From World Cup Glory to the Pitches of Verdura: Gianluca Zambrotta’s Coaching Masterclass

Rocco Forte Hotels
Zambrotta, Gianluca
“It’s a rare opportunity to meet and play alongside international legends, who have made history in this sport."

Returning to Verdura Resort for another summer of fun-filled training sessions, Italian football hero and former World Cup champion Gianluca Zambrotta will lead our Football Legends Academy

Gianluca’s passion for the beautiful game was ignited at an early age, just like the aspiring footballers attending our academy, before making his professional debut at 17. Two decades at the top saw Gianluca play for legendary clubs like Barcelona and AC Milan, while achieving over 100 caps for the Italian national side. Today, he dedicates himself to coaching young players, building both their skills and confidence. 

Read on to discover Gianluca’s football highlights and what guests can expect from the upcoming summer school…

You’ve been described as one of the best Italian full-backs of the modern era. What are some of your personal career highlights?

There have been many highlights of my career: from wearing the shirt of my hometown club, Como, to making my debut in Serie A (the highest division of the Italian football league) with Bari, which had been a lifelong dream of mine. However, I believe the most significant moment of my career was our victory in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.”

You are recognised as a particularly versatile and adaptable footballer. What specific skills and techniques do you focus on when coaching?

At Verdura Resort, all our coaches have meaningful experience on the field with professional clubs, and over a decade of experience with children and young people. It’s important to remember that these kids are on holiday, so the aim is to have fun in a healthy and safe environment.

We divide our training into four phases. Firstly, we warm up with coordination and cognitive training. The second phase is more technical, but we keep things fun. Thirdly, we’ll split off and play in teams, before organising a game or tournament as part of the fourth phase, finishing with a penalty shootout.”

How do you create a positive and stimulating environment for young academy players?

Our mission is to make the children happy, so we work using a methodology based on the fundamental aim of having fun. Also, as highly qualified figures, we can expertly guide children of all levels.

What makes the Verdura Football Academy such a unique environment for young players?

It’s a rare opportunity to meet and play alongside international legends, who have made history in this sport. Young players get to ask questions and hear about real experiences, which is difficult to find in other academies.” 

What is the most rewarding aspect of working with young footballers?

For me, it’s when they have fun with their teammates and embrace everything they’ve learned. It’s great when we see improvements from the first to the final day of the academy. It’s the fact that even though they are on holiday, they keep coming back for training and want to learn new skills.”

The Football Legends Academy will run from 26 to 30 August. Discover more about our Academies with the Stars here

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