Defining a Lectio Magistralis held at the Aula Magna as a ‘chat between friends’ might seem slightly irreverent, but it’s difficult to find a better way to describe the meeting between Giuseppe Marotta and students from the University of Insubria in Varese.
The Bianconeri official revisited the places he spent his childhood, where he grew up and took the first steps in his long climb to the top of Italian football. It was here that he discovered and learnt to love sport and football, a “fantastic university of life,” he told the audience made up of students from the Faculty of Communication Sciences. “When you are part of a team you’re also part of a community and you have to follow rules. But the will to make sacrifices is important too, as without making sacrifices you can’t achieve success.”
Marotta went on, inevitably mentioning the Serie A table. “Today we have a healthy gap at the top. We've consolidated it thanks to an extraordinary run of results, but there are still 18 points to play for and the Scudetto race isn’t over. We’ve been at the front, playing the role of the hare, for three seasons, and that takes its toll. But thanks to a leader such as Conte we’ve managed to maintain our place at the top and are trying to stay there even longer. The 31 goals scored by Tevez and Llorente? They’re very important players for us and both deserve to go to the World Cup.”
A lot of topics were covered: from the decline of Italian football to the importance of clubs building their own stadium to generate greater income and boost the entire sport. “Juventus Stadium is the example to follow: the majority of Italian stadia are burdensome white elephants, only used on match days. Our stadium, on the other hand, is bursting with life every day and on match days it not only houses fans for the duration of the match but is also a place for recreation.”
There’s the stadium and a lot more: Juve are at the forefront of football thanks also to J-College, and there couldn’t be a better place to talk about that than in a lecture room of a university: “Club officials have a responsibility to society and to youngsters in the youth teams. Youngsters hope to become professional football players, but, statistically, only three out of every 100 make it. We therefore wanted to create, for the first time anywhere in Italy, an institute where sporting activities could go hand in hand with schooling, and help our young footballers gain qualifications.”
From budding footballers to his view of the greatest who ever graced the turf: “That would be Pelé and Maradona,” explained Marotta. “And Ferguson is the best coach, not only for what he won, but also because his tenure spanned an entire generation and he was always at the top.”
Finally, some advice for students: “Knowledge comes from experience and experience comes from making mistakes. The sooner you make mistakes, the sooner you learn. Of course, ability is important too. But what matters most are human values, motivation, humility and the desire to always find ways of bettering yourself. I believe those are the secrets to success.”