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Walter Zenga (born 28 April 1960 in Milanmarker) is an Italianmarker football manager and former player, a long-time goalkeeper for the Italian national team and Internazionale, who last served as head coach of Serie A team Palermo.

During his playing career, Zenga was part of the Italian squad that finished fourth at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angelesmarker, USAmarker and the World Cup squad that finished third in the 1990 FIFA World Cup tournament held in Italymarker, in which Zenga started every game for the Azzurri.



Zenga came back to Inter Milan in 1982, after starting his professional career in 1978 in the lower divisions of Italian soccer (his first team was Salernitana in Serie C1, and he also played for Savona and Sambenedettese). Zenga became Inter's starter in his second year with the team, and continued in that position for 11 seasons, until 1994, winning a scudetto in the 1988–1989 season and the UEFA Cup in 1991 and 1994, his last season with the club. After being one of the backup goalkeepers (third choice) at the 1986 World Cup, Zenga became the starter when during the 1988 European Championship in West Germany. Zenga was still first choice goalkeeper when Italy hosted the tournament in 1990, and led the team to a third-place finish during which he set a record of five consecutive clean sheets, and a total of 518 minutes without conceding a goal, a record still standing. The record was somewhat fortunate, as Czechoslovakiamarker scored against Italy in a first round match, only for the referee to incorrectly disallow it for offside. He finished his international career with 58 caps for his country.

In 1994, Zenga transferred to Sampdoria, and then to Padova two years later. He then moved on to New England Revolution and Major League Soccer. Zenga played in goal for them in the league's second season in 1997, then left to pursue an acting career (he and his girlfriend starred in an Italian soap opera). During a game versus the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 1997, he celebrated a goal by running to the sidelines and making out with his girlfriend, as the Mutiny barely missed the open net straight from the kickoff. Zenga came back to the Revs in 1999, as a player-coach, but only lasted a year in both those positions.

During his playing career, Zenga was nicknamed Uomo Ragno (Spider-Man) due to his goalkeeping skills, especially his agility.


After he left New England Revolution, Zenga retired from active football, choosing to pursue a coaching career. After a short stint with Milanmarker amateurs Brera Calcio, Zenga moved to Romaniamarker in 2002, first managing Naţional Bucharest and then Steaua Bucharest. In the summer of 2005, after being fired from Steaua before the end of the season, Zenga joined Red Star Belgrade, leading the Serbianmarker team to a double (national league and national cup in Serbia & Montenegro). In the 2006 summer, Zenga was called to coach Turkishmarker side Gaziantepspor; however, after a poor beginning (5 wins in 17 league matches), he resigned in January 2007 in order to accept an offer from United Arab Emiratesmarker club Al-Ain FC. After just 5 months in charge Al-Ain sacked Zenga, who was announced in September 2007 as new Dinamo Bucharest coach, replacing Mircea Rednic, but resigning only two months later following a 1–0 loss in a local derby lost to Steaua. He then accepted a job as football commentator and pundit for Italian public broadcasting service RAImarker.

On April 1, 2008 he agreed to replace resigning boss Silvio Baldini as manager of Catania. He made his Serie A debut on April 6 with a crush 3–0 home win to Napoli, leading them to a dramatic relegation escape during the final minutes of the league, after a 1–1 home draw against AS Roma.

Confirmed at the helm of Catania for the 2008–09 season, Zenga proved to be fit for the Italian top flight, leading the rossoazzurri to impressive results in the early part of the season, and agreeing a one-year contract extension with the Sicilian club.

Catania's playing style under Walter Zenga has being made famous due to the coach's care for free kick schemes; his assistant manager Gianni Vio is known to work exclusively on this particular side of football tactics during the weekly training sessions. He guided Catania to a mid-table finish and the Serie A points record for the Eastern Sicilian side; on the final home game of the season he announced he was parting company with his club by mutual consent.

On June 5, after being linked with the managerial job at Lazio it was revealed that Zenga had agreed a three-year contract with Palermo to replace outgoing manager Davide Ballardini; the move was hailed as a massive surprise due to the rosanero club being rumoured to be interested in several other managers and the bitter rivalry between Palermo and Zenga's former team Catania, which are also the only two Sicilian teams playing in the Italian top flight. He debutted with a 4–2 Coppa Italia win to SPAL 1907, and a 2–1 home win to Napoli in the first week of the Serie A season. However, a number of disappointing results followed, ending in an unimpressive 1–1 home tie to Catania that led Palermo chairman Maurizio Zamparini to remove Zenga from his managerial duties on November 23, after only thirteen league games in charge of the rosanero.


Walter Zenga has three children from his first two marriages. He has a son, Jacopo (who later became a footballer himself, and is currently playing in amateur Serie D after spending time with Inter and Genoa at youth level), from his marriage to Marche Elvira Carfagna. From his second marriage, to TV personality Roberta Termali, he has two more sons, Nicolò and Andrea. In 2005 he married 23-year old Romanian woman Raluca Rebedea.. On November 19, 2009, she gave birth to their daughter Samira Valentina.

Zenga often cited his ambition of becoming head coach of Internazionale in the future, which he regards as his ultimate career goal.







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