Former Italy and AC Milan boss Arrigo Sacchi has left his role as technical coordinator of youth development with the Italian Football Federation after four years. The 68-year-old cited overwhelming stress as the main reason behind his decision to step down.
"I am leaving behind an assignment which I care a lot about, but I have a terrible adversary - one I was able to manage for 22 or 23 years but that is now winning the battle - and that is stress," he told FIGC.it. "I have neglected my daughter and I don't want to do the same thing with my granddaughter, who was born two and a half years ago. I am no longer a young man and my recovery is slower."
Sacchi pointed out Italy's success at the 2013 UEFA EURO U-21 Championships, where the Azzurrini finished second after losing the final to Spain, as representing the highlight of his tenure.
"We eliminated a team like Holland and five of those players went on to play in a World Cup semi-final," Sacchi added. "Over these last four years we have worked very hard to try and give the kids an extra dimension and an international outlook."
Sacchi, who guided Italy to the final of the 1994 FIFA World Cup™ only to watch them lose to Brazil on penalties, believes the nation as a whole needs to indulge in "a little self-criticism" following another disappointing finals campaign. Italy, along with England, failed to escape Group D having won the world title as recently as 2006.
"It was a figment of our imaginations that Italy could win it," Sacchi added. "It would have been a miracle, one which did not happen. We committed mistakes and needed to do more. In Italy we need to start reviewing things.
"A little self-criticism would do everyone a lot of good. We can only improve if we stop crying over spilled milk. Italy needs to forget about cunning, careerism, short-cuts and compromises - otherwise we are down and out. I hope our nation is able to rise again."