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Roberto Donadoni Biography

Tue 20 July 2021 | 15:30

One of the best footballers in the history of Italian football, who emerged as a good head coach in the 2000s. In this article, we will take a look at Roberto Donadoni biography.

Roberto Donadoni, born on 9 September 1963 in Cisano Bergamasco, Bergamo, Lombardy, is an Italian former footballer who played as a right-back. He became a coach after finishing his playing career. He holds a master's degree from Coaching High School in Coverciano and was graduated in 2002. He has a degree in surveying.

Roberto Donadoni began his playing career at Atalanta, then played for AC Milan. Donadoni was a six-time Italian champion, three-time winner of the Champions League and multiple winner of the Italian Supercup during his time with the Rossoneri. Later he played for the American club New York MetroStars and then again for AC Milan. He ended his career as a footballer with Arabian club Al Ittihad.

Roberto Donadoni was a player for the Italian national team. He won World Cup silver and bronze medals with the Italian national team and was honoured with the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

In his coaching career, Donadoni was in charge of


from 2001 to 2002, Livorno from 2002 to 2003, Genoa from 2003 to 2004, again at Livorno from 2004 to 2006. Between 2006 and 2008, Roberto Donadoni served as Italy's head coach at the European Championships but the team were eliminated in the quarter-final stage of the tournament, losing to Spain.

Donadoni was the head coach of the club Napoli from 11 March to 6 October 2009. Between November 2010 and 2011, Roberto was in charge of Cagliari. He was the head coach of Parma from 2012. He was the head coach of Bologna from 2015 to 2018. From 2019 to 2020 he was the manager of the Shenzhen club.

All You Need to Know About Roberto Donadoni Biography

Many pundits and football fans regarded him as one of the best footballers of his generation. He was described by Michel Platini as 'the best Italian player of the nineties' while Franco Baresi, his teammate at AC Milan, listed him among the eleven best players he played with in his career.

Roberto Donadoni Information

Now that we know him better, in this section of

Roberto Donadoni biography

, we will share some general information about him such as

Roberto Donadoni nationality

to let you know him even more.

Roberto Donadoni Bio

  • Full Name: Roberto Donadoni

  • Nickname: Roby

  • Profession: Professional Football Coach

Roberto Donadoni Physical Stats

  • Weight: 68 Kg

  • Height: 1.73 m

  • Eye Color: Dark Brown

  • Hair Color: Grey

Roberto Donadoni Football Information

  • Position: Midfielder

  • Jersey Number: 8

  • Professional Debut: 1982

Roberto Donadoni Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 9 September 1963

  • Birth Place: Cisano Bergamasco, Italy

  • Zodiac Sign: Virgo

  • Nationality: Italian

In this section of

Roberto Donadoni biography

stay tuned as we want to share some information about

Roberto Donadoni childhood

and more.

Roberto Donadoni Early Life

He started his professional football career at Atalanta. As a midfielder, he mainly played on the right side of the pitch and it was not unusual for him to join the attacking movements because of his offensive potential. He first played the youth championship with Atalanta in the 1981-1982 season, then he debuted in Serie B the following season, achieving a total of 18 appearances.

Donadoni was still in Serie B in 1983-1984, playing for Atalanta again: he collected 26 appearances, scored 2 goals, and went on to play in the top division for two years in the black and blue jersey of Atalanta, before being purchased by

AC Milan

in the summer of 1986. He was the first signing that president Silvio Berlusconi personally managed.

Donadoni stayed in Milan for 10 years, up until 1996, and contributed to many victories and historic triumphs. Those were the years of Arrigo Sacchi's "football revolution", of the great Milan, and of the Dutchmen Van Basten, Gullit and Rijkaard.

He won five league titles with AC Milan (1988, 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1996), three Champions Leagues (1989, 1990, and 1994), two Intercontinental Cups (1989, 1990), three European Super Cups (1989, 1990, and 1995) and four Italian Super Cups (1989, 1992, 1993, 1994). Donadoni was a regular starter under both Sacchi and his successor Fabio Capello.

After his experience at the World Cup, Roberto Donadoni left Italian football; with an unusual decision for a European player, he travelled to the United States to play for the New York Metrostars. Two years later, he returned to AC Milan at the beginning of 1997 following Fabio Capello's request.

