Speaking in an interview with Italian magazine Sportweek (via LazioNews24) earlier today, the 45-year-old Italian discussed his origins and where he grew up.
I grew up in a similar place. I explained to the Corviale boys that I started out in an area like theirs, a tough district, but one from which I came out with great dreams, great ambitions and great sacrifices. Without looking for excuses.
The former Lazio and AC Milan defender spoke about his various motivations early in his career.
Those who are born in the suburbs often tend to consider themselves disadvantaged, but they have one more weapon than others: cunning. The streets wake you up, teach you how to live.
Above all, the motivation of those who come from Corviale or Cinecittà, my neighborhood, is greater than that of my son, who was born lucky.
I went to Corviale to say, you can do it too. If not to become champions, at least to build a decent future for yourselves.
Nesta commented on his father and his lifelong love for Lazio.
I only thought about football. When I was alone, I imagined playing at the Olimpico. When my father bought me new boots, I slept holding them to my feet to unmould them. My father was obsessed with football, but especially with Lazio.
In Cinecittà, a Romanista neighborhood, we lived in a huge building, there were maybe 300 families there, but everyone knew us: we were the Nesta’s, the Lazio fans.
My brother had a problem with his feet, the doctor said, it would be good if he did sport. Dad replied, football. I cry, I want to do that too! That’s how I started.
After two years Fernando stopped. Compared to me, he’s a bit more of an ‘artist’. I was at Lazio when I was eight.
He revealed that he almost joined intercity rivals Roma before his father brought him along to the Biancocelesti tryouts.
I played for Cinecittà, which was affiliated with Roma, and I was noticed.
But just when I was supposed to go, my father read that Lazio were organizing tryouts for kids my age and he took me.
Nesta discussed his relationship with Roma legend Francesco Totti, who spent his whole career with the Giallorossi.
We were on very good terms, but off the pitch. On the pitch, we even argued. Once, with AC Milan, I threw a knee in his back when I was jumping, another time we threw our shirts at each other, but we were kids, ignorant kids.
We’re friends, we talk to each other, but in Rome it’s unacceptable for a Lazio fan and a Roma fan to have a coffee together. In Milan I used to have dinner with Materazzi and Favalli.
Would I coach Roma? If I say no, I look bad as a professional. If I say yes, they’ll wait for me outside!
The former Lazio captain touched on the city of Rome and how it has suffered in recent years.
It’s a tired, neglected city. A city this big, if you don’t look after it all the time, it becomes impossible to recover it.
Otherwise, it’s always the same, the taxi with the Lazio or Roma pennant, the taxi driver who recognises you and says ‘I have a son who is a phenomenon’. Once a Romanista recognised me and said, ‘OK, I’ll take you.’
Finally, Nesta discussed any regrets he had in his coaching career so far.
That I didn’t leave Frosinone after losing the play-off final to Spezia two years ago. I was burnt out, I had my family in America, I hadn’t seen my children for three years, and the team had already given its best.
A coach has to understand when a cycle is over and it’s time to go.
Do I feel closer to Sarri or Mourinho? To Sarri, for the idea of the game.
The 45-year-old Nesta was mostly recently the head coach of Serie B side Frosinone, being sacked in March of this year after a run of poor results.