Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vincenzo Montella: Quietly Becoming a Top Manager

Since trading in his pilot wings for a seat in the control tower, Vincenzo Montella has continued his successful career in football, this time on the sidelines.

In his first real coaching gig, Montella has led Serie A club Catania to the brink of Europe. Currently in 8th place - the highest position the club has ever achieved in the league - the Sicilian club is poised to make a serious run at a Europa League spot.

L'Aeroplanino did not simply land in this position, but rather gained prior management experience with AS Roma, the club he scored so many precious goals for. After a successful stint as the head of the organization's youth club, he was promoted to first-team manager midway through the 2010-11 campaign, following the resignation of Claudio Ranieri. Charged with the task of avoiding further Ranieri-level destruction, Montella gradually instilled confidence back in the side, guiding them to a Europa League berth. Unfortunately for the Little Airplaner, a sweeping American takeover of the club essentially shut the door on his coaching career in Rome. More frustrating for Montella were the credentials of his replacement, Luis Enrique; a coach just as untested as himself.

After being dropped by the Capital Club, Montella quietly landed in Sicily with Catania. As the year has progressed, the Rossazzurri have grown to a new level. No longer are they part of the lower-tier contingent of the Serie A, but a formidable opponent for even top sides - just ask Inter, Roma and Lazio. Montella's brave tactics - often incorporating a 3-5-2 - and gutsy player selections - sitting Maxi Lopez (who ultimately left the club) in favor workhorse Gonzalo Bergessio - has gained wild praise amongst Serie A pundits because of the team's success. Corriere dello Sport recently claimed Catania to be the most in-form side in Serie A, unbeaten in their last six matches, with only one loss in nine. Catania Director Pietro Lo Monaco even went so far to say Montella has the DNA of a great coach.

With a semi-difficult schedule in the last quarter of the year, the Rossazzurri have their work cut out for them, but with gritty Top Gun performances inspired by their young coach, the club has reason to be excited.

I'll leave you with the most legendary night in any footballers career:

That's the most goals scored by a single player in any derby ever. It had to be you Montella! Hats off to a great former goal scorer on his was to becoming a top manager.

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