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Giuseppe Incocciati exclusive: Questioning Pioli & Ibra at AC Milan; hailing Motta & Zirkzee at Bologna

Now a highly respected and coveted pundit, Giuseppe Incocciati was at AC Milan when it all began - and also won silverware alongside Diego Maradona with Napoli.

We say, 'when it all began', as a then teenage Incocciati was part of the AC Milan squad that were relegated - then promoted - twice in the early 1980s. The striker coming through the Rossonero system alongside the likes of Franco Baresi and Andrea Icardi as they helped Milan set the foundations for 40 years of sustained success.

Incocciati would later perform consistently in the top-flight with Atalanta and Napoli. But also was targeted as a gun for hire by Serie B teams, with Ascoli enjoying promotion promotion success with Incocciati leading their attack in season 1985/86. In retirement, he would go onto coach in Italy's lower divisions.

In this Q&A with, Incocciati touches on his playing career, but goes indepth on his thoughts about this season's Serie A and how some of his former clubs are performing.

Milan, Napoli, Atalanta... you played for some great clubs - and consistently...

“Yes it's true I have played in different teams during my career and the thing I could say is that all of them were wonderful experiences for me and helped me to become a better player and person.

“Life is an alternation of good moments and less good moments, the important thing is to give importance to the good ones. And this is what I have done during my playing career I have put more importance into the good moments and I have used the less good moments to become stronger."

Among those good moments must have been winning the Italian Super Cup...?

“Oh yes, I was lucky enough to play with great champions, I had the strongest of all as a teammate, a certain Diego Armando Maradona."

Speaking of Napoli, what about today's defending champions? Just what has gone wrong?

"When things don't go as hoped, the coach pays for everyone even if it's not entirely his fault. (Rudi) Garcia is a good coach and tried his best despite the difficulties he had.

"About the change of the coach I think (Walter) Mazzarri knows the environment and will know what to do but let's not expect miracles."

Milan are another of your old teams struggling for consistency...

“Milan is one of those teams that doesn't develop a good game, (Stefano) Pioli hasn't been able to improve things at least for now, but I think he can't do much more with the injuries and difficulties he has having."

And what of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's return?

“We will see and judge what Ibra will be able to do in the new role where knowing how to dribble or score goals is not required!"

A tip for Atalanta fans?

"Atalanta has reached a good level of importance also at an international level, I think they will finish between fifth and sixth place.

"But I also want to highlight Bologna. Thiago Motta is positively surprising! His team is playing very well and their main striker (Josh) Zirkee for me is an excellent footballer and has a lot of talent. Keep a lookout for him."

So is it Inter Milan's title this season?

"I believe that Inter will get the better of the others due to the squad they have and due to the maturity they have reached this season.

"I must say I think apart from Inter's season - and they are playing good football - the rest doesn't seem very exciting to me."

The season concludes with the Euros - and Italy's chance of defending their title. What do you hope for?

"Luciano Spalletti is a good coach who, like all coaches, needs high-level players to make a difference, especially on the international stage. I honestly don't see many high-level players in our national team, let's hope for a lucky European Championship for us."

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Xhulio Zeneli

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