He remained two years with the Rossoneri, playing 24 games, and then he made another surprising departure: he transferred to Saudi Arabia to play for the strongest local team,

Al Ittihad

. Together with the Arabs, he won the league championship: it was to be his last achievement as a player. Donadoni retired from playing football in 2000.

Italy National Team

He debuted on 8 October 1986 with the national team in


vs Greece with a 2-0 win. He participated in the 1990 World Cup in Italy and finished third, under the guidance of Azeglio Vicini. He was part of the team that went to the World Cup in the United States in 1994; still with Arrigo Sacchi on the bench. The Italians reached the final, but they were lost on penalties against Brazil. With the Italian national team, Donadoni played 63 games, scoring 5 goals.

Roberto Donadoni Profile

After his retirement, Donadoni was out of football for only a year. Having been temporarily allowed to coach, he became manager of Serie C1 club Lecco. Donadoni finished a modest 9th with this club. In this section of Roberto Donadoni biography stay tuned as we want to share some information about his


coaching career.


The following season, Roberto headed to the Serie B side Livorno. Following the end of the league season, Livorno finished only 10th, but Donadoni was optimistic about the team's future. Nevertheless, Roberto's contract with the club was only for one year. Roberto Tancredi, the club's sporting director that had invited Donadoni, stepped down and the club president, Aldo Spinelli, who was constantly critical of Roberto, was unwilling to see Donadoni "at the helm" of the team.


Right after Livorno, Donadoni joined another Serie B club,


. With the Genoa team, Donadoni failed to complete the season and was fired after a series of three defeats.

Return to Livorno

Livorno, by then relegated to Serie A, again recruited Donadoni in January 2004, who was then working with the club's youth squad. Donadoni was to replace Franco Colomb who had been dismissed for his team's unsuccessful performance.

The club, under Roberto, ended up in 8th place with striker Cristiano Lucarelli scoring 24 goals, who became the top scorer of the championship. Donadoni, who was once again criticized by Aldo Spinelli following the draw with


, resigned from his post in February 2006. This occurred despite the club ranking, by then, 5th in the Italian league.

Donadoni said: "My choice to leave Livorno was the only possible one, I feel at odds with the club president. Is Spinelli to blame for this situation? No, it is far from the truth. If the biggest shareholder does not appreciate me, then I am ready to remove his discomfort."

The other reason mentioned was that Livorno's best striker, Cristiano Lucarelli, started to have a conflict with Donadoni, and the club president took the side of the striker. But Roberto himself explained that this was "far from the truth". In this section of Roberto Donadoni biography stay tuned as we want to share some information about his career as coach of Italy.

Italy National Team

On 13 July, Roberto Donadoni was named head coach of the Italian national team to replace Marcello Lippi, who had left after a victorious

World Cup

in Germany. Roberto's close friend and former AC Milan partner, Demetrio Albertini, vice-commissioner of the Italian national football federation, was instrumental in his appointment.

In another story, Donadoni's appointment was prompted by a desire to see as head coach, someone in no way involved in "calcopoli", a corruption scandal in Italian football. Following his appointment, Donadoni said: "I am happy and excited. Everything is just beginning."

On 18 July, Donadoni was officially unveiled as head coach of the national team, to become the youngest Italian national team coach in the team's history. Italy under Roberto's guidance played their first match with Croatia on 16 August, finishing 0-2 for the Croatian team. The defeat was not met with heavy criticism: there was only one reigning world champion on the pitch, goalkeeper Marko Amelia, who was never fielded at the World Cup.

Soon after, with Donadoni at the helm, Italy had its first official match in UEFA EURO 2008 Qualifiers, with the Scudra Azzurras unexpectedly drawing 1-1 at home to Lithuania. After losing at St Denis to the French, the media were already full of talk of Donadoni's imminent departure, with the newspaper La Nazione's headline being "How to ruin Lippi's job in just three weeks".

It was the worst start to a qualifier the Italians had not seen since 1974. Not only his own mistakes had hampered Donadoni, but also the departures of the team's leaders, Alessandro Nesta and Francesco Totti, for whom there was no replacement.

