“For me playing football meant being myself. I liked playing and I always enjoyed myself when I played. I didn’t set myself the challenge of becoming a footballer, I played and that was all.” As accurate as his long passes and level shots, for Gianni Rivera football is nothing more than a game.
Gianni Rivera ieri e oggi. Autobiografia di un campione. The first official biography of an icon who wrote the history of football. An excellent number 10, Rivera started out in Series A when he was just 15 years old for his home team of Alessandria. Milan then took a gamble on him and never let him go: he took to the pitch in 1960 wearing a black and red shirt that he would only ever switch for the blue of the national team.
Totally untouched by Gianni Rivera, this biography is presented through the memories of his family and photos. “I owe my character to my parents, it’s thanks to them that I developed my stability,” he confessed during our conversation, “particularly during times of change, my parents always stood beside me.”
The format of the publication, devised by his wife Laura Marconi, is unusual and is accompanied by videos (accessible via QR Code) that tell his story to the notes of an exclusive soundtrack composed by his son. “The graphics have evolved from symbols that have always been at the foundation of life: the square, synonymous with rationality and solidity, reflects Gianni’s dry character, the circle contained within the square symbolises the clock of life, balance and the perfection of his game. The two triangles,” explains Mrs. Rivera, “divide the square into two parts like the two stages of his life: the footballer and the politician.”
After receiving first class awards, including being the first Italian to win the Ballon D’Or in 1969, events drew him to a new path and in 1985 he entered politics as a member of the Christian Democratic party.
A sportsman and President of the Settore Tecnico della Federcalcio, he transmitted his ethical messages to the young, encouraging them to respect the rules but especially to respect themselves. He did this through his new project at the Accademia sul calcio. “For some time now lots of time has been devoted to creating athletes, without working on the fundamentals. Recovering the relationship with the ball is fundamental.” Here the ball is no longer used to play but to broadcast messages and values. And not only about sport.