Gianluca Zambrotta: With omelettes to the World Cup title

FIFA Museum Ambassador Gianluca Zambrotta entertained over 150 guests at this week's History Makers Live Talk at the FIFA Museum with a series of anecdotes from his career. He also had a few tips for ambitious young footballers and a surprise for museum director Marco Fazzone.

What impact can a few cracked and beaten eggs have on winning a FIFA World Cup™? Actually, quite a lot according to FIFA Museum ambassador Gianluca Zambrotta. Together with his friend and teammate Simone Barone, Zambrotta had eaten an omelette two days ahead of the first group match against Ghana at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. They went on to win the game. Reason enough for the two Italians to make eating omelettes a tradition before all World Cup matches. And we all know the result: Italy became world champions.

At the History Markers Live Talk at the FIFA Museum in front of a sold-out crowd, the world champion also highlighted the team's outstanding team spirit. Blessed with superstars like Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo, Fabio Cannavaro, Francesco Totti and of course Zambrotta himself, the players not only got on extremely well with each other, but they also subordinated everything to the success of the team. Even today, they are still all in regular contact with each other. As Zambrotta noted, there’s nothing like winning a World Cup to bond a group together!

Zambrotta also had a few tips for ambitious young footballers and some advice for their parents. He told the audience about the start of his own career when he played  on the football pitch of a church in Como and which led to the youth academy of Como Calcio and then on to AS Bari in the Serie A. His advice was that the most important thing was to have fun playing football.  That was the first thing he would always tell children. For parents, it was important that they gave their children the freedom to make their own decisions. Too much pressure from parents could do more harm than good. Just as important was to find a club where you could learn. For Zambotta that was Bari under coach Eugenio Fascetti. At that time, the club and the coach were known not only for developing and supporting young players, but also for giving them the appropriate playing time. He benefited enormously from this as a young professional, Zambrotta recalled, thus making a connection to the current state of the Italian national team.

Asked about the team missing out on the FIFA World Cup for the second time in a row, the former full back said that young players need one thing above all else to develop: playing time at the highest level. That's what they need to work on in Italy, he said, and to build a new team after failing to qualify for the 2022 World Cup which he noted would take time.

Zambrotta also had a surprise for museum director Marco Fazzone. He presented the director with a pair of shin pads and a pair of football boots for the FIFA Museum Collection, both of which he had worn at the 2006 World Cup, along with a pair of gold boots that Italy's supplier had gifted to all the players in the team after becoming world champions.

At the end Zambrotta took time to sign autographs and pose for selfies with the audience, but before that he concluded the live talk by reminding the audience that they should remember that Italy may have missed out on the World Cup but they were still the European champions!