Showing posts with label Giovanni Trapattoni. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Giovanni Trapattoni. Show all posts

11 December 2018

Fabrizio Ravanelli - footballer

Juventus star who became a favourite at Middlesbrough

Fabrizio Ravanelli won five trophies in four years with Juventus
Fabrizio Ravanelli won five trophies
in four years with Juventus
The footballer Fabrizio Ravanelli, who won five trophies with Juventus between 1992 and 1996 before stunning the football world by joining unfashionable Middlesbrough in the English Premier League, was born on this day in 1968 in Perugia.

Playing alongside Gianluca Vialli and Alessandro Del Piero in the Juventus forward line, Ravanelli scored in the 1996 Champions League final as the Turin side beat Ajax in Rome before signing for Middlesbrough just six weeks later.

The ambitious club from the northeast of England paid £7 million (€8.5m) for Ravanelli, a club record fee and at the time the third largest sum paid for any player by an English club.

It was part of a huge spending spree by Middlesbrough, managed by former England captain Bryan Robson, that brought a string of high-profile signings to the club's Riverside Stadium including the Brazilian playmaker Juninho and England international Nick Barmby and another Italian, the Inter defender Gianluca Festa.

Ravanelli made an immediate impact, scoring a hat-trick on his Premier League debut against Liverpool, and ended the season with 31 goals in league and cup matches.

He also helped Middlesbrough reach both domestic cup finals, although it was a disappointing season for the club, who were runners-up on both occasions and were relegated from the Premier League.

Fabrizio Ravanelli, back row, second from right, lines up with the Juventus team before the 1996 Champions League final
Fabrizio Ravanelli, back row, second from right, lines up with
the Juventus team before the 1996 Champions League final
Ravanelli, whose position as a fans’ favourite was somewhat diminished by his outspoken comments about the club’s facilities and the town of Middlesbrough itself, had a further season in England when he joined Derby County for the 2001-02 campaign, but also suffered relegation there.

Although he finished second in the French Ligue 1 with Marseille, Ravanelli’s successes were all won it his native Italy.

A prolific scorer for his hometown club Perugia in Serie C and Serie B football at the start of his career, he had spells with Avellino, Casertana and Reggiana before joining Juventus in 1992, where he had to compete for a place in the forward line with not only Vialli and Del Piero but Roberto Baggio, Paolo Di Canio, Pierluigi Casiraghi and Andreas Möller.

After initially struggling to obtain a starting spot under coach Giovanni Trapattoni, due to this fierce competition, he worked hard to improve his skill level and eventually managed to hold down a place.

Ravanelli was a club record £7 million signing when he joined Middlesbrough in July 1996
Ravanelli was a club record £7 million signing
when he joined Middlesbrough in July 1996
During the 1994–95 season, under Marcello Lippi, he played a key role as the club claimed a domestic double of Serie A and Coppa Italia, playing in a three-man attack alongside Vialli, and either Baggio or Del Piero.

The Supercoppa Italia and the Champions League came the following season, to go with the medal he had won in 1993 as part of Trapattoni’s UEFA Cup-winning team.

Returning to Italy after his time with Middlesbrough and Marseille, Ravanelli was a double-winner again as Sven-Göran Eriksson’s Lazio team took the Serie A and Coppa Italia titles in 2000-01, adding his second Supercoppa Italia medal the following year.

A dynamic, physically strong left-footed striker known for his strong work ethic and determined temperament, as well as his eye for goal, Ravanelli earned the nickname 'The White Feather' because of his prematurely grey hair. In addition to his club success, he won 22 caps for the Italian national team, scoring eight goals.

He finished his playing career where it began, with Perugia, in 2005, before starting a coaching career that has not yet brought him success.  After two years as a youth coach at Juventus, he was appointed head coach of French Ligue 1 club AJ Ajaccio in the summer of 2013, but was sacked after just five months with only one win from 12 games.

A regular football pundit for Sky Italia, Fox Sports, and Mediaset, Ravanelli signed a contract in June this year to coach the Ukrainian Premier League club Arsenal Kyiv but resigned in September after only three months in charge.

A plaque placed in Piazza della Libertà to commemorate the 100th anniversary in 2000 of the founding of SS Lazio
A plaque placed in Piazza della Libertà to commemorate
the 100th anniversary in 2000 of the founding of SS Lazio
Travel tip:

Although they have played their home games at the Stadio Olimpico, the ground in the north of Rome that they share with city rivals AS Roma, the SS Lazio football club used to play in the Prati district, now a chic neighbourhood known for its wide, sweeping avenues, elegant architecture and affluent residents. SS Lazio was formed in 1900 by a group of young men at a meeting near the Piazza della Libertà on the banks of the Tiber.  Prati is also the home of the vast Palazzo di Giustizia in Piazza Cavour that houses the Supreme Court.

