Aleksander Čeferin has paid tribute to one of the world’s all-time leading football coaches, Arrigo Sacchi, by selecting him as the winner of the 2022 UEFA President’s Award.
Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA President, said, “This award recognises professional excellence and furthermore, it honours the legacy left by exceptional individuals in the game of football. Very few people have reshaped the philosophy of the game in the way that Arrigo Sacchi has managed, so that the sport itself can be observed in two eras – pre- and post-Sacchi. The endless tactical innovations he introduced are today the foundations of any footballing playbook, mirrored by generations of coaches who have followed.”
While Sacchi never played top-flight football, he was always an exemplary student of the game. Having started his coaching career in Serie C, he believed a team should dominate the game with high pressing and direct play, with players moving in unison and offering more than their respective roles asked. This vision became a reality with AC Milan in 1987/88, with the club winning its first title in nine years, followed by back-to-back European Champion Clubs’ Cup triumphs in 1989 and 1990, helping the Rossoneri to become one of the greatest teams in football history.
He also had a distinguished international coaching career, leading Italy to the 1994 FIFA World Cup final,which the Azzurri lost on penalties against Brazil.
“Sacchi reinvented the ethos of teamwork, which transcended to pure harmony on the pitch. Perfect synchronisation and a winning mindset, irrespective of whether they were playing at home or away, felt almost supernatural back in the 1980s. That is precisely what divides excellence from greatness,” Čeferin concluded.
The award will be presented to Sacchi at the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage draw ceremony, which will take place on Thursday 25 August at the Haliç Congress Center in Istanbul.
The list of previous winners of the UEFA President’s Award can be found here.