Milena Bertolini breaks her silence and vents.

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Milena Bertolini, bitter outburst

After a few days of silence following her elimination at the women’s World Cup group stages in Australia and New Zealand, the now former coach of the Italian national team Milena Bertolini wanted to respond to the criticism she received with a long letter posted on her social profiles.

“The exit from the World Cup and the sporting defeat that we experienced,” the coach began, “have led me to reflections that I think it is important to share with all of you, precisely starting from that position of turning in on oneself that seeks to shed light on the shadows that risk creeping inside us, marring the beauty of the experience lived. I have given myself the right amount of time to observe and listen, not so much to the external movements and summary criticisms that are made in these “unfortunate” football circumstances, but to the complexity that always accompanies any criticality in a team.”

“A team, and by team I mean ALL STAFF and PLAYERS, is based primarily on everyone’s recognition of his or her own role and the indispensable support of the role of others. Assonance, harmony and sharing among individuals go to define a unified organism that can qualitatively express much more than each individual. This unitary organism can also express something less than the sum of the individuals, when each one of us does not subordinate our own protagonism in favor of the team, when a relationship of complementarity does not occur between individuals, when we struggle to accept organizational pacts of guidance and direction of the whole team ( staff and players).”

“Soccer is a magnificent sport of relationships and interrelationships, moving with spaces and times that must coincide in speed and expectation, rhythm and movements, ideas and proposals, energies… a thin thread that binds us in a relationship of interdependence from one another, where the Ego at certain junctures lets the We emerge and where the We moves in unison to leave room for individual play, only when it is good for the We. Soccer is an extraordinary metaphor for Life, because when viewed two-way it can create bridges.”

“The bridge that creates and makes every relationship fertile and constructive; that bridge that must be well built when advancing together with one’s teammates toward the opponent’s goal, in that amazing technical means that is the PASSAGE (technical gesture of relationship par excellence). Bridge also in the passage between old and new generations, on which to leave precious legacies, with the awareness and humility of knowing how to leave one’s place, which never belongs to us completely, but which sees us as passenger protagonists only if we consider ourselves to be passing through and not on thrones acquired for an ever.”

“The lack of bridges and thus relationships can lead us to damage ourselves, just at the most difficult time of the world championship. But it is not an accident, a mocking fate that turns against us. Instead, it is a fundamental event that must serve to form a gaze that knows how to grow even in loss and not only in victory. Too naive and obvious is the search for a scapegoat: let us not forget that when we point a finger at someone, the other three fingers of our hand look back at us.”

“The risk otherwise is to play the game against ourselves and not with ourselves and opponents. Therefore, I feel no resentment and have no reason to feel or look for a culprit. I think back to my more than 40-year-long sports history, dense with experiences at many levels, rich with experiences, bonds, sharing and skills gained not only within the Coverciano school, but within, above all, so many relationships. That necessary anchorage, when the storm rages outside and you need to grasp yourself firmly.”

“In conclusion I feel like thanking each and every one of them, from the girls to all the staff members present in each specific area, to the managers who were there for us, because each of them gave their all. Personal growth times do not always coincide and it is not always possible to achieve positive results, but I have no doubt about the commitment and good intentions of everyone. I leave the national team after so many years and I feel like thanking the Figc and Renzo Ulivieri for the great opportunity they have given me. They have been beautiful and very intense years, which I will always carry with me…. I wish the National Team and all women’s soccer to Grow and that the whole Movement will move again with vigor and energy. Thank you. Milena Bertolini.”

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