Hotels in Rome from TripAdvisor

Perugia's Piazza IV Novembre is one of the city's main squares, home to the city's cathedral
Perugia's Piazza IV Novembre is one of the city's main
squares, home to the city's cathedral
Travel tip:

Perugia, where Fabrizio Ravanelli was born, is a city of around 170,000 inhabitants built on a hill in Umbria, of which it is the regional capital.  Established in the Etruscan period, it remained an important city, always a target for invading armies because of its strategic value.  Nowadays, it is home to some 34,000 students at the University of Perugia and is a notable centre for culture and the arts, hosting the world-renowned Umbria Jazz Festival each July. It also hosts a chocolate festival – Perugia being the home of the Perugina chocolate company, famous for Baci.  The artist Pietro Vannucci, commonly known as Perugino, lived in nearby Città della Pieve and was the teacher of Raphael.

More reading:

Marcello Lippi, Italy's third World Cup-winning coach

How Roberto Baggio became a football icon

The seven titles that put Giuseppe Trapattoni out on his own

Also on this day:

1475: The birth of Pope Leo X

1912: The birth of movie producer Carlo Ponti

1944: The birth of singing star Gianni Morandi


9 November 2017

Alessandro Del Piero – World Cup winner

Former striker is all-time record goalscorer for Juventus

Alessandro del Piero played for 19 seasons at Juventus, scoring 290 goals
Alessandro Del Piero played for 19 seasons
at Juventus, scoring 290 goals
The retired footballer Alessandro Del Piero, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and holds the club records for most goals (290) and most appearances (705) for Juventus, was born on this day in 1974 in Conegliano in the Veneto.

Regarded as one of Italy’s greatest players, his overall goals tally of 346 in Italian football in all competitions has been bettered only once in history, by Silvio Piola, who was a member of Italy’s winning team in the 1938 World Cup and who scored 390 goals in his career.  Del Piero also finished his career having scored at least one goal in every competition in which he took part.

Del Piero was a member of six Serie A title-winning Juventus teams between 1995 and 2012 and would have had eight winner’s medals had the club not been stripped of the 2005 and 2006 titles due to the so-called Calciopoli corruption scandal.

He also won a Champions League medal in 1996 after Marcello Lippi’s team beat Ajax on penalties to lift the trophy in Rome.

Del Piero played in three World Cups but was never able to reproduce his club form more than fleetingly in any of them.  He started only one match in the 2006 triumph of the Azzurri in Germany.

Del Piero leaving the stadium after his  World Cup semi-final goal against Germany
Del Piero leaving the stadium after his
World Cup semi-final goal against Germany
Nonetheless, he came off the bench in extra time to score the important second goal in the epic semi-final victory against the hosts.  In the final, against France, again a substitute, he scored from the penalty spot as Italy put together a perfect shoot-out to win 5-3 on penalties.

The son of an electrician, Gino, and his wife, Bruna, Del Piero dreamed of being a footballer but at one time considered a career as a lorry driver, because he thought it might provide his best chance of seeing other countries.

The family lived in Saccon, a hamlet outside Conegliano, and he played for his local youth team in San Vendemiano. He initially played in goal, which pleased his mother as she imagined there was less chance he would be injured, before he was persuaded by his brother, Stefano, that he would be wasted as a goalkeeper as he was as skilful as any of the team’s outfield players, if not better.

Stefano, who played professionally himself for Sampdoria before injury curtailed his career, went on to become his brother’s agent.

Del Piero’s first senior club was Padova, whose youth set-up he joined at the age of 13, making his senior debut aged 16 and his Serie B debut aged 17 in March 1992.  He scored his first senior goal in November of the same year.

Juventus signed him in 1993 for the sum of five billion lire and he would remain with the Turin side for 19 seasons under 11  managers, including Giovanni Trapattoni, who gave him his debut, Lippi, Carlo Ancelotti, Fabio Capello, Didier Deschamps, Claudio Ranieri and Antonio Conte.

Del Piero played for Sydney FC in Australia after ending his time at Juventus in 2012
Del Piero played for Sydney FC in Australia after
ending his time at Juventus in 2012
It was clear from the start that he was going to be a goalscoring sensation.  He scored his first goal for the club on his second appearance as a substitute and marked his first start for the senior team with a hat-trick.

When Lippi succeeded Trapattoni, Del Piero began to play regularly after Roberto Baggio suffered a serious injury, taking his place alongside Gianluca Vialli and Fabrizio Ravanelli and scoring eight goals as Juventus won the Serie A title for the first time in nine years.

