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Facts about Marcello Lippi

Thu 26 November 2020 | 14:30

Marcello Lippi is one of the most successful managers of Italy who has won numerous trophies with Juventus and Italy national team. There are some facts in his personal and professional life which are interesting to know for every football fan.

Marcello Lippi

 is undoubtedly one of the most successful Italian professional football managers. He served as 

Juventus

 manager from 95 to 99 and also from 2001 to 2004. He had glorious years there and won five 

Serie A

 titles and a 

Champions League

 in 1996 along with other trophies.

He was appointed as the Italy national football 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 Italy national team head coach in the summer of 2008 and was succeeded by Cesare Prandelli after the unsatisfactory performance in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

He joined 

Guangzhou Evergrande

 of China with a 30 million euro contract. Lippi won three Chinese Super League titles and AFC Champions League in 2013. Then he coached China National team from 2016 to 2019. He recently declared that he has finished his job as a manager.

Interesting facts about Marcello Lippi you probably did not know

In this article, we will have a look at some of

the most important facts

about Marcello Lippi, one of the most successful Italian managers.

Marcello Lippi at a glance

There are some remarkable facts about Marcello Lippi and his personal life which you need to know. These facts are as follow:

 

  • Full Name:

     Marcello Lippi

  • Date of Birth of Marcello Lippi:

     12/4/1948

  • Age of Marcello Lippi:

     72

  • Place of Birth of Marcello Lippi:

     Viareggio

  • Nationality of Marcello Lippi:

     Italian

  • Height of Marcello Lippi:

     1.83 m

  • Weight of Marcello Lippi:

     78 kg

  • Father of Marcello Lippi:

     Salvatore Lippi

  • Mother of Marcello Lippi:

     Adele Degl'Innocenti

  • Wife of Marcello Lippi:

     Simonetta Lippi

  • Children of Marcello Lippi:

     Stefania Lippi and Davide Lippi

  • Net Worth of Marcello Lippi:

     €30 million

 

Marcello Lippi's early life and his career as a player

One of the important facts about Lippi's early life is that he was born in Viareggio which is a small town in northern Tuscany in Italy in 1948. He played for about 12 years as a classy central defender. He was never good enough to be considered for the Italy national team, but he was still recognized as a competent sweeper. Lippi was a clever passer who was completely comfortable on the ball. Finally, he retired in 1982 and began his new career as a manager whereas he did not know he would have prosperous years in the future. Needless to say that he has not won any silverware as a player.

Lippi's trophies and records

An important fact about Lippi

is that the Times included him on the list of the top 50 managers of all time and Four Four Two ranked him as the 13th greatest football managers of all time. During the course of his career as a manager he won one World Cup title, five Serie A titles, three Chinese Super League titles, one Coppa Italia, one Chinese FA Cup, four Italian Supercups, one UEFA Champions League, one AFC Champions League, one UEFA Supercup and one Intercontinental Cup.

Moreover, he is the first and so far the only manager to win both the UEFA Champions League and the AFC Champions League.

The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) named Lippi the best football manager in the world both in 1996 and 1998, and the best national coach in the world in 2006.

Lippi has coached Juventus in 405 matches. So, he is the second longest serving coach for Juventus after Giovanni Trapattoni.

Another interesting fact about Lippi is that he is has the most number of runners-up medals in UEFA Champions League. He lost two consecutive finals to Borussia Dortmund (3-1) and Real Madrid (1-0) in 1997 and 1998. In 2003, he led Juventus to another UEFA Champions League final and lost 3-2 in penalty shoot-outs.

 

Lippi's secrets of success at Juventus

One of the most attracting facts

about Marcello Lippi is about his glorious years at Juventus during 1990s. He knew Juventus did not have good situation at the beginning of 1990s. They had not won any Serie A title since 1986. He had seen the failure of an Italian sporting symbol, and in the summer of 1994 he joined the club when Vittorio Chiusano, then Juventus president asked him.

