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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Translated Excerpts: "È molto semplice" by Massimiliano Allegri

Image credit: Sperling & Kupfer.

Massimiliano Allegri, the current manager of Juventus F.C., writes his first book that details his philosophy about football, sport, and life provided in 32 concise rules. 

Mr. Allegri discusses his typical weekly training regimen during the season along with over 40 years of observations as a player and manager.

There is also a self-help and motivational element beyond the central footballing theme. This book will become an important addition to football management education from one of the game's top coaching talents.


1. Organized Format.
2. Writing Style.
3. A Few Notable Quotes.
4. About the Author.

Italian to English translations by Steve Amoia of World Football Commentaries.

"After almost 40 years of competitive activity, first as a player and then as a coach, I have decided to reopen my notes that have accompanied me on this teaching voyage about football. They are those annotations which today give me the strength and courage to put down in writing my experience in the scope of sharing it with you. In short, this book in one part gives a confession to all that I have learned in football and from the world of football. But on the other hand, that which was taught to me and internalized up until the point of developing my own footballing and sporting belief."

--- Massimiliano Allegri, author of "È molto semplice" (It's Very Simple), quoted in the Introduction, in a book published by Sperling & Kupfer in April 2019 with list prices of EUR 19,91 and EUR 10,99, respectively.

Mister Allegri has now won five Serie A Scudetti on the trot and six overall. That type of trophy haul places him one behind the legendary Giovanni Trapattoni in this particular category. He was an unheralded, yet gifted, midfielder in the 1980s and 1990s scoring 12 goals one year for Pescara. Playing during Serie A's salad years obviously imbued a strong footballing identity on Allegri in terms of how he interprets the game.

Allegri has always impressed me as a serious student of the game. His early Serie A work at Cagliari, where he won a "Panchina d'Oro" (Manager of the Year award), placed him on a wider radar. His first major bench came at AC Milan where he won a Scudetto but was later sacked. Between his time at Milan and Juve, Allegri spent time in London, England, where he studied the language and English football, respectively.

Allegri is also a manager who understands how to motivate top players and utilize his entire roster. According to OPTA on 28 April 2019, in 34 games this season, Allegri has sent out 34 different formations. During his five years at Juventus, 181 out of 186 league games have had a new formation. His preferred formations at Juventus are 3-5-2, 4-3-3, and 4-4-2, respectively.

Keeping things simple seems to be the author's personal and managerial mantra. I would like to provide you with a taste of Allegri's writing. Let's take a brief look at this book's intriguing, informative and educational content with selected translated excerpts. 

1. Organized Format

I worked with the Kindle edition; however, there are 230 pages in the paper version according to the publisher. Allegri provides a detailed introduction and then outlines his 32 rules in as many chapters. There is also an additional chapter entitled, "Coaching Cristiano Ronaldo."

For example, here are a few of Allegri's rules to give you an idea how he organized this book:

Rule 1: "If they would have taught us less, we would have learned more."

Rule 3: "Simplicity is the most difficult thing. The more you drop down in playing divisions, the less that players pass the ball. Because they want to show how good they are." 

Rule 6: "If you want to develop talent, allow young people to express themselves freely."

Rule 8: "The instant to win at the Roulette table is brief. If you don't take it, defeat is almost certain."

Rule 12: "The importance of saying only three simple things to players."

Rule 17: "Always give a player what he needs; not what he wants."

Rule 21: "To win, play the game in your mind. If you are not satisfied, play it again."

Rule 26: "Everyone can play with a football. Not everyone can play football."

Rule 30: "Footballers are like race horses. Every once in a while, you have to send them out to pasture."

2. Writing Style

As a Tuscan, the author has inherited an exalted appreciation of the written word and expresses himself clearly. I read and reviewed his FIGC (Italian Federation) UEFA Pro coaching thesis on "The Characteristics of Three Midfielders in a Three-Man Midfield." It was a concisely brilliant thesis and I anticipated a similar level of writing quality with his first book. 

Allegri uses language that even a non-football savvy audience will understand. His writing style is more akin to a one-on-one discussion between friends. The sports of basketball and horse racing, respectively, also have had an effect on his philosophy. 

3. A Few Notable Quotes

"In this environment, I tried to learn from everyone by looking inside myself as a child who has a sacrosanct desire for knowledge in order to improve himself." 

"I've read a lot about football, but not only about football... Many times, I have followed lessons from corporate leadership. I'm convinced that a football club is not very dissimilar to a Board of Directors from a great company..."

"Football, just like basketball, is a splendid machine that assembles so many components. It will never take only one man to win but the team as a unit."

"I didn't try to write a cult book but only of what I am and what I have learned."

--- Quoted in the Introduction.

"Teaching, on the other hand, is the most difficult occupation in the world." --- Quoted in Rule 1.

"He is an extraordinary manager who has made Juventus a solid team." --- Sir Alex Ferguson quoted in Rule 1.

"He is a great manager. He succeeds to get the best out of everyone. He has experience and a practical sense..." --- Carlo Ancelotti quoted in Rule 2.

"Allegri? He doesn't understand anything... I would give him a suggestion. Comb your hair before you do interviews." --- Silvio Berlusconi quoted in Rule 2.

"In football, simplicity is the most difficult concept to teach." --- Quoted in Rule 3.

"Due to my own experience, you only have three minutes at your disposal to speak (at the break)." --- Quoted in Rule 3.

4. About the Author

Massimiliano Allegri:

Born in Livorno in 1967, he is considered one of the best football managers in the world. This is his first book.

Biographical text courtesy of Sterling & Kupfer.

(c) 2019 Sterling & Kupfer, S.p.A.

Please Note:

I did not receive a review copy from the publisher, Sperling & Kupfer. I was not financially compensated by the publisher, the author, or by any party who would benefit from a positive portrayal.

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Steve Amoia is a freelance writer and translator based in Washington, D.C. He has been the publisher of World Football Commentaries since 2006 and published The Soccer Translator from 2008 to 2015. He has also contributed at AC Cugini Scuola Calcio, Beyond The Pitch, Football Media, Italian Soccer Serie A.com, Keeper Skool, and Soccerlens (Sportslens), respectively.

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