19 Jan 2023
The Italian national football team’s fitness coach, Claudio Donatelli, says Aspire Academy’s integration of technology and human resources bodes well for the future.
Mr Donatelli was visiting the academy as part of the UEFA Assist project, which matches European football federations with ones from the rest of the world to help develop the sport. The programme has seen the Qatar Football Association (QFA) working with their Italian counterparts, the FIGC, since 2019.
Thanks to the QFA and Aspire Academy’s working relationship, Mr Donatelli spent time at the academy hosting meetings and workshops concentrating on optimising the specific movements made by footballers.
The activities were attended by academy coaches, student-athletes as well as technical staff from QFA’s youth teams.
“I think that you have a good future. There are many good athletes here with good knowledge.” Mr Donatelli, who worked with former Italy forward Paolo Di Canio at clubs including Sunderland, explained.
“The players are growing, obviously it will take time and patience, but I think in the future you're going to have a very good teams and maybe a very good senior team.”
Claudio Donatelli, who is a Euro 2020 champion with Italy as part of the technical staff led by manager Roberto Mancini, praised UEFA Assist Project initiative by European football’s governing body.
“This (UEFA Assist) is something very good for our environment, because we come here and get to know different ways of to do football and training,” he continued.
“I try to share my knowledge with players and also trainers. Here in Aspire Academy, I think that the sharing is always something very important for the future.”
Mr Donatelli feels that Aspire Academy is combining coaching and technology to produce excellent results.
“Technology is improving all around the world and what I saw here is something really special, unique in the world, you don’t often see this kind of technology all together,” he said.
“So, this is the best, I think, an integration between technology and human resources.”
The fitness coach, who has also worked with the Italian Judo Federation, added that the sharing of knowledge and information is an important part of his role.
“When I started working, I had a good professor who shared with me his experiences - so my mission is to keep doing like did my professor,” he insisted.
“So sharing is very important to grow for every community and it is a pleasure to be here and share information, I will do the same in the future.”
The visit is one of several exchanges that have been planned for 2023 with nutrition and sports psychology among the topics to be included in the future.
Mr Donatelli’s visit is a follow up to a trip last September by Umm Salal SC head coach, Wissam Rizik, when he spent time at a training camp for Italy’s under-21 squad. An experience that the former Qatar captain described as “very formative and valuable.”