10 years. Ten, very long, years. A period of time where many things can happen, where everything changes over and over again. Staying still for a long time is something we can’t think of. The judicial ordeal lasted a long time for Giuseppe Signori, a footballer who was runner-up in the world, the top scorer in our league, who was the star of Foggia, Lazio and Bologna and who has shone in all the teams in which has played. . A bad court case, linked to football betting, from which he was then completely excluded, cost him ten years of his life. And this is strongly emphasized in the film. Because imagine what can be done in ten years. Offside: a story of life and sportthe docufilm which tells this story, but also the glory years of what was an extraordinary footballer, was presented in Bologna as a Special Event on Friday 17 June at Medica at the Biografilm Festival. Born from an idea by Paolo Rossi, Pisu and Emanuela Zaccherini, directed by Pier Paolo Paganelli, the documentary will be broadcast on television on June 19 at 9.15 pm on Sky Documentaries (Channels 122 and 402 of Cel) and will also be available on demand and streaming NOW. We spoke to Pier Paolo Paganelli about the film, who was Beppe. And also what would have happened if in that haunted final defeat against Brazil at the 1994 World Cup, Beppe had been on the field.
Beppe Signori, the enthusiasm of a small child
What an idea he had of that story. In history this period is often repeated, 10 years.
If you look at what happened 10 years ago, you realize that more things are happening than you might think. In Out of Play – A Life and Sport Story I wanted to make you feel like ten years ago, that it’s not a pinch of your fingers. Think of the fact that between the ages of 40 and 50 a man reaps the fruits of his labor. I Giuseppe Signori it was completely frozen. I wanted to be a coach and that period burned down. At the age of 53, it is difficult to start a career as a coach, as 38 and 39 year old coaches are leaving today. They burned this thing for you. I was very impressed. Today the fact does not exist. But what do we do with those of ten years ago? It is that question to which there is no answer. I pointed out that ten years have passed, I wanted the public to weigh this thing.
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Who is Beppe Signori today?
Sometimes knowing your own myths is disappointing. To me it was a myth, I was always cornering when I was playing for Bologna. Instead I found a friend, a person you joke with, very humble. A person who is runner-up in the world and who never makes you weigh. And traveling all over Italy, from Milan to Foggia, and everyone who knew him spoke well of the player and the man. I tried to get him to say something negative, but no one, not even my sister, told me anything. Unfortunately he’s a good guy, there’s nothing to say. Sacchi even says that as a footballer he had no flaws. Sure, there are scars left after a similar story, but Beppe still has the enthusiasm of a child. He would like to return to the field, even as a youth coach. The important thing is that he does what he did when he was a child until ten years ago. He has been waiting. He has always struggled not to go into prescription, not to get an agreement, because he needed full absolution to keep the coaching license. As always he fought and will continue to fight, and will try to make his project, that of coaching, a reality. Focus on that, turn the page. With the book he wrote and with this documentary he tries to say: I am here too. He still has this enthusiasm that I don’t even see in young players who now take up football as a job just to make money.
Beppe Signori scored from the sidelines
Beppe Signori had no physicality, but speed and a great shot: he was a single player.
He scored everywhere: you gave him two meters and he, if he had time to coordinate, at least grabbed the door. I scored about sixty goals in the 188 series film he scored in the Serie A series, and they are all of great caliber. From time to time we see someone like that. Instead, he had a crazy vision: he had the goal of the robbery, the foul, the penalties, and the documentary also explains how he specialized in this technique, free kicks and penalties. He was one of those players who didn’t have to give up two yards, but he would punish you. I had the satisfaction of haggling with him. There was a moment when he said: now I’m going to make a penalty at the speed you throw in Serie A … I saw that ball when it went into the net, I didn’t even see it pass. That is, the coordination he still has. All coaches say, first Zoff, he had this awesome shot, it was his characteristic. The physique at that moment doesn’t matter, because if they let you two meters, you put it in the goal. And then players like Maradona and Messi are lower than him …
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The film also talks about Foggia, and Zemanlandia, as the redemption of the province …
Shooting in Foggia with Beppe is like shooting in Naples with Maradona, you can’t. An icon has remained for Foggia’s story. Already in Bologna, where he lives, he made his own, but it is a place that has had some results. In Foggia it was precisely the moment when the team became known at the football level, and he continued to be one of the heroes of that team. Franco Order described perfectly that Foggia was a fairy tale.
If the gentlemen had played that haunted final …
In the film he was lucky enough to speak Gentlemen himself, and many others. How did you choose who to interview and who surprised you the most?
I need people who want to talk. Beppe and I made a list, although I couldn’t get some. I would have liked to interview Baggio for something of his own. I can tell you about a Casiraghi who is another equally humble person, and after the friendship with Baiano, Rambaudi. And then the coaches: Zoff’s tears welled up in his eyes. Sacchi said he had no flaws. I was all amazed, but mostly because there was love for the person.
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I always thought that in that 1994 World Cup final, in which Baggio was ill, if Signori, who didn’t play a single minute, had been on the pitch, maybe history would have changed …
Meanwhile there was another player, who had been sent off two games before, was available and had blood in his eyes, which was Zola. About Beppe, I agree with him: you have to play a final even if you play on the sidelines, and he was the one who didn’t want to play it for a while. He specifically asked to be used in the same role as Roberto Baggio. Sacchi said they could not play together because they were too similar in movement and characteristics, and he, who came from being the top scorer in Serie A, refused to play anywhere else, in the middle of the field. . Today he says that, returning, he would also play in Pagliuca’s place. He knocked a little on his own door. I also think it would have been better if I had played Gentlemen. Baggio could have played in the second half. Or he could have replaced Baggio in overtime …