Van Basten on Sacchi's obsession: He would wake up players in the hotel by screaming tactics in his sleep

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 20. ožujka 2021.

Van Basten on Sacchi's obsession: He would wake up players in the hotel by screaming tactics in his sleep

Marco van Basten is one of Europe's most legendary players and the long-retired striker shared his feats between two clubs - Ajax and Milan. Speaking about his new autobiography, Van Basten also gave some tasty treats from his past.

A part of the legendary Arrigo Sacchi AC Milan side, Van Basten confirmed rumours that the Italian manager was so obsessed with tactics that he often yelled in his sleep, waking up players in the processes.

"Absolutely (laughs) he was yelling 'offside' and other instructions. He thought 24 hours about football. But we were also good in attack. Sacchi was obsessed with tactics," said Van Basten on the question regarding the now-confirmed rumour and on Sacchi's defensive tactics.

Van Basten went on to have a short-lived managerial career in which he led the Netherlands, Ajax, AZ, and Heerenveen, while also being an assistant. His teammate Frank Rijkaard had a far better managerial career at Barcelona to his surprise, as Marco didn't expect it.

"Not at all, he was always joking, telling jokes and taking life with joy, the opposite of me. At Milan he was the happiest guy in the world because he wasn’t obsessed with football. Later, when he returned to the Netherlands and played central, he became more focused. He always had a privileged tactical vision. Without him, Sacchi’s Milan would not have existed. It was balance, technique, and strength. He had it all."

A striker who scored 277 goals in his career, Van Basten commented on the young sensation Erling Haaland.

"Haaland is not only strength, it has the ability to decide in a small space. Zlatan has already shown that corpulence is not incompatible with technique."

In the end, the now 56-year-old explained his retirement thought process.

"I could see that I was not recovering and that no one could help me. I was trying and one day I said enough. I will never forget it, it was an August day in Milanello. I was training alone and could not do the planned exercises. It had been a long time since I met my objectives and I was getting depressed. I decided there, alone, on the grass."


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