Interview: Nicola Caricola (Former Juventus and Genoa Defender)

Posted on 22/10/2010


Football Italia’s Rossella Marrai talks exclusively to former Juventus and Genoa defender Nicola Caricola

You enjoyed many successful years in Serie A with the likes of Genoa and Juventus. How does it feel to have played for two highly respected sides?

First of all to play professional football is an experience that is most beautiful to anyone who loves the sport. When you play for a big team like Juventus or Genoa – who are the oldest side in Italy – you feel great because you have the best job in the world and you enjoy it because it is your passion. I believe there is nothing better in the world than to enjoy the work you do.

You were a part of the Juventus squad that won the European Cup in 1985 against Liverpool. That Final will always be remembered for the tragedy of Heysel. How was it for you to experience and bear witness to such terrible scenes? 

I can say that I would have preferred to win a normal championship in Italy, or a Serie B title, or many other things because that European Cup Final was one of the saddest victories in the history of football and also my career. Therefore, I don’t feel that victory as one of the top triumphs in my career. The game was won, but tragedy is all I remember.

Of course, Italy’s recent Euro 2012 qualifier against Serbia was called off due to crowd trouble. What did you make of those scenes?

It led me to think of one Serie A game in the past, Genoa against Milan, which saw a man [Vincenzo Spagnolo] killed before the game. It’s very sad because this is happening more and more in Italy, it’s just not right that a game is suspended because 200 people try to create violence for political matters. Sport is sport, and it is for everybody to enjoy, where fans can scream and shout and support their own team.

How do you feel about the likelihood that Italy will be awarded the three points without having played the game? 

FIFA and UEFA create rules to try and avoid these things from happening again and they have to implement a punishment on the team – even if the team wasn’t at fault. Therefore, they have to take measures for the fans to understand that these things cannot happen. Unfortunately I don’t see any other way to avoid this type of problem.

What are your thoughts on Cesare Prandelli as Coach of the Azzurri?

I played for four years with Cesare at Juventus. He is a wonderful man, he was a fantastic player and is a great Coach. He reminds me quite a lot of Giovanni Trapattoni, in terms of how to manage the players – especially in what he is doing with Antonio Cassano. He knows how to manage people and he is also very tactically minded. But the Italian side is never easy to manage as there is always heavy expectation.

Your old club Genoa were at the centre of the transfer market this summer, bringing in talent such as Kakha Kaladze, Andrea Ranocchia, Miguel Veloso and Rafinha amongst many others. Do you think Gian Piero Gasperini’s team can now make a serious challenge towards European competition?

They have a strong side and I think after the likes of Juventus, Inter, Roma and Milan, they can qualify for the Europa League – that is their minimum target. They will have to work hard and focus but they can do it. 

So far the Serie A season has been unpredictable with Cesena occupying the top spot at one stage and then Lazio. What are your thoughts on the campaign so far? 

We have a saying in Italy: ‘If you see one bird, it doesn’t mean it is spring.’ Of course, in many competitions, there will always be an outsider making an impact during the first 10 games of the season. In the long run, though, I think the best team will come through. Winter has still to arrive which will see conditions change, it is during that period where experienced players will come out. The likes of Cesena, who are one of the newer and youngest sides, can create a lot of problems but I believe the big sides will come through in the end.

So, the inevitable question, who do you think will win Serie A?

Inter are the strongest team in terms of individual players and they come with a solid side from the last three or four years. Juventus, I believe, are still far away and Milan have a couple of strong players, but I think Inter will win it again.

Source: Football-Italia 

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