In Part 2 of a 3-part interview, Montreal Impact midfielder Marco Donadel discusses his admiration for Cesare Prandelli at Fiorentina, his indifferent attitude at Napoli and what sparked his desire to leave Italy for Major League Soccer.
Italian Football Daily: “At Fiorentina, under the guidance of Cesare Prandelli, you really established yourself in Serie A. You wore the Viola jersey 184 times. What relationship did you have with Prandelli and what were the motivations that allowed you to perform at your best in Florence?”
Marco Donadel: “My first full year in Serie A was spent at Parma. I was 20, and was coached by Prandelli there. He works a lot with young players and helps you to improve but doesn’t reward you. It was the perfect situation for a young player to grow, because often you find a coach who teaches you a lot but also pampers you, which is what happens now – clubs will play young players and give them chance after chance so, knowing you’ll get many opportunities, you never perform at your fullest. Instead, Prandelli was great at handling young players. He never rewarded me but taught me a lot. I had him at Parma, then he went on to Roma and I left for Sampdoria. I arrived at Fiorentina 6 months before him. Fiorentina wasn’t doing well and when the search went out for a new coach, I gave my opinion on Prandelli and we were together for five years. Fiorentina then was very good, we’d consistently reach 3rd, 4th place with many young players that developed under him. He helped us and we helped him reach his and the club’s goals. We were like soldiers because we did everything to the fullest and it was a perfect environment.”
IFD: “After six seasons you moved to Napoli where, in three years, you only played four Serie A games before your loan to Verona. Why were you not able to settle in Naples?”
MD: “It all started badly, partly because I wasn’t entirely happy to go there. A cycle had ended in Florence but my head was probably still there. My desire was to stay in Florence, but I was pushed to join Napoli. They wanted me more than I wanted them. But I found myself in a strong team. I played as a starter in the early stages of pre-season and then I had an injury and it took a while to determine the severity of it and it basically forced me to miss my entire first season. So when you’re not playing for an entire year in that environment, the rumors start and you already don’t want to be there, so you can imagine the desire you have to stay there after one year. To be honest, I didn’t give it my all and my desire was always to leave so I basically lost two years of my career – one to injury and one to my own indifference. I didn’t feel confident and I didn’t feel trusted by the club. Having said that, it’s a wonderful environment, I hope they win the scudetto because there are great people there but it just wasn’t for me.”
IFD: “At the end of 2014 you joined the Montreal Impact. How did you receive the offer and what factors led you to choose to come to MLS?”
MD: “During the two years I was at Napoli, a lot changed in Serie A. The dynamics changed between teams that are determined to win and other teams, sometimes as many as 10 or 12, that are just hoping to survive the drop. And once they’ve achieved that, they try to increase the value of their players, they try to make money. Serie A is like that even today. I didn’t see a future for me. I did a year at Verona giving my all, hoping it wouldn’t be like that but I realized I was right. Clubs put economic interests ahead of sporting ones. I can’t be in an environment where there isn’t a desire to win every game, where players who deserve to play don’t, where the best lineup to win isn’t fielded and I was afraid there were a lot of teams like that. I reached a point where the top 7 or 8 teams weren’t interested in me. I still wanted to play every day. I didn’t want to be on the bench or in the stands from game to game. For this reason, I rescinded my contract with Napoli and just hoped for an opportunity where a team would choose me as an everyday player and not as a veteran player who would be called on if a young player got hurt. I wouldn’t accept those conditions. At the same time, this opportunity presented itself. I came here and fell in love right away, mostly because of the people involved. I’ve always made decisions based on the people I meet. Yes, you encounter difficulties but when you have people around you that want to give their utmost and do well, the rest is easier. It was a bit of a leap of faith but I was right because it’s a good environment here and in the end, you have to enjoy your football. The game isn’t limited to Italy. Soccer is played everywhere at elite levels. I was in Mexico with the Impact for the Champions League and I saw an incredible level there. Players are paid millions of dollars and Mexico reached the Round of 16 at the World Cup last year and we (Italy) were eliminated. We have to get out of our cocoon, thinking that we’re the best in the world or we’ll continue to lose ground.”