Hall of Fame

A message from Conte, one of the new Hall of Fame members: “Come on, lads. We need to make it to the World Cup”

The former Azzurri Head Coach on his award: “A great source of pride and satisfaction: it means being alongside figures who have made history in Italian football”

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

A message from Conte, one of the new Hall of Fame members: “Come on, lads. We need to make it to the World Cup”

After Sacchi, Trapattoni, Lippi and Mancini, Antonio Conte is the fifth Azzurri Head Coach to enter the Italian Football Hall of Fame in the Coach category. It represents further recognition for someone who has enjoyed huge success in the game, with the charismatic tactician also picking up plenty of wins on the pitch and in the dugout with the Azzurri. “For me, this award is a great source of pride and satisfaction: it means being alongside figures who have made history in Italian football.”

As a player, he won five Scudetto titles and also got his hands on the UEFA Cup, Champions League and Intertoto Cup; with the Azzurri, he finished as a runner-up at the 1994 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship. His coaching career has seen him achieve two promotions to Serie A (with Bari and Siena), lead Juventus to three consecutive league triumphs and two Supercoppa Italiana successes, become a Premier League and FA Cup winner with Chelsea, as well as win the Scudetto with Inter. But we shouldn’t forget the two years he spent in the Azzurri dugout, during which Italy progressed to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.

The Hall of Fame Jury decided to induct Conte the coach, but, given all the trophies he won, he could have also been inducted in the ‘Player’ category. “I think that I’ve received this recognition after both my playing and coaching careers were taken into account. I’ve been on significant journeys in both cases, being lucky and good enough to win practically everything there was to win. Unfortunately, I haven’t had trophy success with the National Team, finishing as a World Cup and European Championship runner-up. As a coach, I’m trying to continue being successful.”

A No.15 Italy shirt worn at USA ’94 is the relic that Conte has given the Football Museum. At Coverciano, Conte has experienced some unforgettable moments: “Entering Coverciano is always thrilling. Entering the gate stirs up strong emotions, especially because I experienced this as a player and then particularly as the National Team Head Coach. It’s a unique feeling, and Coverciano will always be my home.”

In May, when two editions of the Hall of Fame will be celebrated following last year’s postponement due to Covid, Conte will be officially recognised alongside Carlo Mazzone, under whom he became a key figure for Lecce after his debut under Fascetti: “I’ve always said that, during my career, I was lucky to play under highly successful coaches, like Trapattoni, Sacchi, Ancelotti and Zoff. At the same time, two were fundamental: Fascetti and Mazzone. They left a mark during the most important moment of my career: when you’re young, you need the carrot-and-stick approach. I’ll always be grateful to them; they played a crucial role in allowing me to become what I’ve become.”

Andrea Pirlo has been inducted into the Hall of Fame in the ‘Player’ category. Conte coached him during his spells with the National Team and Juve, while he played alongside him for Italy. “Pirlo is one of the few people in the world of football with whom I share moments off the pitch when possible, along with our families too. He’s an exceptional person, and it was a pleasure to be his coach when some thought that his career was pretty much over after leaving Milan. Along with Buffon and Del Piero, he was one of those who helped me the most in leading a young group of lads to win that first title and start a new winning cycle at Juventus. As for Nesta, I had a great time with him with the National Team; he’s a great guy and was one of the finest Italian defenders ever.”

Conte also spoke about Lele Oriali: “I had the pleasure to meet him when I became the Italy Head Coach. Then, we enjoyed two fantastic years at Inter which culminated in winning the Scudetto. He helped me a lot in both situations and always manages to bring something extra to the team and especially the coach. He is a hard worker and someone you can rely on; he always puts the team’s interests ahead of his own, completely dedicating himself to the group. We hold each other in high esteem and, when there’s a chance, we meet away from the pitch, with our families present too.”

Right now, the National Team are preparing for the World Cup play-offs. The message Conte has reflects the fact that he’s someone who has never forgotten his love of Italy: “We definitely haven’t been lucky, both in the group stage and with the draw. However, we’re Italy and know full well what to do. We’re the Champions of Europe, let’s not forget that. It certainly won’t be easy because the strongest sides in the play-offs are Italy and Portugal; however, I think we have what we need to qualify. We need to make it to the World Cup.”