After three seasons without and with pressure ratcheting up, Trapattoni was not successful in his second spell in Bianconeri and he left the club after three seasons. So, Lippi replaced him. He had no choice but success, and so the resurgence of Juventus began.

Lippi gave Italian football a new beauty and dignity, not only on the pitch, but also off it. Contrasting the severe, scowling features of Milan’s Capello, Juve’s new manager had rough good looks. With his silver-white hair, tendency for cigars and sharp dress sense, he had a cool personality.

Lippi was a fervent football man and had good capability in behaving with different players. His tolerant appearance, peaceful influential experiences of playing on the beach in his birthplace of Viareggio, mediocre playing career and success at his previous teams in early coaching years would be signs of his glories at the new club. Regardless of his resume, he had a winning mentality who wanted to achieve everything. He could be a perfect manager for Juventus.

Lippi was famous for having close relations with the players of his teams. Most of the players did not have any problem with him. But in certain cases Lippi’s closeness was problematic. And, after the relationship between Lippi and one of the players became irritable, it may not improve anymore. In several cases he would confront some of the best footballers in the world. It indicated that he believed in the firm principle that if a player didn’t suit the team, he didn’t suit him.

Gianluca Vialli who was his player at Juventus later in his book, The Italian Job, said “With football being the way it is today, having an open dialogue with your players is crucial.” He added, “I speak to them often and I have to say it really does enrich me in so many ways: culturally, tactically, technically, socially … these are the things which improve a manager.”

Football in Italy really changed at the time Lippi started coaching. Possibly assisted by the efforts of Corrado Viciani and Tommaso Maestrelli who introduced Dutch-style Total Football in the 1960s and 1970s with Ternana and Lazio respectively, Italian football step by step stopped using Catenaccio, something which usually imposed the idea that using a fantasista meant spoiling the ingenuity of all other players.

Principles of play came have priority, but Lippi wanted to ensure the formation suited his available players. Therefore, when he started his new job at the Stadio delle Alpi and was met with four world-class attackers, Del Piero, Baggio, Ravanelli and Vialli, he began to implement a system that could take full advantage of the great attacking qualities accessible to him.

In his first two seasons with Juventus, Lippi preferred to use a 4-3-3 formation with three strikers that consisted of Vialli, Ravanelli and one of Baggio or Del Piero. The idea of using three attackers was unusual at that time, but the players could adapt themselves tactically so that they can play. “We had to work harder, both mentally and physically (when you’re one of three forwards, you have to run that much more to help out the midfield),” Vialli recalled in his book.

The three attackers were greatly involved in Juventus’ defensive tactics, constantly pressing rivals defenders. And they were supported in this regard by a midfield composed of supreme strength that often included Paolo Sousa, the avid Antonio Conte and the clever Didier Deschamps. By means of smart man-management and tactical plans, Marcello Lippi was able to combine function and talent to get a devastating effect.

No one was able to stop this Juventus machine; obstacles only had an effect of inciting the team. In the sixth match of the 1994/95 Serie A season Juve was defeated 2-0 to Foggia in an away match. It was revival in form and six successive wins kept them among the teams on the top of the table. Finally at the end of the season they won the first Italian Serie A title after 8 years.

Bianconeri could not defend their league title in Lippi’s second year as the coach, but they won UEFA Champions League 1996 through a penalty shoot-out win over Louis van Gaal’s Ajax. Juve had already eliminated Dortmund and Real Madrid at the previous stages. They have never won the trophy since then and lost the next 5 finals.

The formation of the three attackers changed for the 1996/97 campaign as Ravanelli and Vialli left the club. But Lippi used his own flexibility once again. Juventus succeeded to win a difficult competition to sign French playmaker Zinedine Zidane in the summer of 1996, and Lippi had to change the formation to suit the arrival of one of the best midfielders in the world. Lippi changed the 4-3-3 formation to a 4-3-1-2 that placed Zidane behind a strike duo consisted of Del Piero and one of Vieri, Alen Bokšić and Michele Padovano.

