Former Italian international and AC Milan striker Stefano Borgonovo suffers from the incurable condition amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as motor neuron disease. The rare affliction causes muscle atrophy due to the gradual degeneration of the nervous system in the spine and brain.
The father of four is paralysed and has been confined to his sickbed for six years. The only parts of his body the 48-year-old can still move are his eyes. By focusing his pupils, Borgonovo is able to control a speech computer, his last remaining means of communicating with the outside world.
Despite his debilitating condition, the former striker has never lost his passion for the game and continues to follow all the latest developments. Such is his strength in adversity, he has even written an autobiography, Attacante nato ('Born striker').
The Italian, whose Stefano Borgonovo Foundation is supported by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and FIFA, explained to FIFA.com why he feels former international striker Vincenzo Montella has what it takes to be a world class coach. "Today I’m talking about Vincenzo Montella.
"He was a fantastic player, and now he’s on track to become one of our best coaches. In my opinion, Montella is simply predestined for success, just like Roberto Mancini. These coaches always come up with clever ideas to improve a given team. Calm and concise, but also capable of taking tough decisions when necessary: that’s a perfect summary of how Vincenzo Montella fulfils the tricky and often far from easy job of head coach.
"To be frank, I didn’t actually think he’d do it so well, so let me repeat this thought: he’s predestined for it. I’ve yet to get to know him personally, but I hope I’ll have that pleasure sooner or later. Fiorentina have found themselves the perfect coach, who’s succeeded in reenergising the very demanding and critical footballing city of Florence.
"I’m wishing Montella a great future and – why not – maybe even a Scudetto for Florence. I embrace you, Vincenzo."