Mario has all the qualities to be a top player: power and athleticism, alongside a good understanding of the game — all positive.
I worked with Mario for a short period with Italy’s under-21 side. I liked him straightaway. I liked the way he handled himself and his composure and calmness in situations. Mario could shrug off things happening around him. Only the big players have that calm.
Mario can play the big games and handle the crucial moments, but he needs to keep control. That is vital for him.
From afar, people may think he’s a madman, but he isn’t. Mario is a lovely guy, very humble and very funny. I can assure people he has always been a pleasure to deal with. He has returned to Italy from England as the main man with lots of attention. Now he has to ensure he keeps control and keeps focus. Mario loves the pressure, but to succeed, it is about finding balance.
Former Italy star Zola manages England’s Watford F.C.
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