Despite the minimal formation change, the themes of Lippi’s side remained the same. He wanted all players to be involved in a game at all times. Cohesion of a real team means that the strikers should not merely attack. And, his tactics was balanced by the help of his defensive players including determined Uruguayan Paolo Montero, the enthusiastic Mark Iuliano and the adaptable Gianluca Pessotto who joined to assist Ciro Ferrara, who arrived at Juve along with Lippi from Napoli.

Next season, Juventus failed to retain the UEFA Champions League in 1997 and were defeated 3-1 by Brussia Dortmund in a final that Zidane could not play well as he was surrounded defensive players, they could win almost every other trophies they could, including another Serie A title, the European Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

Although Lippi had an amazing period of success at the club, he was very flexible. Identifying the fact that he had abundance of stylish defenders at his team he changed four-back formation to a dynamic 3-4-1-2 shape in the 1997/98 season. This adjustment enabled him to use three of Montero, Ferrara, Iuliano and Moreno Torricelli, with Di Livio and Pessotto as wing-backs, while keeping Zidane’s position behind two forwards, which now also included Filippo Inzaghi.

Lippi’s decision was courageous and was effective. Juventus reached their third consecutive UEFA Champions League final, in which they lost 1-0 to Real Madrid, and won their second successive Scudetto, beating an extravagant Inter side to the title.

Despite the fact that he had a second glorious spell with the club from 2001 to 2004, Lippi’s first era was absolutely his best. It was during this period that he rebuilt a dominant team not only as the best in Italy, but as one of the best teams in the world. He started his job at a club which was becoming unused and changed it to a team with winning mentality and made them “Juventus” again.

 

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Tactics of Lippi at 2006 FIFA World Cup

One of the facts about Marcello Lippi is about his philosophy at the national team. While Italy national team was admired for adopting a more attacking approach than Lippi's predecessors, which saw a World Cup record of ten of the team's 23-players score, with the team scoring 12 goals in seven games, the squad also had brilliant performance for its defensive strength.

Led by captain and the winner of 2006 Ballon d'Or Fabio Cannavaro, Italy's defenders and goalkeeper – Gianluigi Buffon – only conceded two goals throughout the World Cup, neither of which occurred in open play. After winning the World Cup, Lippi said that it was his "most satisfying moment as a coach", even after winning the Intercontinental Cup and the UEFA Champions League with Juventus.

He won the World Cup ten years after he won significant international cups, including UEFA Champions League and Internnational Cup — a victories that gave birth to a Juventus. But while his accomplishments led to thousands of people flooding the streets of Turin and Rome, the manager himself chose a completely different way of rejoicing.

Actually, as his players celebrated late into the Berlin night following their World Cup triumph, Lippi was not seen anywhere. “I grabbed something to eat,” Lippi said afterwards, “then went to my room and watched the entire game including the penalty shootout over and over again because that's my way of celebrating: watching the game again and enjoying it on my own with a lovely cigar.”

 

Marcello Lippi vs. Roberto Baggio

One of the significant facts about Marcello Lippi that you probably do not know is that he had disagreement with the former Italian star, Roberto Baggio both at Juventus and Inter. One of Italy’s best coaches and players had a rivalry that is infamous in the history of the game.

Baggio arrived at Juve immediately after the Magic performance of the 1990 World Cup which introduced him as a new phenomenon in the Italian football. His career at Juve was certainly the best years of Baggio (even if he managed to do incredible things in every team where he played).

In fact, Baggio suffered from an injury that made him lose his place at the team. His absence allowed young Alessandro Del Piero to show off and claim his space in the role of Baggio. In the final match of 1994 World Cup his missed a decisive penalty against Brazil and Italy lost the game and he was under pressure.

