How Filippo Galli Embraced Innovation to Advance His Football Journey

Adapting to changes is one of the most important aspects in ensuring sustainable professional development. Learn how football legend, Filippo Galli, leveraged his innovative thinking and growth mindset to fuel his exciting football journey.

Two people talking and smiling.

One of the best parts of sports is hidden in its complex diversity. Whether you enjoy its competitive aspects or perhaps you prefer focusing on its entertainment value, every person has their own motivation to participate in sports. And as time goes by and societal preferences change, the sporting landscape changes accordingly.

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing former professional footballer, Filippo Galli, whose progressive thinking and dedication to perfecting his craft has led him on an exciting journey of discovery and innovation. Known as someone who is not afraid to take risks, Filippo has never shied away from a challenge – a quality that has shaped him into the person he is today. As we sit down for our interview, Filippo opens up about his football journey and shares the importance of keeping up with technology in football.

A boyhood dream

Arguably one of the best defenders of his generation, Filippo Galli's story begins at his boyhood team, AC Milan. He spent 14 seasons with the “Rossoneri”, earning 5 Serie A titles, 3 European Cups, and a special place in football history. His career journey then took him to several different clubs before finally ending up at third-division side Pro Sesto which would also be the last chapter in his professional playing career. Despite his success, Filippo remains humble when describing the start of his career. “I grew up in the youth sector of AC Milan. I was actually quite lucky because I played during a fantastic period with great ownership and innovative coaches like Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello, with whom we won almost every domestic and international trophy”.

Filippo Galli as a young player in AC Milan.

With over 450 professional games and a stacked trophy cabinet, Filippo’s time as a player was lengthy and certainly memorable. And whereas most professional players would simply hang up their boots and enjoy retirement, the former defender had other, more ambitious plans.

A new beginning

Following his departure from professional play, the former Serie A winner decided to open a new chapter in his life – this time, on the other side of the sideline. Filippo became the coach and was shortly after appointed as the Director of AC Milan’s youth sector, a position of vast importance for the future development of the organization.

At the time of his appointment, emerging technologies such as data analytics and tracking started getting introduced to the world of football. Although some people might be intimidated by change, Filippo was already aware of the potential of such innovations. “When I was a player, we didn’t really use data or technology in our training processes. At the time, we only had VHS tapes that helped us analyse games but that’s about it. The first time I truly saw the potential of data and analytics was in 1994 when we played against PSG in the Semifinal of the UEFA Champions League. I wasn’t in the starting eleven, but I studied a lot of film to be prepared in case I had to play. Just 15 minutes into the game, I was subbed in for Tassotti and I immediately knew how to counteract their attackers. This experience truly showed me how important it is to study and analyse your opponents”.

Filippo Galli wearing the classing, white AC MIlan shirt in game.

Finding your style

Filippo quickly adapted his own style of coaching, one that integrates the usage of data and statistics to complement the style of play and vision of the team. “I believe that the use of data is strategic. It is instrumental not only in match analysis but also in scouting. When selecting new players, some people consider only their physical data – how fast they can run, how high they can jump, etc. However, I believe that we should use data to choose players who best fit the style of play of the team and complement the overall project in general.”

Filippo laughs as he reminisces about his playing days.

Although important, Filippo believes that it is essential for players to be compatible with their teammates and complement the development of those around them. When talking about his data-driven philosophy, the former pundit also stresses the importance of using technical data to delve deeper into the quality of a player. “I always look for players that fit the system. Once you find a player who suits the game model, we can utilize data to track their development and based on the results, we can analyze if the player’s progression is going in the right direction”.

More than just data

After a long and successful tenure in the coaching sector, Filippo continued his professional journey as a pundit before becoming an ambassador for Kama.Sport. When asked about why he chose Kama, he shares that it was about choosing a partner that understands and supports his football philosophy. “I quickly realized that the world of comparing and connecting data is evolving really quickly. From technical data to physical data there is a lot of information out there but at the end of the day, data without context is just numbers. Kama understands how to process data in a way that coaches can use it. Kama allows you to simplify the complexity of the game”.

Blending sport and data has been a major factor in Filippo’s football journey.

When further elaborating on his partnership with Kama, he shares what he thinks is one of the most powerful tools that Kama’s platform possesses. “What I like about Kama is that they do not only provide you with simple statistics. Their software can chain together different game scenarios to show you the true impact a player has on a game. This can really help you analyze complex in-game situations such as building up from the back and other performance indicators.”

“It’s about helping you stay into the complexity; we cannot escape the complex, but we can be better equipped to experiment and simplify it. This is what data is all about” – Filippo Galli, Former Professional Footballer and Ambassador at Kama.Sport

As we approach the end of the interview, I ask Filippo how he manages to keep up with all the changes around him and stay on top of the newest trends. He looks at me wholeheartedly and shares that competence is dynamic and that one should always look to improve themselves and develop their skills.