José Mourinho began his football management career as an interpreter/translator for Sir Bobby Robson in Portugal (Sporting Clube and Porto) and Spain (FC Barcelona), respectively.

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26 July 2014

Translated Excerpts from FIGC (Italian Federation) UEFA Pro Coaching Thesis Documents

Translated excerpts from FIGC (Italian Federation) Master's Course Coaching Theses.
Image credit: FIGC.














I have had the great pleasure to translate several provocative and equally educational coaching theses. When Italian managers, or those who wish to coach in Italy take their badges, they present a thesis to their instructors and colleagues at Coverciano, the home of the Italian Federation (FIGC).

These discussions come from a variety of "Corso Master," or Master's Course, studies as part of an UEFA Pro coaching license program. Most of these research papers I have reviewed vary from 14 to 102 pages, respectively, and have included detailed schematic drawings. I believe you will find these rare works compelling in their detailed analysis from a variety of themes.

Please click on the images to visit pages dedicated to each thesis where you will find the original FIGC download link to view a the original Italian PDF file. I have also included the discussion items for each set of translated excerpts (or thesis reviews) on this summary page.

Table of Contents

Related Articles


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Photo credit: Old School Panini.
"The Characteristics of Three
 Midfielders in a Three-Man Midfield."





















Discussion Items in Part 1
  1. His introduction.
  2. On the requisites of a key midfielder: The Regista/Number 4 player.
  3. On the characteristics of the two inside midfielders (Numbers 8 and 10).
Discussion Items in Part 2
  1. On a triangle using a "vertice alto" or the trequartista (number 10) and the characteristics of the holding midfielders.
  2. On the 4-3-3 with a "vertice basso" (the number 4/regista).
  3. On the 4-3-3 with a "vertice alto" or the trequartista (number 10).


PRONTI, PARTENZA ... VIA! IL BRESCIA 2013/14 IN RITIRO A TEMU’
Simona Zani (left) and Milena Bertolini.
Photo credit: Brescia Calcio Femminile.
"A Week in the Cantera of F.C. Barcelona."















Discussion Items
  1. Thesis Overview
  2. Writing Style
  3. Images and Graphics
  4. Notable Quotes
  5. My Ratings
  6. Link to the FIGC Source Document


Translations of Hernan Crespo's 2012/13 Coaching Thesis at the Italian Federation (FIGC).

Photo credit: AndhikaMPPP.
"The Modern Footballer: Identity,
 Nationalism and Internationalization."

















Discussion Items in Part 1:
  1. On the early English influence in Argentinean football.
  2. On how football assisted minority groups in Argentina and the "Futbol De Potrero" phenomenon.
  3. On the history and evolution of football in Argentina from 1920 to the present along with the internazionalization of Argentinean football.
  4. On the emergence of Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.
Discussion Items in Part 2:
  1. On a brief history of Club Atletico River Plate.
  2. On how the youth sector is structured on a daily basis at River Plate.
  3. On using a 4-3-3 at all levels, scarce focus on tactics, numerical supremacy, importance of a center forward, the role of a reserve team and his arrival at the senior side.
  4. On his analysis of Argentinean football: The mine of talent, deficiencies outside of Boca Juniors and River Plate, a lack of professionalism by club directors, individual focus over tactics and the global transfer market potential of Argentinean footballers.
  1. On the fatherland of tactics, "The Method" of Vittorio Pozzo, the effects of Torino's tragic air crash in 1949.
  2. On the introduction of "Catenaccio" in the 1960s at both Milan clubs.
  3. On how Arrigo Sacchi revolutionized the tactical course in Italian football.
Discussion Items in Part 4:
  1. On his arrival at Parma Football Club and the challenges of Italian calcio.
  2. On the differences between Argentinean football and Italian calcio: Attacking space and constant movement.
  3. On his analysis of Italian football: The result mentality, opportunism, superior club organization, massive pressure and tactical preparation for the international footballer.
Discussion Items in Part 5:
  1. On a brief history of English football, the Pyramids of Cambridge, and Blackburn Rovers.
  2. On Herbert Chapman's System at Arsenal, the differences between Vittorio Pozzo's Method and The System and its spread throughout the world.
  3. On the innovations by Sir Alf Ramsey: Four-man back line, abandonment of the traditional wingers, in-game adaptive abilities, along with tactical changes in the 1970s.
Discussion Items in Part 6:
  1. On his arrival at Chelsea Football Club.
  2. On his second spell at Chelsea after Milan and his impressions of Jose' Mourinho.
  3. On his overall analysis of English football and how it compares to the Argentinean and Italian varieties.
  1. On the effects of internationalization and globalization in world football.
  2. On the growing importance of international competitions and the manager's role to prepare his players for new realities.
  3. On the three key factors in his footballing journey: Technique, tactics and dynamism. 

Photo credit: Old School Panini.
"Dribbling."



  1. His introduction: Dribbling as a deadly weapon.
  2. Definition and Objective. Five different types of feints.
  3. Prerequisites: Technical ability, awareness of choice, cognitive capacities, emotional control, confidence, responsibility and a notable expression of footballing intelligence.      
Discussion Items in Part 2
  1. On specific coordinating capacities and learning stages: The "golden age" from 6 to 12 years of age.
  2. On the types of coordination and motor movements needed for feinting and dribbling along with specific training exercises.
  3. On additional types of training exercises and factors such as rhythm, adaption, valuation, anticipation and motor creativity.



Image credit: digilander.libero.it
"The Movements of an Attacking Midfielder in a Three-Man Midfield."




















Discussion Items
  1. Thesis Overview
  2. Writing Style
  3. Images and Diagrams
  4. Statistical Analysis of Five Midfielders
  5. Notable Quotes
  6. My Ratings
  7. Link to the Italian source document

Image credit: Mondadori.
"A Mentality to Be Winners."
