Marcello Lippi was appointed as the new Juventus manager in the summer of 1994 after leaving Napoli. Giovanni Trapattoni’s second spell in charge of the Old Lady, compared to the high efficiency of Fabio Capello’s Milan, did not yield the same success as his first spell and after three years was replaced by the Godfather of Italian football. Lippi guaranteed to make Juve less dependent on Baggio before the 1994/95 season.

At the end of the season Baggio was informed that the club could not guarantee him a fixed place in the starting line-up anymore and, with increasing debt, he would have to take a pay cut if he wanted to stay. Being aware of the fact that his value is ignored as one of the best players in the world, and still only 28, Baggio hesitated about their demands. He was sure that departure was unavoidable.

Despite his exit from Bianconeri, Baggio said nothing against Lippi; he knew it boiled down to sporting and financial problems with the club. They even shared a hug after his stunning goal in Dortmund. Nonetheless, over the period of the next four years, they had little interaction.

After a series of meetings with the Inter president, Lippi agreed to sign a contract with Inter in April 99 before the start of the new season.

One of his many disagreements with Juventus towards the end of his contract was the sale of Vieri to Atlético Madrid contrary to his wishes. Now, at a club where money was not important, he wanted the forward at all costs.

Lippi would have at his disposal arguably the best attacking line in the history of the Italian game in the formation of Ronaldo, Baggio, Vieri, Ivan Zamorano and Recoba. It was a combination of five artists with a mixture of creativity, speed, power, aggression and confidence. It was supposed that he would capture the title and end the pain of the Nerazzurri fans.

According to Baggio, he and Lippi had a meeting before the start of 1999/2000 campaign in which Lippi made promises that there would be room for Baggio in the starting line-up. Lippi told him it would be he and Recoba who would fight for playing behind the forwards while Vieri and Ronaldo could play as the strikers. “I didn’t ask him for any special treatment in the future but only that I would have the same chance as others. At least starting out. I wanted to play and be a starter,” Baggio said. Lippi’s promise was not long-lasting.

Lippi was informed about the traitorous atmosphere inside the Inter dressing room a few months before his arrival. Lippi, the newcomer, wanted to know who the leading figures were and what was being said about him.

In Baggio’s 2001 autobiography A Goal in the Sky, he says that Lippi wanted him to report anything he heard in the changing room directly to him, practically to become a spy behind the scenes. Baggio, who was always a royal player to other players, instantly rejected, stating: “Coach, I’ll help you in all ways but don’t ask me to name any names.”

Lippi, now desperately backtracking, accused Baggio of misunderstanding what he said. “I didn’t ask you to be a spy, you misunderstood me,” Lippi hit back at him, but it was too late. Baggio stresses that it was from this moment that Lippi started a war on him, and set about trying to degrade the number 10.

When the season began, Baggio was only on the bench. He didn’t play for Inter until the end of September, and only played 111 minutes of by the winter break. He annoyed Marcello Lippi yet further by saying that he hadn’t “kept his promises” by giving him a chance to play. Lippi responded that Baggio was definitely right in his statement, but only due to the fact that Baggio was in “poor physical condition” thus he did not deserve playing.

Like all great sporting challenges, Baggio and Lippi’s tumultuous argument reached a fascinating upsurge as Inter and Parma finished the season with equal points and they had to contest for the last Champions League spot. A playoff was scheduled nine days after the end of the season in the Stadio Bentegodi in Verona.

Before the game, Baggio and Moratti had a meeting in which the latter, who always liked Baggio very much and tried to sign him when he left Juventus five years ago, asked him to extend his contract. Baggio in a confident way replied that for as long as Lippi was at the club, he wouldn’t renew his contract. He could not probably tolerate another season under Lippi. Moratti replied that if Inter lost the playoff against Parma, his rival would not be at Inter next season.

Baggio had an excellent performance at the match and scored two stunning goals. As the referee blew his whistle, a combination of players, photographers and media all approached Baggio.

