Altafini advises substitutes to stay focused and ready

José Altafini, a former Series A striker and World Cup winner with Brazil in 1958, has given invaluable advice to substitute players in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Altafini, who often replaced none other than Pelé at some point during his matches, had a knack for scoring goals even when entering the field later in the game. But what quality does a player need when making a sudden entry to make a difference?

Altafini’s response was as succinct as it was pertinent. He told La Gazzetta dello Sport, “They must be good at being ready: this is the main thing. You have a few minutes to give your all and when it’s your time you have to be on the ball. Even when I knew I was going to enter the game in progress, I tried to remain focused as if I were playing from the first minute.”

Altafini goes on to underline the importance of substitutes staying focused throughout the game, even if they know their entry might only come later, and giving their all once on the field. His advice is especially pertinent today, in a game that increasingly values squad depth and substitutable talent.

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