He might not be the first name on most people minds when it comes to recalling the great AC Milan sides of the late eighties and early nineties but for thirteen years Filippo Galli was a key figure for the team that dominated both at home and in Europe. Nominally a right back but used all across the defence when and where required, Galli eventually ended up with 5 Serie A titles, 3 European Cups and 2 Intercontinental Cups to his name.
This not only shows that he wasn't a bad player (indeed, he was actually quite a good one although those who remember him from his season at Watford might disagree) but also that he knows quite a fair bit about football. Which is probably why AC Milan gave him the role of director of their youth system.
With ever tightening financial purse strings, bringing players through is becoming increasingly more important for AC Milan. Which is why Galli has spent the past few weeks touring some of the finest academies in Europe; with trips to Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich looking at how they work.
"We're looking to see what we can apply," he explained. "There are a lot of things that can be adapted and introduced in our youth system. Looking abroad to see how we can improve is the right thing to do."
And that is the crucial point. If someone who has won all there is to win like Filippo Galli is eager to look at what others are doing in order to learn off them, how is it possible that other coaches whose CV's are far less impressive feel that they can get by with what they know?
Looking for ideas to adopt, whatever the source, is a necessity for any coach. Football can be pretty insular - look how long it took for people to start appreciating the potential of statistics, for instance - but there is much to learn both from what is done elsewhere and what other sports are doing. Those who understand and act on this are those who will excel.
The above article was first published in Blueprint for Football's bonus bi-weekly newsletter.