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AC Milan Women’s Captain Valentina Giacinti on the derby, her career, and what Josè Altafini said to her

Hittin’ you with a 4 x 4

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Women Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

AC Milan Women’s captain, Valentina Giacinti, gave an interview to the Corriere della Sera, after winning the Derby della Madonnina.

The Rossonere skipper put on an emphatic display, as she scored four goals during that match. She’s also the first Milan Women’s player to score 53 goals in Serie A Femminile.

During the interview, she spoke of her role models, her performance during the game, responding to criticism, and the conversation she had with Milan legend, Josè Altafini, afterward.

On scoring four goals against Inter

“I have scored four goals before, and it happened during my first season with Milan. I did so against Pink Bari, and did so on the same day my grandfather, Riccardo, died. He guided me from up above.”

Her christening moment

The last Milan player to score four goals in a derby was Josè Altafini, who did so on March 27th, 1960 (one day before Valentina did).

The christening moment for Valentina Giacinti, the striker for Ganz’s team, and the first Rossonere to score 50 goals in Serie A Femminile (53), was sweet, “Altafini sent me an exciting message: saying ‘Good job Vale, I’m happy you equaled my record but now you have to score four goals against Juve’.”

Juve are still the leaders with six points over Milan and five match days left in the league

“They are a more cohesive group, as they have more international experience and it comes through in the matches that count. It is the old Brescia block that Juve inherited and they are also the core of the national team. But Altafini’s words have motivated me to work harder and improve to myself.”

Is the goal to qualify for the Champions League?

“At the moment, the championship is still not mathematically closed. We have to secure second place and stave off the threat from Sassuolo. I want to play in Europe [next season].”

Against Inter, you seemed to have been exaggerating a little during the goal celebrations

“[During the match] I went out onto the field and just focused on myself. I wanted to respond to certain criticisms [made against me]. The first goal was a header and it’s not exactly my specialty. Then came the penalty. After the third I took off my shirt and just wore my bra: it was a spontaneous and angry reaction, but I felt liberated afterward. Verónica Boquete then came up to me and said, ‘It would be bad for you if you get a second yellow card!’ After the fourth goal I said to myself, this is officially my day.”

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Women Serie A Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Can you explain your instinct for scoring goals?

“I was born to be an attacker, as scoring is an innate instinct for me. As a child, my greatest joy was hitting the vase in my living room. My parents scolded me but I was very happy [to hit it].”

[Our condolences to that poor vase for being the victim of Giacinti’s aggression]

They say you’re the best number nine for Milan since Pippo Inzaghi...

“My ideal striker is Van Basten; he was my idol as a girl, and, despite supporting Atalanta, as I’m from Bergamo, I also idolized [Christian] Vieri. Today, they say that I resemble [Álvaro] Morata, or I’m a little like [Ciro] Immobile, or a little like Inzaghi. I don’t know Pippo but I’d like to meet him someday.”

What would you say to Inzaghi?

“I would ask him why he celebrated his goals like that, as he was always angry but also had a smile on his lips. And then I would ask, how did he skirt the offside line, and who was watching him? What was his source of inspiration?”

Who are your sources of inspiration, Valentina?

“My dad, who took me to the San Siro for a Milan-Juve game when I was five-years-old. And my grandmother, Valeria, who is 82 and waiting to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Every Sunday, in Borgo di Terzo [Bergamo] where she lives, she cooks polenta and stands in front of television, watching Sky. If I lose, then she tries to console me by saying, ‘Vale, come on, you will win the next game …’ And then I will say to her, grandma, football doesn’t work like this! We have lost three points, and there is no next time!”

The FIGC has promised the women’s athletes will be professionals in 2022. What do you think it will be like?

“It certainly won’t change my life much. I already live as a professional in a club that treats me like I am one. I do hope that it changes life for the smaller teams. To grow as a league and attract the best foreign players to Italy, we need to raise the level our game, all together. The change will be felt psychologically, as we will feel more valued, and more on par with the men.”

How important is it that the national team has qualified for the Women’s Euros in 2022?

“Very important. The Women’s World Cup [2019] helped us find ourselves, and in England, we will have to be competitive against the best national teams in Europe. It will be a fundamental step for the development of the whole women’s movement in Italy.”

Women’s football has consecrated the San Siro with Milan vs Juventus on October 5th, 2020. It’s a shame it was behind closed doors, in the middle of the pandemic.

“It was a great feeling, even with the empty seats. As I touched the grass of the Meazza, my legs trembled.”

Will Ganz’s Milan be able to bridge the gap with Juventus?

“With [Verónica] Boquete and [Yui] Hasegawa in the midfield, we have a lot of quality in this team. And then there is Refiloe Jane from Soweto, who is a burst of energy. A hug from her changes your whole day.”

Serie A Femminile is currently on hiatus due to the international break. Giacinti and the Azzurre will play a friendly match against Iceland on April 13th. The affair will most likely be a bittersweet one, as Giacinti will have to face her former teammate, Berglind Björg Thorvaldsdóttir. She’ll also have to face off against Guðný Árnadóttir, who will be her squadmate next season.

For now, let’s just revel in the fact that Valentina Giacinti score four goals. More importantly, let’s celebrate the fact that we took the derby back from Inter, and we’re still in the running for Europe next season.