There were similarities between his style of play and that of Baggio.  Both were technically very accomplished and both had the imagination to create goalscoring opportunities for themselves and others.  Gianni Agnelli, the club’s patriarchal former president, nicknamed him Pinturicchio after a Renaissance artist on the basis that his nickname for Baggio was Rafaello – Raphael – and Pinturicchio had been Raphael’s pupil.

In 19 seasons, inevitably, there were ups and downs, managers who appreciated his qualities and others who were less enthusiastic, but he inevitably retained the affection of the fans, not least when, as captain, he chose to remain with the club after their enforced relegation following the Calciopoli scandal, when many other stars left. He insisted that he owed the Agnelli family a debt of loyalty and would lead them back from Serie B to Serie A, which he did at the first attempt despite starting the season with a nine-point deduction.

It was Antonio Conte, his former team-mate, who would call time on Del Piero’s Juventus career when he announced at the start of the 2011-12 season that he would be using the player, by then almost 37, only sparingly.  Later in the season the club announced he would be released at the end of the campaign.

Del Piero stayed loyal to Juventus even in difficult times
Del Piero stayed loyal to Juventus even
in difficult times
Nonetheless, he scored some important goals, including one, against Lazio in April 2012, that would enable them to go top of the table on the way to regaining the title.  Ironically, he had come on as a half-time substitute for Mirko Vucinic, the Montenegrin striker Conte had signed as his replacement.

He made his final appearance in a Serie A match on May 13 against Atalanta, in the last match of the season and with the title already won.  He scored – his 208th league goal for the club – and when he was substituted he received an ovation from fans and both sets of players that went on for so long the match had to be halted as he completed a lap of honour.  There were similar scenes when he was taken off towards the end of the Coppa Italia final a few days later, his last match in the famous black and white shirt.

He played on for a couple of seasons in Australia and India on lucrative contracts before hanging up his boots for good in 2015. Since then he has pursued his interest in music – he is a friend of the musician Noel Gallagher, of Oasis fame – and done considerable work with charities.  He has made many appearances on television and is currently a regular pundit on Sky Sport Italia.

Married since 2005 to Sonia Amoruso, he has three children, sons Tobias and Sasha and a daughter, Dorotea.

One of Conegliano's ancient gates
One of Conegliano's ancient gates
Travel tip:

Conegliano is a town of almost 35,000 people in the Veneto, about 30km (19 miles) north of Treviso.  The remains of a 10th century castle, once owned by the Bishop of Vittorio Veneto, stands on a hill that dominates the town.  Conegliano is at the centre of a wine-producing region and is famous in particular for Prosecco, the popular sparkling wine made from the glera grape.

Travel tip:

Padua, known as Padova in Italian, where Del Piero began his career, is a city in the Veneto known among other things for the frescoes by Giotto in the  Scrovegni Chapel and the huge 13th-century Basilica di Sant’Antonio, with its seven Byzantine-style cupolas and four cloisters. The basilica contains many notable artworks and the saint’s tomb. The town itself is particularly appealing for its arcaded streets and stylish cafes.

17 March 2017

Giovanni Trapattoni - football coach

His seven Serie A titles is unequalled achievement

Giovanni Trapattoni during his time as Juventus coach
Giovanni Trapattoni during his
time as Juventus coach
Giovanni Trapattoni, the former Juventus and Internazionale coach who is one of only four coaches to have won the principal league titles of four different European countries, was born on this day in 1939 in Cusano Milanino, a suburb on the northern perimeter of Milan.

The most successful club coach in the history of Serie A, he won seven titles, six with Juventus and one with Inter.  His nearest challengers in terms of most Italian domestic championships are Fabio Capello and Marcello Lippi, each of whom has five Scudetti to his name.

In addition, Trapattoni has also won the German Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, the Portuguese Primeira Liga with Benfica and the Austrian Bundesliga with Red Bull Salzburg, with whom he secured his 10th league title all told in 2007.

Current Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is among the other three managers to have won titles in four countries.  He has been successful in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain.

Alongside former Bayern Munich coach Udo Lattek, Trapattoni is the only coach to have won all three major European club competitions - the European Cup, the UEFA Cup and the now defunct European Cup-Winners' Cup - and the only one to do it with the same club.  With Juventus, he also won the European Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

During a career in the dugout that spanned four decades, Trapattoni - often referred to as 'Il Trap' or simply 'Trap' -  was in charge at nine different clubs, including five in Italy.  He has also tasted international management twice, with the Italian national side and with the Republic of Ireland.

