He is the manager most well known for his unconventional nickname of “Mister 33” – but there are plenty of other interesting tidbits you should know about one of football’s most exciting managers – Maurizio Sarri.
Whilst he is a bit of a wildcard when it comes to punters who love football betting and taking a punt on what he is going to be able to do with a team he is managing, there is no doubt he has one of the most interesting background stories of any manager:
Sarri was born in the lovely Bagnoli district of Naples, Italy on the 10th of January in 1959. His family were middle class and his father was a typical Italian patriarch of his family, working in construction for an Italian steel company called Italsider.
During his childhood, Sarri was interested in both playing football and education, but his family wanted him to focus on his education. Sarri put his head down and worked hard, eventually becoming a banker at a popular bank in Tuscany, another region of Italy. It was at this job that he actually started working both at the bank and also playing amateur football, an incredible feat!
His banking job actually took him all over the world – including Zurich, Luxemburg and London – yet he would always have his passion for football, coaching amateur teams in his free time when he could.
The Decision to Go Full Time
At the tender age of 40, Sarri decided to go pro with his football coaching career and quit his banking job. This was a big move – the decision to commit his life to coaching football. It was also a bittersweet move for Sarri, who came to the stark realization that he was too old to realize a professional football career himself. But he had his dreams and ambitions of coaching. After he retired from banking, Sarri moved back to Italy full time and coached a club that was in a lower league – A.C. Sansovino, which was located in Monte San Savino.
Career as a Manager
Garnered a reputation for being heavily involved with the actual football playing and everything that happens on the pitch, Sarri does not interfere with the owners of a club’s decisions and does not get involved in transfers too much, which has made him popular with the club owners. He has also earned the nickname Mr. 33 because that is the number of set pieces he makes his players practice in training.
Between the years 2000 and 2015 Sarri managed a total of 10 teams. After seeing his talents at Napoli, Chelsea club owner Roman Abramovich hired him at Chelsea in 2003 – Abrahimovich also loved the simple fact that Sarri was more passionate about football than the politics of player transfers. It was at Chelsea that Sarri managed to get a big break. Following a spell at Juventus, he now manages the mighty Lazio.
Some Facts About Sarri
He is well known for having a trademark cigarette glued in his hands – earning him the title of a ‘chain-smoking maverick’ by some media outlets. He sometimes smokes his way through 60 cigarettes a day in order to handle the stresses of the job. The interesting thing here is he actually smokes during games where allowed.
Even in stadiums such as the ones in the UK where the law forbids smoking indoors – Sarri ended up chewing cigarette filters on the pitch to cope! His smoking habit is taken that seriously that back in 2018 RB Leipzig ended up building a special smoking area in the locker room of their stadium specifically for Sarri when the team he was then managing – Napoli – faced them. He also has a penchant for coffee, having the shopkeeper at clubs where he was based bring him espressos during breaks in training and on matchdays.
Aside from his love of coffee and cigarettes, Sarri is known for one more thing – his foul mouth. Often chiding journalists who ask what he deems stupid questions or when hassled for an interview that he does not want to do, Sarri is known for his less than diplomatic responses.