Wednesday 21 August 2019, 09:03

Azzurre five sing Bertolini’s praises

  • Bertolini is a nominee for The Best FIFA Women's Coach

  • Five of the Italy coach’s players at France 2019 argue her case for the accolade

  • All you need to know about the The Best FIFA Football Awards

Taking your national team back to the world finals after a 20-year absence is quite an achievement. But making them tournament revelations on a stirring run to the quarter-finals is another thing entirely.

Yet that is exactly what Milena Bertolini did with Italy at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, a feat that earned her a nomination for The Best FIFA Women’s Coach 2019. sought the opinion of her players, asking them if Bertolini deserved to pick up the award. Here is what the Azzurre dressing room had to say in reply.

Aurora Galli, midfielder

"She deserves it because Milena is a persevering, tenacious and intelligent coach who pays attention to every detail and leaves nothing to chance. She demands a totally professional approach but she knows how to strike a balance between work and fun, both on and off the pitch. She makes me smile with the things she says at our training camp meetings, like: ‘We need to be a forest and riviera team’."

Barbara Bonansea, midfielder

"In a very short space of time she’s instilled confidence in the national team, created a unit and got the best out of them. She’s given all the players confidence and she’s also shown us the importance of working as hard as we can for our team-mates."

Barbara Bonansea of Italy poses for a portrait

Cristiana Girelli, forward

"She deserves this award because she’s a complete coach. She’s great on tactics and on psychology too, both on an individual level and when it comes to handling the dressing room. She’s been crucial to my growth as a footballer. She’s taught me things about football that I didn’t see as very important but which have helped me become a much better player."

Laura Giuliani, goalkeeper

"There are many parts to a team and they have to come together as one in the best possible way. Knowing how to get the best out of each player is a job that’s often undervalued but is absolutely essential. That’s the gift that Milena Bertolini has. It’s hard to find and it deserves to be rewarded."

Laura Giuliani of Italy celebrates after her team's victory

Sara Gama, defender and captain

"I’ve shared a lot of happy moments with her, at Brescia and then with Italy in the qualifiers and at the World Cup. It’s been an incredible journey with Italy, returning to the World Cup after 20 years away and becoming the tournament revelations."

Sara Gama and Head Coach Milena Bertolini of Italy