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Marco Motta exclusive (from Jakarta): Spalletti success; hopes for De Rossi & Roma; recalling Charlton passion

Once of Roma and Juventus, Marco Motta was tracked down by on the other side of the world last week - namely Indonesia and specifically, Jakarta.

It is in Jakarta where Motta, now 37, is building a new career as a coach. The former Italy international fullback ended his time as a player with local giants Persija Jakarta, playing out two seasons before hanging up the boots over 18 months ago.

Since then, as Motta explains in this Q&A, he has been working on gaining his coaching badges - and passing on his knowledge and experience to the city's best young talent.

A player so admired by Italy coach Luciano Spalletti that he was chosen ahead of the likes of Christian Panucci and Cicinho as Roma's first-choice right-back, Motta can additionally call on experiences in England with Watford and Charlton Athletic. The defender also enjoying spells in Spain with Almeria and a short stint in Cyprus for Omonia.

But it is in Italy where Motta forged a reputation of being among the most gifted fullbacks of his generation, a time which included a young Marco captaining Italy's U21 team.

In this Q&A, we asked Motta about his time as a player and also about former teammate Daniele de Rossi and his recent appointment as Roma coach.

We've managed to find you in Indonesia! What have you been doing these past couple of years?

"Yes, now I am living here in Jakarta. But I am sure that I will return to the pitch, firstly with young players to help them and train them to become professional football players.

"I have got the coaching licenses and as soon as the right offer comes I will be ready to start working as a coach.

"Now I am here in Indonesia helping the young football players of this country and my future for sure will be football."

Speaking of coaching, you were a favourite of Spalletti's at Roma...

“Spalletti for me is an incredible coach. He is one of the best, and he demonstrated it last year when with a club like Napoli he managed to win the title after many years. For me, Luciano is a very important coach in my career because he wanted me ever since he was with Udinese.

"I didn't have the opportunity there to play for him because when I arrived he'd left, so at Roma he insisted on having me as his player. With him, I learned a lot and I enjoyed my time there at Roma with him a lot."

You also had Antonio Conte at Juventus...

"Yeah, instead with Conte he is a different character from Spalletti but at the same time the same because both want to win and they supported us a lot. Antonio is a great coach, a winning coach who in every team he goes puts into the players' head that winning mentality and makes you give not 100% but more for the team during the matches and training sessions."

You played in a great moment in Serie A. Who were the best players you faced?

"Regarding the strongest and most difficult opponents I have played against for sure I can say Ibrahimovic and Eto'o, they were the hardest for me to mark as a defender. Regarding the strongest player I have played with, there are a lot of names I can say, but I would mention two - Francesco Totti and Andrea Pirlo."

You mention Totti, but what of another of your former Roma teammates, De Rossi?

“First of all I am very happy about Daniele and for this opportunity he has. I can say that this is a love story that is continuing, but now in a different way, no longer as a player but as a coach. On the other side, Mourinho did a huge job there, improved the club a lot, and entered into history by winning a European Cup and achieving another final of another European Cup. But in the end, I can say that now Roma has all the possibilities to do well and to qualify for the Champions League."

And what about Juventus this season?

“I think Juventus are doing a great season so far. They have been stable and have been putting a lot of pressure on Inter, which is the strongest team in Italy. In contrast to last year when they had a lot of problems, it seems now the group is more compact and they are achieving what they want."

What about the Serie A season overall? Are you still following it from Jakarta?

"It's a very interesting league as always, that always produces surprises. The surprise positively this season is Bologna because the other teams nowadays like Atalanta and Fiorentina cannot be considered surprises any longer. Instead, a surprise in a negative way for me is of course Napoli. I didn't expect after the title that they would be in this position."

You mention Bologna, how do you rate Thiago Motta's impact?

"I think Thiago is doing a wonderful job there and is obtaining great results. In this season there is a lot of enthusiasm and I think this is the right year for them to qualify for a European competition."

Of course, over your career you also played for two famous old clubs in London...

"Both experiences went very well, it was something that I wanted to try. At Watford, in the first year, we achieved promotion back to the Premier League, and at Charlton, it was also a great experience that allowed me to get to know the power of English football and the emotions there."

Before we sign off, your old coach holds Italy's hopes in his hands. How will the Azzurri go at the Euros?

"Our national team for years now has been going through a difficult moment, except the situation of Euro 2020 where we won. Luciano is a great coach but coaching the national team is not the same as coaching a club, and also a great coach like Spalletti cannot change everything immediately. He needs time to do it.

"But still, Italy is Italy, we have good players and I think we can play our part in this tournament and I hope that we can go as high as possible."

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About the author

Xhulio Zeneli


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