  1. Thesis Oveview
  2. Writing Style
  3. Images and Graphics
  4. Notable Quotes
  5. My Ratings
  6. Link to the Italian Source Document

Photo credit: Panini.
"Aspects Related to the Management
of Very Young Players."





















Discussion Items
  1. Thesis Overview
  2. Writing and Presentation Style
  3. Understanding Cultural Sensitivity in a Multicultural Italy.
  4. Diagrams
  5. Notable Quotes by Mark Iuliano
  6. My Ratings.
  7. Link to the Italian source document.


Roberto Mancini's 2001 Coaching Thesis at the Italian Federation (FIGC): "The Trequartista."
Photo credit: AndhikaMPPP.
"The Trequartista."  















Discussion Items in Part 1
  1. His personal experience.
  2. The role of trequartista.
  3. Historical notes and his observation of the position.
  1. Which playing formation the trequartista fits into.
  2. What he does on the pitch.
  3. Why there is a need for this role.

Vincenzo Montella.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Giancarlo Rinaldi.
"Preseason Preparation (The First 14 Days)".
















Discussion Items
  1. Thesis Overview
  2. Writing and Presentation Style.
  3. Detailed look at Day 4 in Week 1.
  4. Graphics and Diagrams
  5. Notable Quotes by Vincenzo Montella.
  6. My Ratings
  7. Link to the Italian source document.

Andrea Sottil.
Photo credit: Lega Pro.it.
"The Duel: Individual Tactical Principles for Defenders."
















  1. Thesis Overview
  2. Writing Style
  3. Images and Diagrams
  4. Notable Quotes: Introduction and Conclusion 
  5. My Ratings
  6. Link to the Italian source document


Translations of Mauro Tassotti's 2000 Coaching Thesis at the Italian Federation (FIGC).
Photo credit: Old School Panini.
"A Four-Man Defense in
Both Phases of Play."

















Discussion Items in Part 1
  1. His introduction on zonal marking along with pressure, pressing and the offside's trap.
  1. On the requisites for a central defender: Charisma, pace, concentration, tactical/situational/psychological capacities, anticipatory mobility, emotional control, leadership, integrates and compliments.
  2. On the requisites for a (right and left) fullback: A man of the third defensive line, one who initiates movements, inserts himself into open spaces, increments speed of movement and resistance.
  3. On the technical characteristics for a (right and left) fullback.
  4. On the tactical-situational characteristics for a (right and left) fullback.
  1. On traits needed by defenders on an individual level.
  2. On things a coach needs to observe on a collective level.
  3. On his conclusion: His own experience as a player.


Translations of Gianluca Vialli's 2004 Coaching Thesis at the Italian Federation (FIGC).
Photo credit: Old School Panini.
"The Italian and the Englishman:
Thoughts from a Sleepless Night."















Discussion Items in Part 1
  1. On his general impressions about the English style.
  2. On the English mentality and playing style.
  3. On the Italian mentality and playing style.
  4. On how they perceive each other.
Discussion Items in Part 2
  1. Marcello Lippi on his childhood and today's youth in Italy.
  2. Ray Wilkins on his childhood and today's youth in England.
  3. Sven-Goran Eriksson on his childhood and today's youth in Europe.
  4. Gianluca Vialli on his footballing childhood, social/economic changes and the present lack of street football in Italy.
  1. Gordon Taylor on the impact of abolishing the salary cap in England.
  2. Marcel Desailly on the differences between Italian and English players.
  3. Gianluca Vialli's response to Marcel Desailly: Italians see it as a job; English as a game.
  4. Tony Colbert, the fitness and conditioning coach at Arsenal, on the differences between English players and foreigners.
  5. Marcello Lippi on Italian youth training compared to other countries.
Discussion Items in Part 4
  1. Marcel Desailly on a lack of professionalism in younger English players in contrast to their Italian counterparts.
  2. Ray Wilkins on the concept of professionalism in English and Italian football.
  3. Andy Cale, who was the head of youth training at the FA, on changes in English youth football.
  4. Gianluca Vialli on the effect of teaching values and fair play in England and changes in youth organizational structures.
Discussion Items in Part 5
  1. Gianluca Vialli on climatic factors in Italy and England: The effect of wind.
  2. Arsene Wenger on the climate in England and how it affected his training sessions.
  3. Ray Wilkins on how the weather affected his playing and coaching career.
  4. Arsene Wenger on the differences between English and Italian football environments, their overall cultures and three essential human traits he looks for in players.
  5. David Platt on how English and Italians view tactical preparation.
Discussion Items in Part 6
  1. Gianluca Vialli on finding the proper amount of tension, fear of losing, terror in Italian football and how these differ in England.
  2. Gianluca Vialli on "furbizia" (the Italian dark arts) and how it affects Italians when they play abroad.
  3. Gianluca Vialli on how Italians fear losing, elevate their opponents unrealistically and focus too much on personal duels.
  4. Gianluca Vialli on why applauding English commitment and aggression even when players make a mistake may inhibit technical development and how their style of play hinders technical development.
  5. Gianluca Vialli on a typical English football workweek, how managers use training time, the lack of individual technical work and the need to improve their professionalism.




Daniele Zoratto.
Photo credit: UEFA.com.
"Video Preparation of the Opposing Team."










  • Thesis Overview
  • Writing Style
  • Images and Diagrams
  • Notable Quotes
  • My Ratings
  • Link to the Italian source document

  • Soccer Translator

    Steve Amoia is a freelance writer and translator from Washington, D.C. He is the publisher of World Football Commentaries since 2006 and The Soccer Translator since 2008. You can follow Steve @worldfootballcm on Twitter.

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