So, things couldn’t have gone much better for Maurizio Sarri in his first Premier League game in charge of Chelsea. The Blues stormed to a confident 3-0 victory, three players got their names onto the scoresheet – including newcomer Jorginho – and Sarri managed to satisfy his smoking habit in the most disgusting of ways.
Had you torn your eyes away from the pitch during Saturday’s game, you would have seen the 59-year-old happily chewing his way through a 20 deck of cigarettes. While coaching Napoli, the gaffer was able to smoke til his lungs were content at the side of the pitch as he set a shining example for budding young sports fans across the globe.
But given that football stadia in England have been smoke-free since 2007, Sarri was prevented from lighting up and puffing away and so had to find a new, novel solution to his pressing problem. Patches and gum clearly didn’t appeal.
It’s not just gnawing on dog-ends that Sarri gets up to, however. No, there are far weirder habits taking place behind closed doors. The fags we can deal with, but some of this stuff is bafflingly odd. Or, it would be if our hunches were correct…
6) Collecting food
At some point in our lives, everyone collects something. Be it stamps, coins or cards, we’ve all gone through that tragic stage of excessive accumulation. Sarri, however, reportedly takes things just a little too far.
Having a preference for rounded foodstuffs – onions, melons, the more spherical potatoes on the market – the Chelsea gaffer enjoys building clans of foodie friends once or twice a week.
He’ll set to work with a Sharpie and scribble away until his collection have formed a happy crew of edible pals, complete with faces and googly eyes. After a week, naturally, Sarri ends up heartbroken as his gaggle of buddies dissolve into mould. He doesn’t let that distract from the good memories, mind.
5) Disturbing the elderly
Be warned, this one borders on the sadistic. Sarri has been seen from time to time – usually on the Christian Sabbath, the sacrilegious sod – waiting patiently until a suitably frail Dorris-type dares walk past his trap. He’ll then whisper obscene cruelties about their perms or Cath Kidston trollies and cackle as they try to escape his wicked taunts.
Sarri likes to make the most of his time off and so enjoys visiting new, exciting places when he has the chance. If he’s bored, he’ll grab his gang of foodie friends and hit the road. It’s rumoured that the Italian likes to find the more obscure, nondescript locations out there.
Recent trips have included Grimsby, Nuneaton and Luton amongst several others.
He enjoys enacting his other favourite pastimes while travelling, too, and apparently partakes in what he’s dubbed ‘old girl terrorising on tour’. The spherical foods get right on board.
Sarri’s favourite way to kill a little time after a busy morning’s work at Cobham’s training centre is to be alone for a while, Sarri doing Sarri unrestrained. His own private office is complete with a neon pink chaise longues, posters of his own rugged face and 16 subwoofers playing on repeat Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’. He loses himself in the nirvana of release.
2) The cinema
Not the strangest habit going, you may remark. And you’d be right if Maurizio Sarri was your average Odeon-going film fan. Sadly, he’s not. Sarri sits slap bang in the middle of the seating, laptop in hands, earphones in ears, and watches his own separate films.
His choice of viewing pleasure changes regularly but he does his best to contrast it with whatever’s showing on the big screen. “It gives me a real kick,” he told reporters the other week having sat through Happy Feet as Schindler’s List played in the background. “Confuses the crap out of people.”
1) Managing Chelsea
You have to be utterly mental to take on that gig.