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Marcello Lippi, Commendatore OMRI, (born 12 April 1948) is an Italianmarker World Cup-winning football manager and former player. Born in Viareggiomarker, in northern Tuscany, he served as Italian national team head coach from 16 July 2004 to 12 July 2006 and led Italy to win the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He was re-appointed as Italian head coach in the summer of 2008 after the disappointing performance in UEFA Euro 2008 under manager Roberto Donadoni.

Career

Playing career

In a professional career as a midfielder that started in 1969, Lippi spent most of his playing years with Sampdoria, where he played consecutively from 1969 to 1980, except for a year loan at Serie C side Savona. In 1980 he joined Pistoiese, being part of the Arancioni 's only Serie A campaign in history.

Coaching career

Lippi retired from active football in 1982, at the age of 34, to pursue a coaching career. Despite never having played for Italy at senior level, Lippi gained a wealth of experience over the years playing in his country’s top flight as a central defender for Sampdoria. His rise to the top of the managerial tree also began at the Genoese club where he started as a youth-team coach. After various stints in Italy's lower divisions, became a head coach in Serie A in 1989 with Cesena. Lippi then moved on to Lucchese and Atalanta. The turning point for Lippi came in the 1993–94 season when he led Napoli to a place in the UEFA Cup. The achievement was all the more remarkable given the financial turmoil of a club still basking in the past triumphs inspired by Diego Maradona.

Lippi was now a managerial target for the top clubs with Juventus winning the race to secure his services. He won the Serie A title in his first season with a team that included Gianluca Vialli and Ciro Ferrara, a player he had coached at Napoli and who later acted as his assistant with the Azzurri. The trophies began to flow thick and fast, including the UEFA Champions League in 1996.

After five highly successful seasons at Juventus, Lippi moved to Internazionale in 1999, but was sacked after the first 2000–01 matchday after having faced a lot of criticism due to his poor results in his previous season with the Nerazzurri. He was then again appointed as coach of Juventus for the 2001–02 season and managed to win two other scudetti, also leading the bianconeri to the finals of UEFA Champions League in 2003 held at Old Traffordmarker. Juventus lost to AC Milan in a penalty shootout after both the teams failed to score during the normal time and extra time.

Italy coach Marcello Lippi was something of an exception at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Unlike most of his counterparts, the Tuscan-born coach had only ever worked in his country of birth.

Lippi is not bound by a rigid tactical approach. He earns the respect of his players thanks to this flexibility as well as his own personal charisma and sincerity.

Italy national team

Lippi was appointed at the helm of the Italian national team on July 2004, following a disappointing Euro 2004 campaign by Giovanni Trapattoni. The Azzurri secured their passage to the FIFA World Cup finals with relative ease and subsequent victories, such as the 3–1 victory over the Netherlands and a 4–1 win over Germany in friendly matches, which raised expectations considerably. Explosion of the 2006 Serie A scandal (Calciopoli) during the late weeks of the 2005–06 season however lowered such expectations and raised criticism towards the whole Italian football people, including Lippi, blamed because of his long-standing ties and previous history with Juventus. In any case, Lippi opted to ignore such critics and instead looked to consolidate the team spirit.

In the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Lippi led Italy all the way to the final, where they beat France 5–3 in a penalty shoot-out after a 1–1 draw.

After winning the World Cup Lippi stated that this was his "most satisfying moment as a coach", even after winning the Intercontinental Cup and the UEFA Champions League with Juventus.

His 2006 victory was praised as reminiscent of FIFA World Cup 1982's triumph, as coach Enzo Bearzot then faced a great deal of criticism as well, including a matchfixing scandal (Totonero) which involved Paolo Rossi, who later became the World Cup topscorer and was called-up despite media opposition due to his Totonero involvement.

Three days after the final, Lippi did not renew his expiring contract with the Italian Football Federation, therefore he retired and declared his desire for a sabbatical, and left his office as the coach of the Italian national team. He was succeeded by Roberto Donadoni.

Under the management of Roberto Donadoni, Italy was knocked of the 2008 European Championships at the quarter-final stage. This disappointing performance by the World champions lead to Donadoni's sacking and, on June 26, 2008, Lippi was re-appointed as coach of the Italian national team

Coaching philosophy

In his book Il Gioco delle Idee: Pensieri e Passioni da Bordo Campo (A Game of Ideas: Thoughts and Passions from the Sidelines), Lippi outlined his coaching philosophy. First and foremost, Lippi emphasizes the importance of team spirit and team unity. Lippi likens a psychologically well integrated football team to the functioning of a psychologically healthy family. On the strategic aspect of coaching, Lippi emphasizes the importance of the mutual relations between players. Players must all follow the same plan and play for each other, "not" for themselves. Importantly, Lippi argues that "a group of the best players do not necessarily make for the best team." What is more important, he argues, is that the tactical plan or formation is one that allows each player to maximize (1) their utility for their teammates and (2) the expression of their full potential. Moreover, Lippi also notes that the choice of tactical formation is necessarily constrained by the qualities of the players available. Thus, selecting the best possible team not only requires finding the right combination of players for the chosen formation, but also finding right formation for the chosen players. Hence the title of his book, A Game of Ideas.

Honours

Club

Juventus:
*1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003
Runners up: 1996
*1995
Runner-up (2): 2002, 2004
*1995, 1997, 2002, 2003
Runner-up (1): 1998


*1996
Runner-up (3):1997, 1998, 2003
*1996
*1996
Runner-up (1): 1995


Internazionale:
Runner up: 2000


International

Italy national team:
*2006


Personal

  • Serie A Coach of the Year: 1997, 1998, 2003
  • IFFHS The World's best National Coach: 2006
  • IFFHS The World's best Club Coach: 1996, 1998
  • Onze d'Or Coach of the Year: 2007


References




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