Tassotti and the elbow to Luis Enrique, which is heard in front of every Spanish team

1994 was a busy year for Mauro Tassotti. First, he became the European champion in the famous final in Athens, in which his Milan completely defeated Barcelona. In Spain, however, he is better remembered for another match that year, the one in which he elbowed Luis Enrique in the World Cup quarter-finals in the United States. We publish the second chapter of the interview with the Italian defender, which talks about a match that, despite the passage of time, continues to hurt the Spanish fan, although 30 years have passed.

Dino Baggio told us that the match in Boston with Spain was very difficult. How do you remember that quarter-final match?

This whole World Cup has been devastating. We were on the east coast and it was almost impossible to practice and play. Terrible heat and humidity. It was difficult to play football in such atmospheric conditions, and then there was Spain, which made everything very difficult for us. Definitely.

Let me add some irony: with VAR everything would have been different. The truth is that Luis Enrique has always publicly praised him over time.

Don’t think I gave that elbow because there was no VAR. I’ve already explained this a thousand times. I’ll say it one more time, hopefully the last time. It was an instinctive gesture: the ball was coming from the right, and I felt myself reaching out to my opponent with the intention of taking advantage before the ball arrived. I noticed that Luis Enrique was trying to gain position from me in order to benefit from the center. That’s when I gave this push. An elbow is an elbow, and it cannot be said that it was not intentional, but it was instinctive. It wasn’t intentional, not at all. He already had a lot of experience with elbows into the penalty area almost ninety minutes into the game. It’s stupid, right? That’s why I say it was instinctive. I’m not stupid. I apologized, although I understood that at that moment they may not have had the necessary emotional conditions to understand this. I think Luis Enrique eventually realized what happened. We met several times in Italy when he trained here (Tassotti was second to Allegri in Milan and after Shevchenko in Ukraine). We always said hello to each other. We have a good relationship.

How was the match?

Very balanced. They had a great chance with Salinas. Fortunately, Pagliuca stopped him.

This year is also the anniversary of Roberto Baggio’s iconic penalty miss. This changed the fate of the country, perhaps forever. What was said next?

There was a lot of crying. Many cried, because these are things that happen once in a lifetime. Then, over time, you realize that playing in the World Cup final is important. It’s not a victory, but almost. Time turns moments you don’t appreciate while you’re living them into action. Life taught me this.

Clemente has repeatedly stated that his Spain is among the favorites for a possible final victory. Do you agree?

An excellent team, but the world championships in America are won by people from there, the same thing happens in Europe. It’s true that football has just begun, but the South Americans have adapted best. The weather, time changes… We are not used to this. That World Cup was like playing in an oven, and those who were already used to it had the advantage.

Let’s go back to the locker room to decipher Baggio’s eternal silence. The tragic and silent hero, in a word, was always ostracized. We don’t know anything about him except Buddhism and the fact that he loves hunting. Ancelotti, you, Sacchi, Baresi… What were they talking about in the Italian locker room at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena? Yes, the same one on July 17, 2004 at 12:30 local time, when almost one hundred thousand spectators were preparing to leave the site…

We tried to encourage players who felt guilty. Baresi and Massaro also failed, but they had the character to throw them away. We tried to explain that no one was to blame, but fate decreed it that way. Destiny is assigned to everyone. Always. You have to accept it.

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