Igli Tare reflected on his 15-year spell as Lazio sporting director, his relationship with Claudio Lotito and the misconceptions regarding his work with Maurizio Sarri.
The Albanian director became Biancocelesti sporting director in the summer of 2008 and picked up a number of key players during his 15 years in charge, signing talismanic figures like Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
In the final few years of his time in the role, Tare’s work began to frustrate and disappoint the fans, with various flops arriving like Denis Vavro, Vedat Muriqi and Dimitrije Kamenovic.
Speaking to Corriere dello Sport (via Calciomercato.com), Tare first spoke about his relationship with Lotito.
President Claudio Lotito is a great mind, he has incredible determination and willpower. They are his strength, but also his greatest flaw. I’m grateful for all the things I learned.
He called me at 2 in the morning: ‘Are you sleeping?’. ‘Did something happen?’ I answered, and he talked for half an hour.
There were more arguments than moments of peace. But he has extraordinary strength, he forgets within ten minutes.
He spoke about his departure from Lazio in the summer.
My choice or Lotito’s, what does it matter? They said he had sent me away, lies. I made the decision, and he shared it, he was fine with changing paths, directors and doing something else.
A year ago, at the beginning of the season, I told him in advance that I would leave in June, that the one that had just begun would be the last.
I only asked to go out with honour, with dignity. That’s what happened. As with a marriage that ends naturally.
He highlighted how his relationship with Maurizio Sarri was far more positive than portrayed in the media.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Sarri has never been a problem, but a solution. His character was nothing new. I had informed myself before hiring him, I knew a lot and I wanted him to coach Lazio.
Before the penultimate match of the last season, in Empoli, he wanted to talk to me. We were together for three, four hours. He used kind words, from the heart, I hope, he recognized a lot of merits in me.
Tare reflected on his transfer market work in the Italian capital.
Felipe Anderson, Milinkovic-Savic, Luis Alberto, Lucas Leiva, Klose, Lulic. But also Brocchi, my first signing. I am very close to Cristian, with authentic affection, an honest, respectable man.
The complexity of inserting a foreigner into a new team dimension is underestimated, some struggle more than others. It is often a question of details. But Vavro and Muriqi suffered Sarri’s football, but before leaving they wanted to greet him and hug him.
I remember that Maurizio told me: ‘I was in Napoli, I gave my life to some, no one has ever respected me like these two guys’.
Caicedo? I’m stubborn, when I believe in a player I don’t drop an inch. Inzaghi called me crazy when he saw him, and yet he helped us so much. Giroud was ours, only that at the last minute, Chelsea got in the way and didn’t let him go.
I tried everything. That was the only thing that reason. Great guy, Olivier. That year we had a great attack with Immobile, Correa and Caicedo.
The Albanian director spoke about Biancocelesti captain Immobile.
When he set the goal record, I told him ‘Ciro, you will only realize what you have done when everything is over’. He is the greatest scorer in the history of Lazio. His humility is both strength and weakness.
He needs to feel the trust of those around him on a daily basis. A few years ago, he went through a similar period, I burdened him with a joke, always the same: ‘Call Ciro and send his cousin home’.
The Lazio centre-forward is a heavy role, but I have unlimited respect for him, only his honesty will make him understand when it’s time to retire.
He underlined how much he gave to the club during his 15 years as sporting director.
This long story is my pride. I gave all of myself to Lazio, I even risked my life for them. I had major health problems years ago.
The doctors suggested that I move away, to think about myself and to save my skin. Nothing, I never went out, I never wanted to break away. Luckily everything was resolved in the best way, the club were close to me.
Finally, Tare discussed his plans for future.
I’m a citizen of the world, open to everything. Italy is home, in Rome I, my family and my children will continue to live. Roma have an important history and a crazy fan base, but never as beautiful as the Lazio one. Our choreography in the last derby was exciting.