Marcello Lippi maintained with Gennaro Gattuso the patience and support that Luis Enrique has not had with José Luis Gayà, called out of the World Cup in Qatar after suffering a slight prognosis sprain a week after making his debut with the Spanish team against Costa Rica, a match in which he was going to be in doubt. The Valencia coach went through a trance similar to the one the black and white captain is suffering, seeing himself almost out of a World Cup, Germany 2006, after injuring himself in training prior to leaving for Duisburg, eleven days before debuting against Ghana. Gattuso experienced a recovery in record time that allowed him to return for the second game of the group stage and to be a regular since then for Lippi in the conquest of the title, in the final against France.
“If you leave without me, I tie myself to the bus with a rope,” Gattuso said., as soon as the alarms went off after suffering a quadriceps tear in the last work session in Coverciano, the headquarters of the Italian team. The most optimistic forecast was for a two-week low. The medical chief of the Azzurri team, Enrico Castellacci, was met with a grunt from the footballer when he went to visit him in his room to examine him. “There’s nothing wrong with me, Professor!” Rino reacted, unwilling to give the doctor more details. “When I entered his room I saw that he was hiding his leg in the bed,” Castellacci told SUPER and Levante-EMV exclusively. «When I managed to tear off the sheet I found a thigh with a huge swelling. A huge spill ». The subsequent resonance, unfortunately, confirmed the omens with a tear “of 13 centimeters”. The normal thing was to leave him at home, with a much more serious prognosis than the one offered by the Spanish Federation regarding Gayà. The next day they were leaving for Germany and the logical decision would have been to leave him ashore. Gattuso, sacred piece in the Nazionale’s midfield along with Andrea Pirlo, opposed frontally and found the understanding of Castellacci and Lippi.
The doctor and the coach concluded that “If there was only one player capable of overcoming deadlines and arriving on time, it was Gattuso”. They took a risk, Castellacci said, “enormous”, but Rino got down to work. In a moment of difficulty, in a key event in his career (at 28 years old, one more than Gayà is today), with sessions of 12 hours a day, in constant collaboration with the physios, Rino arrived on time. «He only lost the first game. He played everything afterwards, until reaching penalties in the final”, points out the ‘professore’.
Indeed, Gattuso missed the first game, against Ghana (2-0 in favor of Italy). And still without being 100% restored, he started from the bench on the second day, against the United States. But the red card to De Rossi upset Lippi’s plans, who introduced Gattuso for Totti. He would no longer move from eleven. He played all 90 minutes against the Czech Republic in the last group game and also the entire game against Australia in the round of 16. Only in the quarterfinals against Ukraine, with the game resolved 3-0, Lippi rested him in the 77th minute so as not to overload him. And then, the milanista Gattuso would already play everything. Both the semifinals in Dortmund against Germany, and the 120 minute match, extra time and penalties of the agonizing final against France. “We waited for him and he was key in the title,” Castellacci clinches. Italy waited for Gattuso, while Spain has left Gayà in the lurch.