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Giuseppe Galderisi exclusive: Winning Serie A with Hellas Verona; backing Allegri at Juventus; learning from Trapattoni & Bagnoli

One of the great characters of Italian football, Giuseppe Galderisi admits he owes his big break in the game to the man who sold him - former Juventus president Giampiero Bonaperti.

The former striker is among the folk heroes of one Serie A's greatest ever shocks - Hellas Verona's 1984/85 Scudetto triumph. And speaking to, Galderisi admits Bonaperti actually chose Verona for him.

Then just 20, but having already achieved impressive numbers with Juve - including a hat-trick against AC Milan - Galderisi was encouraged to make the move by Bonaperti for the sake of his career.

And while he went to Verona with two Serie A title medals in his cabinet, it was with the minnows that Galderisi achieved immortality as he helped fire them to amazing title triumph under legendary coach Osvaldo Bagnoli.

In this wide-ranging Q&A, Giuseppe takes us back to those times when Italian club football was at it's peak. We also explore today's Serie A and Galderisi offers his tips for this season's title race.

What were your most memorable experiences as a player?

I was very lucky because, since a young age, I had the opportunity to play for Juventus alongside players like Zoff, Bettega, Tardelli and Schirea. During training back then, I had the opportunity to grow up as a player. Also, I had the pleasure to share the dressing room with Paolo Rossi who taught me a lot.

Every team I have played with I felt very good and happy. In every team I was part of I learned a lot every day and for this, I can say that in good moments or difficulties, all my experiences have been beautiful as I grew up as a player and a man thanks to every one of them.

What about a young Giuseppe being coached by Giovanni Trapattoni at Juve?

I am very grateful to Trapattoni because at 14-15 years old he invited me to the first team to train with them. He treated me like his child and for me, he is one of the most important coaches of my career.

I remember very well the first moment when I entered the changing room of the first team and sat close to the kind of players which I was seeing on the TV. Due to that team, I had the opportunity to win several titles.

But then came your famous move to Hellas Verona - how did that happen?

I told you first about Trappatoni and the second name I would mention to you regarding the importance of my career is Bagnoli. Because at Juventus I would have not so many possibilities to play I spoke with the President at that time and he told me it would be better to leave so I could grow up even more as a player and improve.

He chose Verona for me and I went there. That group of players at Hellas Verona, the unity there and cohesion, I haven't seen in any other team and it's hard to find it nowadays. We had a fantastic journey there, in the first year we finished 5th and after with the players we bought we had a fantastic season and we played a fantastic style of pure attacking football.

Bagnoli always said to us that with 3 passes you need to arrive at the opponent's goal. We came very close as players not only on the pitch but also outside. We were always spending time together.

What was the most important goal of your career?

Regarding the goals to be honest when I think about them, more than about the goals scored I think about the easy goals that I have missed!

I can say the first goal that I scored in Serie A with Juventus against Udinese will be always in my mind because it's the first goal that I scored in Serie A. And about beautiful goals I can say the two goals I scored in Belgrade. Also, I remember other important and beautiful goals scored during my career because as a player I was the type that wanted to do always the most difficult thing and not the easiest.

Trapattoni, Bagnoli, Bearzot... you played for some of the greats...

The human qualities of these coaches was something unique. I had the pleasure of working also with Cesare Maldini. I consider myself a lucky person because I have worked with these kinds of personalities. I have learned a lot from Trapattoni, and Bagnoli regarding being hardworking, staying humble, and training always with a smile on my face.

But from the other side always when I needed something these coaches were always there trying to help me. These lessons from these coaches are helping me a lot also now in my career as a coach in every team that I have been managing.

Now over 20 years into his coaching career, Galderisi is also a much sought-after pundit. As ever, when asked about today's Serie A title battle, Nanu doesn't hold back.

What have you made of this season's title race?

I think Inter is the strongest team in Italy and is showing it this season. Juventus is doing a great job, but Lazio and Roma are having some difficulties this season. From all my experience I can say that the strongest team or the biggest team is one that knows how to handle difficulties. The league is long there are many matches to be played and during the season all the teams have periods of difficulties. Regarding the title I think it will be a fight between Inter and Juventus.

Regarding Juventus, everyone in the beginning were thinking that they will fight for the Champions League places but not be in the position she is now. Juventus is doing a great job, they are very stable, compact and very effective in scoring goals and winning matches. Also coach Allegri, despite all the critics he has, is showing himself and getting the results he wants.

But what about Juve's lack of goals?

The strikers of Juventus Vlahovic, Milik, Chiesa, Kean are very good. Of course, during the season there will be a period when the strikers will not score. It happens. But we need to see also the other part, which means the dirty work the strikers do during the game for their team, how they help their team, etc. For me Juventus did well to believe again in Vlahovic because he is a very good striker, he is young, and he has the desire and hunger to get better at scoring goals and this is a very important aspect regarding a striker who plays for Juventus.

You also played for AC Milan - what have you made of their season so far?

"I think Pioli and his staff are doing a great job, and this season they have changed a lot and signed players which I like a lot like Pulisic and Loftus-Cheek. This season they have not been stable with the results and there's a mentality that you need always to win and sometimes that doesn't help you.

The season is still long and you don't know what may happen because we saw also two seasons ago when Milan was behind and in the end, they won the title. Also, I have heard a lot of criticism against Pioli which doesn't stand at all because Stefano has proved that he is a great coach.

As a striker, how do rate Inter Milan's duo Marcus Thuram and Lautaro Martinez?

Inter are having a great season. A great job has done also by the club by buying the right players, for example, Thuram for me is the ideal partner for a player like Lautaro. The strongest point of Inter this season is that they have a backup option for any player in any position.

Also for me, the midfield of Inter is one of the best in Europe. They play very well and they have great qualities. Their strikers Lautaro-Thuram are doing great things and with their qualities, they are helping each other and the team towards their goal to win the trophies this season.

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Xhulio Zeneli

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