We Need To Talk About… Italy’s Assistant Football Coach Mr Alberico Evani
Mr Alberico Evani during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group A match between Italy and Wales at Olimpico Stadium, Rome, Italy, 20th June 2021. Photograph by Mr Claudio Villa/Getty Images.
If you’re anything like us, you may have been a little distracted while watching Italy, among the favourites to win the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship. Your eyes might have been drawn not to the intimidatingly accomplished flowing footie on show, but to the rather striking chap on the sidelines. He looks a little bit too stylish and insouciant to be handing out hurried instructions to substitutes. It’s even possible that he outshines his gaffer, the immaculate Mr Roberto Mancini. Who is he? Why does he look so good? And is that his real hair? If you’ve not even been watching Italy play, well – be glad that there is something to take the attention away from the interminable sport currently clogging up your TV screen.
So, who is this guy?
Good question. Even the more football literate among us might not know him by name, especially given the star-studded squad and staff that Italy has at its disposal. Mr Alberico Evani is the assistant coach for the Azzurri, who are the current favourites to win Euro 2020. Which, for the truly football illiterate, is the football tournament that you keep stumbling across while looking for your favourite TV programme or a quiet drink in a bar. Only one more week now, don’t worry.
And why should we care?
“Should” is a strong word. But if you like football, then you will know that the actual game itself is but one minor element in amid the various subplots, character arcs and narratives that make this the best sport in the world™ and our friend Evani is a particularly eye-catching extra. If you don’t like football, Evani is palpably not football, he is merely a distraction from it. So, just enjoy that incredible barnet of his.
So, what role does he play?
He’s the manager’s right-hand man. It’s a job that traditionally involves working days spent pointing at Filofaxes full of laminated sheets of paper with circles on them while bored millionaires pretend to listen. As such, the position tends to attract more unassuming types.
It comes with the territory. They’re figuratively and literally in the background while the manager struts about, shirt sleeves rolled up, making performative gestures. Case in point: look at the England assistant coach Mr Steve Holland. He looks like a retired geography teacher. This is on-brand for an assistant coach. Good at carrying cones, instantly forgettable. Drives a Volvo saloon and has not accepted the reality of his hair loss.
And this Alberico guy?
Well, just look at him. He looks like a Milanese tailor. Or a watchmaker seen through that TikTok Pixar filter. He should be in a piazza in Rome drinking Campari and tutting, not doing anything as vulgar as setting up a training session or telling a defender where to stand on a patch of grass. As an assistant coach, he has absolutely no right to own such a stylish pair of glasses. England’s coaching staff don’t even know that they do rounded frames. As a player for Milan, Evani won two European cups and three Serie A titles. Steve Holland, meanwhile, has a TripAdvisor account.
What about that jacket?
Exactly, now we’re talking. Giorgio Armani kitted out the Italian playing team and coaching staff with some rather stylish, very Italian formalwear, and did not disappoint with Evani’s seersucker, powder blue/grey blazer. It’s to be expected though. The Italians have a great tradition of stylish football coaches (see: the 1980s). It’s in the blood. They wear perfectly cut suits and the attitudes to match. Meanwhile, England has Big Sam and his pint of wine.
How can I get my hands on one?
The jacket rather than the pint of wine? This should do the job.