Gianluca Zambrotta. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: There is an air of calm surrounding Delhi Dynamos head coach Gianluca Zambrotta. As the team prepares for their first outing in the 2016 Indian Super League, the former Azzuri full-back is quietly confident about his team’s chances and exuded the same confidence during a tete-e-tete with News18.
“The target for us is definitely to make it to the semi-finals this year too but the idea is to focus on one game at a time”, the 39-year old Dynamos coach told News18 during a short chat on Monday.
Zambrotta , whose only previous coaching assignment was with Swiss second-tier team FC Chiasso, has played in some of the world’s biggest leagues like the Serie A and La Liga, and he knows the importance of not looking too far ahead.
“It is important to go step by step in a league like this and we are looking to go match by match”, he said.
The Italian is happy with the arsenal at his disposal, and is very excited about the youngsters in the Dynamos team as he looks to take the team from the capital to their maiden title.
“There are a lot of youngsters in the Dynamos team and they have lot of potential in them to move on to the next level. I am happy that these players are working according to our plans. They are smart players who are working to grow and do better”, he said.
The Dynamos play their opening match away from home against reigning ISL champions Chennaiyin FC on Thursday. It is a match that will pit Zambrotta against his former Italy teammate Marco Materazzi, who guided Chennaiyin to the title last season.
Zambrotta shares a great bond with Materazzi , and why not - the duo were part of Italy’s 2006 FIFA World Cup winning team. His eyes light up even now when he is asked about that glorious night in Berlin a decade ago.
The Como native had an equally decorated club career, representing reigning Italian champions Juventus in over 200 matches. Zambrotta also played for Catalan giants FC Barcelona for two seasons before returning to the Serie A with another great club AC Milan.
When asked about which club team he enjoyed playing for the most, Zambrotta remained politically correct, declining to choose any favourites.
“Every team brings along with it its own style and energy and I was lucky to have played for sides like Juventus, Barcelona and Milan. It is very difficult to rate them as they are all great teams and I will not do that. I had a great experience playing for all of these teams”, he said.
But quiz him on who he thinks is the best player currently in the world and the Italian will not mince his words.
“I played a lot alongside Messi and very closely saw him play. In my opinion he is the greatest player in the world. No one else, but only Messi”, he said.
With a busy season ahead , Zambrotta can only hope that his team will get its act together and contest for the title on December 18.