Trapattoni (right) and his assistant Marco Tardelli on the bench with the Republic of Ireland
Trapattoni (right) and his assistant Marco Tardelli on the
bench with the Republic of Ireland
He built his achievements around a method that combined elements of 'catenaccio' - for many years the defensive foundation of Italy's best teams - and the 'total football' pioneered by the Dutch coach Rinus Michels in the 1970s. His biggest regret was that he could not translate it to success with the Azzurri after he succeeded Dino Zoff as Italy coach in 2000.

Trapattoni's team qualified unbeaten for the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea but in the finals were knocked out in the round of 16 in controversial circumstances by the co-hosts, South Korea, when a number of decisions by Ecuadorian referee Byron Moreno went against Italy, leading many Italian commentators and Trapattoni himself to suspect a conspiracy to keep the Koreans in the tournament.

He also led them to the finals of Euro 2004 but the Azzurri this time failed to survive the group stage, their fate sealed when the final group match, between Denmark and Sweden, ended in a draw, which resulted in Italy's elimination. Trapattoni was replaced by Lippi as coach soon afterwards.

Trapattoni entered coaching after a massively successful playing career with AC Milan.

Trapattoni with goalkeeper Fabio Cudicini and coach Nereo Rocco after the 1968 Cup-Winners' Cup Final
Trapattoni with goalkeeper Fabio Cudicini and coach
Nereo Rocco after the 1968 Cup-Winners' Cup Final
A central defender or defensive midfielder in the Milan team in which Gianni Rivera was creative star, Trapattoni won two Serie A titles and two European Cups during his 12 years with the rossoneri, also winning the Cup-Winners' Cup, the European Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

Apart from one season with Varese at the end of his career, he played only for AC Milan. It was there that he began life as a coach, looking after the youth team and, for one season, the senior team before Juventus took him to Turin, where he enjoyed immediate success, leading his new team to the Serie A title in his first year in charge.

After four titles in his first six seasons with Juve, he took the bianconeri to the European Cup final in 1983, where they lost to Hamburg.  Two years later, he won the European Cup, although the victory over reigning champions Liverpool in Brussels was rendered hollow by the crowd violence at the Heysel Stadium, where 39 fans - mainly Italians - were killed when a wall collapsed.

Following a decade with Juve that brought six Serie A titles, two Coppe Italia and all the European glory, Trapattoni moved to Inter, where he won his seventh Serie A crown, then back to Juve, adding the 1993 UEFA Cup to his long list of silverware, before venturing abroad for the first time, with Bayern Munich.

Giovanni Trapattoni
Giovanni Trapattoni
He left Munich after just one season to become coach at Cagliari, where he was sacked for the first time in his career in 1996, before a triumphant second spell in Germany, in which he led Munich to the Bundesliga title in 1997.  Next stop was Fiorentina, whom he took into the Champions League.

After his disappointing four years in charge of the national side, Trapattoni's next five seasons took him to Benfica, Stuttgart and Salzburg.  After winning his ninth and 10th national titles, he returned to international football in slightly unexpected circumstances, taking over as coach of the Republic of Ireland team in 2008.

His biggest achievement with the Irish was qualification for the Euro 2012, hosted by Poland and Ukraine, although in some ways it was small consolation for failing to reach the World Cup finals in 2010, when Ireland earned a play-off against France only to be beaten by a contentious goal from William Gallas in the second leg in Paris after Thierry Henry handled the ball twice in the build-up.

Away from football, Trapattoni, who came from a working class background, has been married for 53 years to Paola. They have two children and a number of grandchildren.

A religious man, he is a follower of the Catholic institution Opus Dei and has been known to sprinkle holy water on the field before a game.  In 2010, he realised a lifetime's ambition by coaching the Vatican City team for a match against an Italian police team.

Cusano Milanino, notable for its leafy thoroughfares, is served by Milan's extensive tram network
Cusano Milanino, notable for its leafy thoroughfares, is
served by Milan's extensive tram network
Travel tip:

Although the history of the town of Cusano goes back to the fourth century, the 20th century brought a change in its character due to the development of the garden city of Milanino, the first to be built in Italy along the lines of those that began to appear in England at the end of the 19th century. With the support of a co-operative movement founded by Luigi Buffoli, Milanino was created to meet the housing needs of the middle class, consisting of elegant villas and cottages, in Art Nouveau and eclectic styles, interspersed with numerous green spaces, which are a particular rarity in the urbanised northern outskirts of Milan. The area became known as Cusano Milanino in 1915.

