Rossi: “Albania is built like a club. Starting from a database of 800 players”

TMW exclusive

Alarico Rossi is the man in charge of the scouting department of Albania, the national team against which we will debut on June 15th

Alarico Rossi, what national team is Albania?
“It’s a team that cannot fail to take into account the history of its country. In Albania there are almost three million people, but many more are Albanians around the world, who emigrated after the diaspora: around nine million. In most cases we go looking for players, we have built an increasingly refined scouting system.”

How do you work to identify players for the national team?
“We travel a lot, but we work with video just as much. In our A list there are players from 29 different leagues and this means that, in any case, we have to take into account the contexts from which they come, which in many cases are very different. We have created a database of around 800 potentially callable players.”

How do you follow them all?
“With the help of technology. We have designed and developed an algorithm tailored to our needs that allows us to receive increasingly objective evaluations of the performance of each individual player. This algorithm takes into account many aspects, certainly also the championship from which they arrive: it’s one thing to play in Norway, another in Holland, yet another in MLS. We scout using the same schemes as the club, but with a completely reversed perspective: if in the clubs the visa is the least of the problems, for example. It’s a necessary condition for us to move forward. We often find ourselves dealing with players who can play for four different national teams.”

So you have to move before the others
“It’s like this, and it’s not necessarily enough. Reja made Mitaj, a defender born in 2003 now at Lokomotiv Moscow, make his debut at the age of 17. Thanks to that call-up we took him away from other national teams, now he’s a pillar of ours just like Ismajli of ‘Empoli who chose Albania after playing for Kosovo’s Under 21 team. Having a national team that has taken part in important international competitions for several years certainly helps.”

What does this scenario produce?
“The result is that Albania, like a club, is a constructed national team, not a chosen one. We go fishing for them around the world because Albanian clubs have not even participated in European competitions for about five years. The second consequence is having to accepting to deal with players who speak different languages, they are non-Albanian native speakers. In our locker room we also speak 4-5 different languages, as well as our staff. Multiculturalism is our watchword and also our strength. ..”

However, most come from Italy
“Inevitably. Due to the proximity of the two countries, due to the history, due to the importance of the championship which leads players to grow exponentially. Look at Djimsiti, thanks to Atalanta he has become a very strong central defender. But we have several, including Ramadani who is arrived in Lecce after having done a nice tour of Europe”

What do you fear most about Italy?
“It’s the title-holder team, there are players who know this type of match perfectly. Italy is made up of top players who are used to playing every three days.”

And what is the first quality of Albania that comes to mind?
“We have the enthusiasm on our side, we have nothing to lose. And then, as mentioned, many of our players in the squad play in Serie A: this match will bring with it additional motivation.”

What more did Sylvinho bring you?
“He and his staff live and work every day in the Federation office in Tirana. We are always together, in close contact, and this allows us to have total control over all the dynamics of our players. We are involved 365 days a day. year, completely within the work of the team and the Federation. His work methodology is also very interesting: very intense, based heavily on videos. The technical staff is at the service of the players to improve both the individual and the team’s game team. When he is in retreat with us, the player is never in his room, he is always engaged in some activity that can improve him. He learned it from Tite in his time with Brazil…

Who would you recommend to Serie A clubs?
“Mario Mitaj: he plays for Lokomotiv Moscow and I know he is followed a lot by Juventus. Muci from Besiktas is very promising, he will assert himself. And then Armando Broja, but he is already known to most…”