LIVORNO – "An extremely good, highly professional, very popular player, a really kind person with great charisma and above all a winning captain." That was how president Massimo Moratti described Armando Picchi in Livorno, on the 40th anniversary of the Great Inter captain's death.
"A born winner; he had that in him even before he came to Inter. A person we are not only very fond of but who remains a symbol. A hundred years may pass but he will always remain a great captain, a man you could trust, a person of great integrity. He had this sense of authority but was also extremely good-natured – two things that aren't easy to combine. He was a captain and a sweeper, a position I consider noble even today. My dad trusted him and that is the most important thing."In terms of integrity and the example he gives, Zanetti certainly reminds me of him. We are honoured to have him as a captain now, as we were to have Picchi. He is doing a splendid job of keeping up the tradition.
"I have lots of memories of Picchi, all of them wonderful. On the pitch he was absolutely fundamental, just as he was off it. The coach, Helenio Herrera, played a crucial role but so did Picchi, both in his leadership and in his organisation of the side."
Picchi's memory seemed extraordinarily alive in everyone taking part in the event. A man who is also celebrated for his ability to be seen as a symbol in three cities: a leader in Livorno in the fifties, in Milan in the sixties and in Turin in the seventies. That is how he was described by Livorno councillor for sport Claudio Ritorni, who was echoed by the president of the Province Giorgio Kutufà. The mayor, Alessandro Cosimi, cherishes an even fonder memory, having had what he called "the fortune to take part in those legendary gabbionate* in Bagni Fiume. He was extremely polite and always ready to help - your archetypal Livornese; something to be held in high regard indeed nowadays, when similar examples are few and far between."
* Matches played on a typical Livornese pitch called a 'gabbione', which has very small goals and is protected on all sides, including from above, by a metal 'cage' meaning that the ball never goes out of play.