It was a contradictory moment for him because he knew his brilliant performance had just saved Lippi’s job and confirmed his own departure from Inter, but it was a display of professionalism of the maximum standard from Baggio, professionalism that Lippi had lacked during the season. The next day, La Gazzetta dello Sport gave him a 10/10 rating, which was rare for the paper and described his performance as the evidence of his everlasting class.

It was similar to the situation of Liam Brady-Juventus in 1982 and a sense of irony was in the fact that in the most vital match of the season Lippi turned to the person he used the least during the season because he was completely aware of the fact that Baggio would warrant his best chance of victory.

Upon the release of Baggio’s autobiography, Lippi denied the accusation and claimed: “During my career, I’ve worked with many great players. I’ve asked them for help in handling the team because they were authentic leaders. Players of great charisma, people like Gianluca Vialli, Angelo Peruzzi, Ciro Ferrara, Didier Deschamps, Laurent Blanc, and Christian Vieri etc. I didn’t look to Baggio for that sort of help because I didn’t and don’t hold him in the same esteem as the players I’ve just mentioned.”

While Baggio's fights with Sacchi, Capello and Ulivieri were over tactical issues, his disagreement with Lippi was totally personal.

Karma would affect Lippi and he wouldn’t be long at Inter after Baggio was forced to leave Inter. They shockingly were beaten by Helsingborg in the Champions League qualifying round, which meant that all of Baggio’s brilliance was undone, and after a defeat to lowly Reggina at the first match of 2000/01, Lippi was sacked by Moratti. Just three months after that incredible night in Verona, both men were gone, and Inter wouldn’t win the Scudetto for the next seven years.

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Has Calciopoli affected Marcello Lippi's victories?

One of the facts about Marcello Lippi is about the corruption of football in Italy. The Calciopoli scandal drew attention to the influence of Bianconeri managing director Luciano Moggi had on the Italian football since he had arrived at the club in 1994.

But, as John Foot asserts in his book Calcio: A History of Italian Football, “The Moggi system was not omnipotent.” And, for those who question the authenticity of Lippi’s domestic achievements during this period, it is worth bearing in mind the fact that the aforementioned corruption also involved other clubs in Italy.

In 1998, Zdeněk Zeman, then manager of Roma accused Juventus, as well as others of being involved in doping. Later, club doctor Riccardo Agricola was sentenced to a 22-month suspension in November 2004. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that it seemed Zeman’s comments point towards a wider concern within Italian football and it was not restricted to some Juventus-specific problem.

 

Lippi has published a book about his coaching philosophy

Marcello Lippi has written a book entitled Il Gioco delle Idee: Pensieri e Passioni da Bordo Campo (A Game of Ideas: Thoughts and Passions from the Sidelines). In his book he defines his coaching philosophy. He stresses on the significance of team spirit and unity. He compares a psychologically well integrated football team with the functioning of a family which is psychologically healthy. He believes on the strategic feature of coaching, he highlights the importance of mutual relations between players in a team.

All of the players have to follow the same plan and play for each other and "not" for themselves. Lippi maintains that "a group of the best players do not necessarily make for the best team." What is more important, he says, is that the tactical plan or formation is something that allows each player to maximize his helpfulness for his teammates and the showing his full potential as well. Lippi also claims that the choice of tactical formation is constrained by the qualities of the players of the team. Thus, selecting the best possible team not only necessitates finding the right combination of players for the preferred formation, but also finding the right formation for the preferred players.

 

Failure of Lippi at Inter and 2010 World Cup

One of the important facts about Marcello Lippi is that he had failures during his professional career as every manager may have. Although he had remarkable accomplishments at Juve, he failed to win any title at Inter. Furthermore, his second spell at Italy national team was a complete disappointment while he had won World Cup in 2006.  

He led the Inter Milan to fourth-place in the league and the 2000 Coppa Italia Final, though he was sacked after an unacceptable defeat in the first match-day of the 2000–01 Serie A season. Lippi had previously received important criticism because of his unacceptable results in his previous season with the Nerazzurri. Before that Inter were eliminated from the 2000–01 UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round by Swedish team Helsingborgs IF without being able to score a goal in both games.

