As a player Lorenzo Spagnoli he had neither the times of insertion of Frattesi, nor the race of Maxime Lopez. But with that right he put it where he wanted. Remote controlled. In Ciccio Graziani’s Cervia free-kicks and corner kicks were his stuff. Do you remember? He was the protagonist and winner of the first edition of the realty show ‘Campioni – Il Sogno’ aired on Italia 1 in 2004. When the Spanish spotlight went out, he continued to work in the world of football, becoming president of that Imolese where on the bench, 2018-19 season, there was Alessio Dionisi. Yes him. The Sassuolo hero who broke the stadium: “The night before the game I heard Alessio to wish him good luck – Spagnoli tells us exclusively at Calciomercato.com – and I reminded him of when we watched Juventus in the Champions League together three years ago. “
Is Dionisi a Juventus fan like you too?
“A little less than me, let’s say sympathizer. The real fan is me”.
And what did you write to you after the victory at the Stadium?
“I haven’t heard from him yet, I wait a few days because now he will be invaded by phone calls. I want to leave him alone, because I know how much he is committed to his work and now he has another game to prepare”.
What did he say to the players in the locker room?
“That in a few days there is an even more difficult match. I know him, he will already be thinking about the next match trying to bring his attention back to the maximum”.
How long have you known each other?
“The first time we met we were 16 years old: I played for Verona and he for Fiorentina. There was also the possibility of becoming teammates because the Gialloblù were about to take him, but after 10/15 days of training together the clubs didn’t they found an agreement and returned to Florence. Then we found ourselves in Imola “.
Let’s take a step back, 2018-19 season: Imolese rescued in extremis in Serie C, she is the president and Dionisi the coach. How did you choose it?
“The year before he was coaching Fiorenzuola in the same Serie D group as ours. At the end of the season we chose him to do the D championship, without knowing that we would be fished out. When they told us that we would play in C they called me many agents to propose others. more experienced coaches, convinced that I would not have kept Dionisi “.
“Instead, I gave him the utmost confidence, despite the fact that he still didn’t even have a coaching license and we needed an exemption to send him to the bench. I believed so much in him that after a few months we immediately signed a three-year renewal.”
39 years old Spagnoli, 39 years old Dionisi.
“And one more than us is the sports director Ghinassi, who went to see him many times with Fiorenzuola and chose him with me. Being peers was our strength, we understood each other with a glance”.
What is the thing that struck you the most about Dionysus?
“Obviously winning ideas also make a difference, but Alessio’s best quality is intelligence”.
Among many advantages it will also have a defect.
“He has many. But in this moment so happy for him I prefer to keep them for myself.”
Would you ever have expected one day to see him on a Serie A bench?
“Not so soon, but I knew it would come sooner or later. He has a different light than the others, he’s predestined.”
How has it changed in recent years in the leap from Serie C to Serie A?
“In managing players. The best quality he has is intelligence, he can immediately understand the moment and manage it. Being able to keep an important dressing room under control like that of Sassuolo is not like doing it at Imolese. It’s more complicated,” there are players from the national team. But he is very good at this and I think he has improved over the years. “
Is there anyone who criticized him for leaving Empoli in the summer?
“If we analyze his path as a coach, it has always been linear: he had a three-year contract with Imolese but rightly after just one season he chose to go to Venice. And after a year he went to Empoli. He stayed there too for only 12 months, then he chose Sassuolo “.
So next year …
“Will he go away? Better than Sassuolo there are only those four / five teams”.
Would you see him on some bench?
“If Gasperini’s cycle in Bergamo were to end shortly, Dionisi would be the ideal coach for Atalanta.”
You were one of the three winners of the first edition of ‘Campioni – Il Sogno’, what effect did seeing your name have on the Juve shirt?
“It was an incredible emotion, my family is all Juventus. I grew up with the Juventus shirts, I still remember the matches at the stadium in Turin with my father. That month and a half of training with Juve was the best of mine. life, also thinking of my father who was at home watching me on TV and I was playing friendlies together with Trezeguet, Del Piero and all the other champions. “
And he also scored a goal from a penalty kick.
“Yes, against Pavia. I got it myself, so Mutu, who was the penalty taker at the time, made me shoot him.”
And how did it go?
Do you have any regrets about not having become a high-level footballer?
“A little yes. I did all the youth teams in Verona, then four years in Serie C where I met Ciccio Graziani who proposed me the reality show. Initially I was hesitant, in the end he convinced me”.
Going back would you do it again?
“At the level of life it was certainly a good experience, but if I have to think about the goal he had, that is to showcase future players, then no, I wouldn’t do it again. Sportingly it was penalizing: they put us in a bubble as TV characters, not as footballers “.
Can you tell us an anecdote from those days?
“I will never forget the first training match in Salice Terme, in which after a thousand feints Ibra sits Buffon and scores. I was on the pitch, but I cheered like a fan. At that moment I felt like one of them.”
What are you doing today?
“For now I have left the world of football, I sold the Imolese in July and now I enjoy my family. I am a taxi driver for my children, I play padel and I am passionate about horses”.
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