Maurizio Sarri: “The Only Sustainable Football Is English Football

Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri, the Lazio boss, expressed that he believes English football is the only sustainable form of the sport. He also shared regret about leaving England for Italy.

The 64-year-old Italian coach tenure at Chelsea saw the team secure a third-place finish in the Premier League and win the UEFA Europa League in the 2018-2019 season.

His tactical style, known as “Sarri-ball,” emphasized possession and quick passing, leaving a mark despite his single-season stint at the club.

Sarri joined Lazio as their manager after leaving Chelsea in June 2019 and has impressed at the club, taking them back to the Champions League with a second-place finish last season.

The team are now in a strong position in their fight for Round of 16 qualification.

Sarri was strongly connected to a move to Saudi Arabia during the summer but has consistently expressed in interviews that he intends to finish his career at Lazio.

His ongoing contract with the club is set to conclude in the summer of 2025.

In his conversation with La Repubblica, Sarri initially shared his perspective on the congested schedule prevalent in contemporary football.

He said:

“I’ve been talking about it for five years, yet they accuse me of just looking for excuses.

These days in Spain the world is coming down over Gavi’s injury, they call it the UEFA Virus.

I hope someone has the intellectual honesty to recognize that I’ve been saying certain things all my life.”

He explained why he believes English football is the only sustainable system.

“The only sustainable football is English football, the most traditional, where on Saturday afternoons there is no match on TV because people crowd the stadiums of the minor categories.

“The FA Cup final is the most watched match in the world after the Champions League final, yet for a hundred years it has always had the same rituals and is played at Wembley, not in Arabia. Do you want to say something?”

The Italian coach emphasized the significance of emotions within the realm of football.

“There is an attempt not to make the movement fall into globalization. So, they are all rich, while our rich are the poor of Europe.

Football is an emotional sport. if you take away the emotion, for television it is certainly not the best show in the world.

“The child who goes to the stadium keeps the emotions alive, but there is no future if they focus on the highlights audience.”

He offered several recommendations to enhance football both in Italy and across Europe.

“Maximum 50 games. We could at least start with the small things, such as giving up summer tours and bringing the Coppa Italia back to August even for the big teams,

making them play on the pitches of the Serie C teams, who would then earn money to survive all year.


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“But they would certainly tell us that there is a public order problem why Juve cannot go to Campobasso.

The Coppa Italia is a clandestine event tailor-made for the television audience of the final rounds. But that’s not football, it’s Bayern losing to a third-tier side.”

Sarri looked back on his experiences leading Napoli and now managing Lazio.

“If we refer to the years in Napoli, I cannot and must not necessarily play that type of football, even if people always expect the same way of playing from me.

Having playmakers is not like having counter-attackers, I have to adapt, Lazio can never be like Napoli.

“Let’s take Immobile: he must attack depth and not play against his best qualities.

The other day he asked me: ‘Mister, what should I do to go back to the way I was before?’

“I replied to him: ‘Do what you’ve always done, don’t come towards the ball, keep digging into the opposing defence, playing on them’.”

Sarri was asked if he’d consider taking on a job in Saudi Arabia in the future.

“Can you smoke in Arabia? Yes? Then we’ll see. However, it is not something programmable today.

If I think about the future, I would like to be the coach of Lazio at the Stadio Flaminio.

“It’s a project that Lotito believes in, even though he obviously wants guarantees, it’s not like everything can be stopped if an amphora

He discussed his tenure at Juventus and explained why he believed leaving the Premier League was a mistake.

“Everything was owed at Juve, and we just had to win the Champions League, but it was a tainted message.

I won the league with a group at the end of a cycle and a club that took me on because they had the desire but not the conviction to change their style.

“At Chelsea, I found it difficult to immerse myself in an atypical club, without a sporting director, where no coach could last two years.

“But then in the last few months I had fun, and I was wrong in wanting to leave,

not so much from Chelsea, who would have kept me, but from the Premier League, a context of unique beauty. Returning to Italy was a mistake.”


Maurizio Sarri‘s team will play an away match against Salernitana on Saturday evening, followed by a home game against Celtic on Tuesday night in the UEFA Champions League.

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