It may be that you’ve never heard of Alessio Tacchinardi. Unless you followed calcio more than a decade ago or are a Juventus fan, his name probably doesn’t jump out at you.
The defensive midfielder played only 13 times for Italy, but he’s a club legend with the Old Lady, plying his trade there for 13 seasons and winning 17 trophies. His name is one the 50 former players immortalised on the Walk of Fame around the new Juventus Stadium.
You know who else is on the Walk of Fame? Antonio Conte. The two played together at Juventus for ten years. And it looks like the fierce bond which ties together people who fight for a common cause hasn’t weakened since they retired.
Tacchinardi is giving what you might call a full-throated defense of his embattled compatriot. His target is the easiest one in the world, the media.
“Honestly, I hope he leaves Chelsea because this season he has been a target like a pigeon. Right since the first game they have started a media massacre against him.
”Last year they let him work, but this time right from the start they put him against his own chairman for the transfers.”
Yeah, full-throated sounds about right. You’ll notice that Tacchinardi isn’t buying the narrative that the relationship between Chelsea’s manager and his bosses is fractured, perhaps beyond healing. What he does buy into is that our manager is a man who can be a slave to his emotions, sometimes to his own detriment.
“Antonio, to me, is one of the top three in the world but he needs to be super motivated. He needs to go happy and serene to the training ground and not bothered by all these things because he is passionate.”
There’s no denying that both on the sideline and in press conferences this season, Conte has been considerably more subdued than he was in our title-winning season. Certainly our results would take the puff out of any manager’s sails.
On the other hand, Tacchinardi fought and suffered alongside Conte in Juve’s midfield for a decade. If anyone’s qualified to speak about how he responds to difficult emotions, you’d think he’d be high on the list.
Regardless, his point is a valid one. Conte didn’t feel supported as Juventus’ manager and he eventually left. Judging by his comments, it looks like he doesn’t feel supported at Chelsea either.
If Tacchinardi is right about everything else, then let him be wrong about this one thing: that he hopes Conte will leave. Let Chelsea and their emotional manager work together once the season ends, enjoy a strong summer transfer window and go into battle again next season with a gaffer whom everyone recognises as one of the top coaches in the world.