He was unable to make the Nerazzurri players to understand and follow his philosophy and could not repeat the achievement he had in Turin. He harshly criticized his team after the first match of the 2000-01 season, and he was sacked by Inter president Massimo Moratti just a day later after the defeat to Reggina in the first match of Serie A.

Regarding 2010 World Cup, Lippi selected mostly veterans of the winning 2006 players for the competition, overlooking younger players such as Mario Balotelli and Giuseppe Rossi, in addition to remarkable players such as Antonio Cassano. Italy's performance at the 2010 World Cup was incomparable with that of 2006, drawing 1–1 with both Paraguay and New Zealand before losing 3–2 to Slovakia and finishing the World Cup at the bottom of the group. Lippi resigned after his failure at 2010 and Cesare Prandelli was appointed as the new coach.

 

Lippi loves Smoking

Another amazing fact about Marcello Lippi

 is that he likes smoking very much. He was hardly seen without his cigar on the bench. Lippi was also famous for smoking Mercator cigars when he was on the bench during matches in his early coaching career.

Marcello Lippi began smoking since he was a teenager and started with cigarettes. Cigars make him look like Paul Newman.

 

Former players of Lippi who became coaches

One of the wonderful facts about Marcello Lippi is that his former players at Juventus and Italy have been successful coaches or coached at significant clubs and some of them have been very successful, including Gianluca Vialli, Antonio Conte, Didier Deschamps, Zinedine Zidane, Gennaro Gattuso, Filippo Inzaghi and Andrea Pirlo.

Former Juventus coach in an interview said he is ‘pleased’ to see so many of his former players become successful coaches in their own right.

The legendary Italy manager who turned 71 in April and had an exclusive interview to Tutto Juve, said, “I would be very pleased if my ex-players had taken some of my working methods. I hope so. I spoke to some of them for advice, and we also chatted a bit. I am happy with their coaching careers.”

It is worth mentioning that in 2016, Antonio Conte admired Lippi for his coaching abilities and tactical skills, as well as his ability to communicate with and encourage his players to adopt a competitive team spirit and a winning mentality; he also went on to describe his experiences as a player under Lippi with Juventus expressing.

He said, "I remember when Marcello Lippi arrived from Napoli with great ambition and determination. He was very important, as he was able to transmit to us precisely what he wanted. We hit rock bottom with defeat to Foggia, so Lippi said if we have to lose, we’ll go down fighting."

Conte added, "From then on we attacked, pressed high and took the game to the opposition. Lippi was excellent at motivating the squad and passing on his ideas. I think the most important thing for a Coach is to have a clear vision and transmit that clearly to his players. Lippi always had that, as well as a great ability to motivate us, even when we played every three days. That Juventus had four consecutive European Finals and if you think back, that was an exceptional achievement."

Fabrizio Ravanelli, who, like Conte, played during Lippi's era at Juventus, has also admired Lippi, describing him as a boss who was excellent at reading the game and encouraging his players.

 

Sir Alex Ferguson praises Marcello Lippi

Another fact about Marcello Lippi is that in an interview, he said that Sir Alex Ferguson was almost like a brother for him. The two managers exchanged gifts during Juventus impressive clashes against Manchester United in the 90’s.

Also, Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the greatest admirers of Marcello Lippi. The Manchester United legend wrote in his book, Managing My Life, “Looking into his eyes is enough to tell you that you are dealing with somebody who is in command of himself”. The Scottish man added, “Those eyes are sometimes burning with seriousness, sometimes twinkling, sometimes warily assessing you – and always they are alive with intelligence.”

Moreover, Sir Alex Fergusen said in an interview, "I remember being in Turin and Signor Lippi was on the bench – wearing a leather coat and smoking a small cigar, smooth and calm, while I was a worker in a tracksuit being drowned in the pouring rain. To match yourself against the top coaches and to compete in all the great stadiums is marvelous."

 

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