AC Siena president Massimo Mezzaroma spoke to Italian television channel Sport 1 about his former coach Antonio Conte.
Conte wants a lot out of his players. Could he push them over the edge?
“I don’t think so, because Antonio is exigent with himself first. He’s relentless. Back in his days with us [at Siena] it was useless to phone him before the following Tuesday – this was true for us and for his wife too. He invests 110% of himself. He is the true value-added at Juventus. The coaching talent, which is on the decline, is one of the problem of Italian football. Antonio is among the few who truly make a difference”.
When Conte told you that he had to leave your club to join Juventus, what was your reaction?
“I called Agnelli up immediately and asked him: ‘Are you sure you want him? You’re welcoming a headache, stock up on your Aspirin’. Because Antonio is a hammer: he’s a hammer at practice, he’s a hammer on the players, he’s a hammer during the transfer windows, he breathes down the Sporting Director’s neck. He’s a hammer on everything, because he’s a perfectionist, from the size of the blades of grass on the field – if it’s short, too short, or too tall – to the jerseys and to where the players live. In other words, he wants to inculcate in his players brains that to be a footballer is first of all to be an athlete, to lead a life that revolves around practice and matches. Above this world of effort, rules and charisma there is him”.
Is it true that Conte included a clause that would have obliged Siena to free him if Juventus came knocking?