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Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Donadoni Era Comes to an Abrupt Halt

Spain v Italy - Euro 2008 Quarter Final
Image details: Spain v Italy - Euro 2008 Quarter Final served by picapp.com

Today, the Donadoni era came to an abrupt end.

Since he did not arrive at the semi-finals of Euro 2008, a clause was exercised in his recent contract.

Mister Donadoni and the FIGC (Italian FA) decided to part ways. Being the gentleman that he is, Mr. Donadoni will not receive a severance package.

"I don't even want a Euro."
"Dispiace che un calcio di rigore abbia determinato questa situazione - è il primo commento dell'ormai ex c.t. -. In questi due anni la mia Italia ha fatto anche qualcosa di positivo, un'ultima partita non può cancellarlo".

"E' stata un'esperienza stupenda che rifarei domattina senza cambiare nulla."

"It's a shame that a penalty kick has determined this situation - it was the first comment of the now former head coach. In these two years my Italy had done something positive, the last game can't cancel it."

"It has been an extraordinary experience that I would refer to tomorrow morning without changing a thing."
Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 26 June 2008.

With those few words, he left as he had arrived two years ago. With grace, humility, and modesty.

Doomed from the Start

He took over after a scandal, Calciopoli, that rocked Italian football, and also had to follow in the legendary footsteps of Marcello Lippi. He had very little managerial experience, and only one year in the Serie A with a small club, Livorno. His credentials as a player were exemplary; however, this job may have been too much too soon. He was one of the youngest ever (42) to manage the Azzurri.

His Record
13 wins, 4 draws, and 6 losses.
I count the last game with Spain as a loss. Officially, it ended in a tie.
That works out to 62.5% wins, 17% ties, and 26.5% losses. He had three competitive losses (France, The Netherlands, and Spain). Compared to his predecessor, and likely replacement, Mr. Lippi, he did not fare as well. Mr. Lippi lost only one competitive game (to Slovenia and thank you to my friend, Artie, who pointed it out to me the other day), and had a record of 18-9-2.

A few years ago, Donadoni was in the radar of US Soccer President, Professor Sunil Gulati. Donadoni played for the Metrostars during 1996 and 1997 as one of the marquee signings of the new Major League Soccer.

It will be interesting to see his next destination. He has the potential to be a very good manager; however, he was thrust into a situation where few would have succeeded. I recall a quote by Gennaro "Rino" Gattuso: "Donadoni always tells you to your face what he is thinking."

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