Remember the valiant Italian side from 2006 that won the FIFA World Cup against all the odds and was under the helm of a manager who had an astounding career and is still considered by many to be one of the best in the business? Yes, you are thinking straight. He is the iconic Marcelo Lippi.
Born in Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy and currently 74 years old, he remains the only manager to win both the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Champions League trophy. Here’s what you need to know about him:
Marcelo Lippi was a former professional Italian football player playing mostly as a sweeper. Despite never having played for Italy at the senior level, most of his club football career centred around Sampdoria. In I Blucerchiati’s shirt, he made 274 appearances and scored five goals. He finished his playing career with Lucchese and began his managerial career in 1982 coaching the Sampdoria (youth team). His turning point came when he led Napoli to a place in the UEFA Super Cup in the 1993-94 season.
He eventually became a target for most of the clubs in Serie A but Juventus were the one to raid him. Juventus were vehemently pushing forward right after he came in. Marcelo Lippi has managed a total of 531 games throughout his managerial career and has a mammoth record of a 50% win percentage. He delivered the Serie A Title, and the Coppa Italia in his first season at the club. He later went on to the UEFA Champions League in the 1995-1996 campaign.
A personality who had the idealism that a group’s success depends mostly on the mindset of the players representing the team and if they could express their true potential with their strong points. His teams knew how to man-mark and play zonal football, a blend of the old Gioco allítaliana and the new emphasizing his knowledge of the mixture of traditional and modern football. Playing mostly in a 4-2-3-1 formation, he is wildly renowned for his team’s defensive solidity in the tactics that he used.
The ultimate breakthrough arrived when he guided the underdogs Italy to their fourth star in the 2006 FIFA World Cup managing the likes of Francesco Totti, and Andrea Pirlo. He managed Italy from 2004 to 2006 in his first spell and came back to the helm again in 2008. With a total of 28 wins out of 56, The Italian side lost only 7 times when he was their manager.
He also lifted the 2013 AFC Champions League with Guangzhou Evergrande guiding them to their first-ever Asian title. He ended his managerial career on 22nd October 2020 as he announced his retirement from coaching. To date, he remains the only manager in the world to have lifted the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League and the AFC Champions League respectively.
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