Milan's stunning Gothic cathedral
Milan's stunning Gothic cathedral
Travel tip:

Milan, where Trapattoni spent almost his entire playing career, is to many a more appropriate city to be the capital of Italy than Rome.  The global capital of fashion and design, it is also home to Italy's stock exchange, a financial hub and a city with a wealth of culture and history. The striking Gothic Duomo di Milano is one of the finest cathedrals in Europe, there are numerous prestigious art galleries and the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent houses Leonardo da Vinci’s mural The Last Supper.  The city has one of the world's most important opera houses in Teatro alla Scala and two of Europe's leading football clubs in AC Milan, for whom Trapattoni played and coached, and Internazionale, where he coached.

31 July 2016

Antonio Conte - football coach

Southern Italian roots of the new boss of Chelsea

Antonio Conte, the Italian coach who is Chelsea's new manager
Antonio Conte, the Italian coach who
is Chelsea's new manager

Antonio Conte, the coach who led Italy to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 and is now first team manager at Chelsea in the English Premier League, celebrates his 47th birthday today.

Formerly a hugely successful player and manager with Juventus, Conte was born on this day in 1969 in Lecce, the Puglian city almost at the tip of the heel of Italy.

As a midfield player for Juventus, he won five Serie A titles and a Champions League. He also played in the European Championships and the World Cup for the Italy national team.

After returning to the Turin club as head coach, he won the Serie A title in each of his three seasons in charge before succeeding Cesare Prandelli as Italy's head coach.

Conte hails from a close-knit family in which his parents, Cosimino and Ada, imposed strict rules, although as a child Antonio was allowed to spend many hours playing football and tennis in the street with his brothers, Gianluca and Daniele.

He began to play organised football with Juventina Lecce, an amateur team coached by his father, but it was not long before US Lecce, the local professional club, recognised his potential and offered him an opportunity.   Juventina received compensation of 200,000 lire - the equivalent of about €300 or £250 in today's money - plus eight new footballs.

Conte quickly moved up through the Under-15s and Under-20s teams and made his senior debut aged just 16 in 1986 after Lecce had won promotion to Serie A for the first time in their history.

Antonio Conte's played his first senior football for his home town club, US Lecce
Antonio Conte's played his first senior football
for his home town club, US Lecce
They were relegated after just one year and Conte's career was interrupted by a broken tibia in his left leg but he fought back, as did Lecce under coach Carlo Mazzone, returning to the top flight and finishing a respectable ninth in 1988-89, the season in which Conte scored his first Serie A goal.

The move north to Juventus came about in 1991 when coach Giovanni Trapattoni identified him as a prime target and the club paid Lecce seven billion lire, which would translate to a fee of around €6.1 million or £5.2 million today.

He remained with the bianconeri for 13 seasons, playing under just three coaches - Trapattoni, Marcello Lippi (twice) and Carlo Ancelotti - often as captain, usually in a central midfield role.  He was called up by Arrigo Sacchi to represent Italy in the 1994 World Cup in the United States, in which the azzurri finished runners-up to Brazil, and by Dino Zoff for the 2000 European Championships, in which they again reached the final, although Conte could not play because of injury.

As a coach, Conte had unsuccessful stints with Arezzo, Bari and Atalanta before winning promotion to Serie A with Siena in 2010-11, joining Juventus in 2011.  Regarded as a highly talented tactician and an astute man-manager, the only area in which he has yet to make a real impact as a coach is in the Champions League.

He has been married since 2013 to Elisabetta, although they have been a couple since 2004.  They met by chance at a bar in Corso Vinzaglio in central Turin where Conte was having coffee with one of his neighbours, who happened to be her father.

Travel tip:

Lecce, renowned for the extravagance of its Baroque architecture, is sometimes nicknamed the Florence of the South but has far fewer tourists, mainly because it is almost at the bottom of the heel of Italy and difficult to reach.  The ruins of a Roman amphitheatre are preserved in the city centre but most of the buildings are 17th century in origin, including the sumptuous Basilica di Santa Croce.

The Palazzo Madama in Turin's Piazza Castello
The Palazzo Madama in Turin's Piazza Castello
Travel tip:

Turin, the city of Juventus, is the capital of the region of Piedmont in the north of Italy. It has had a rich history linked with the Savoy Kings of Italy and there are many impressive Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo buildings in the centre, notably around Piazza Castello, where visitors can find the Royal Palace and the Palazzo Madama, which used to house the Italian senate.

More reading:

Marcello Lippi - World Cup winning coach

How Arrigo Sacchi changed Italian football

Dino Zoff - the World Cup's oldest winner

(Photo of Antonio Conte by Nicola Genati CC BY-SA 3.0)
(Photo of Palazzo Madama by Geobia CC BY-SA 4.0)