group is improving every day as we get closer to the tournament.quot;
The stress on the collective isn’t lost for he was part of the side that famously lifted the 2006 World Cup without having a superstar in their ranks. Italy were impregnable as a defensive unit and were absolutely clinical in attack to lift that famous trophy for the fourth time in their chequered history.
ldquo;Yes I am in touch with my former team matenbsp;Marco Materazzi the Chennaiyin manager. We spoke at length about India as a country and the ISL as a league. He spoke highly of a league that is still developing and his words helped me finalise a shift to Delhirdquo; Zambrotta confirms.
Understandably guarded about his strategy the Como native says ldquo;We will take each game as it comes and prepare accordingly. Yes the minimum I demand from my team and myself is a play-off appearance. Having said that football is a very dynamic sport and the conditions are ever-changing so you will just have to wait and watch.rdquo;
All business the wiry Italian who hasn’t been around town much calmly shrugs off sightseeing questions with a smile and declares ldquo;I think my first tour of the city should be in an open-top parade with the ISL trophy don’t you think?rdquo;