After a disappointing start, the Italian team started to show a completely different football. During the next eight official matches (the team occasionally lost in friendlies), Italy achieved 7 victories, including one draw against France. And following an away victory over Scotland, which was, for Donadoni, "his own World Cup final", the team guaranteed first place in the group. Donadoni then renewed his contract with the national team, extending it for 2 years.

After qualifying, Roberto himself was not happy with the criticism of the national team. He spoke at a seminar for European national team coaches that "The Italian media is feeling free to be critical of the national team, they expect me to be superman. It's inevitable in Italy that people will give you advice and if you follow it, you will end up with 15 styles of play."

2008 European Championship

Italy started the tournament on 9 June 2008. It was a day of national shame, as Italy were thrashed 0-3 by the Netherlands. It was the biggest defeat for Italy in more than 25 years, the same score they had lost to Sweden in the European Championship qualifiers on 15 October 1983.

Already criticised for his much-loved 4-3-3 formation, which had been suspect during the qualifying stages, and for his choice of players, Donadoni was quick to come under fire. More specifically, for Materazzi, Panucci and Ambrosini: the first two defensive players lost out to the opposing forwards, most notably van Nistelrooy, and the third was not performing well at the supporting midfield position. Italy was also hampered by an injury to their best defender, Fabio Cannavaro, which "messed up everything", resulting in the Italian team committing many defensive errors.

The Italians played poorly against Romania four days after the humiliation by the Dutch national team. Luca Toni, who had the unconditional confidence of Donadoni, scored a goal that was incorrectly ruled out for offside, but other than that moment there was nothing to show for it.

Meanwhile, Alessandro Del Piero, who, on the other hand, was not trusted by the coach, and was only taken to the Euros by Donadoni to avoid criticism of Roberto by the Italian footballing public, was the only player who threatened the opposition through unconventional actions. Furthermore, Italy might have lost the game in the closing stages but it was Gianluigi Buffon who kept out an Adrian Mutu penalty. The game itself ended 1-1.

Donadoni said in his post-match press conference that his team had played well and deserved the three points, both in terms of the quality of play and the number of chances created. However, he said he was worried about Del Piero and Toni's actions in the attack, which did not pay any dividends.

The last match for Italy in the group was against France on 17 June. In that game, the Italians finally demonstrated a good game and won confidently 2-0. However, many people blamed the French team's disappointing performance on the fact that Franck Ribery, the team's attacking leader, was badly injured early in the match. However, Italy advanced from the group not only due to their efforts but also, in many respects, thanks to the Dutch team, who defeated the Romanians 2-0.

Italy was drawn against


in the European quarter-finals. However, Donadoni's tactics were cautious and the Spanish team did not take too many chances. It was a 0-0 draw. Italy lost the game on penalties, as they had done throughout Donadoni's playing career. Even here, though, Donadoni made a mistake: he gave the penalty to Daniele De Rossi, who not only had the most runs in the match but also suffered a painful injury.

The penalty was not scored by De Rossi. Another mistake was called when Del Piero, who was in good form, was only called out as a substitute in the 108th minute of the game, to which Donadoni commented:

"I could have brought Del Piero into the game a little earlier, however, De Rossi suffered a painful blow and we could have been left with ten men if he had not been able to continue the game. But Daniele proved himself to be a stoic. These boys are real fighters and it was painful for me to see some of them crying after the match. Sadly, it is part of our profession that brings us both great moments of joy and moments of sorrow"

After the Euros

Despite the defeat, Donadoni had no intention of resigning from his post. And Italian football's governing body was not about to dismiss Donadoni straight away.

Specifically, the president of the Italian football federation, Giancarlo Abete, had said: "We will review the performances in this tournament. I have already had a meeting with Donadoni to talk about the national team's performance at UEFA EURO 2008. The federation must have a clear plan for the future and we will definitely assess the situation. Now, while we are frustrated and need to show unity, this is not the time to be talking about contracts."

While the head of the Italian football league, Antonio Mattarese, said, "Last time a penalty shoot-out brought us luck, but this time it's Spanish luck. That's the way football is."

The press was strongly critical, however, and Italy's leading sports publication, La Gazzetta dello Sport, came out with the headline "It's over!" with the paper's Vienna reporter stating that Italy had "impotence in the attack", about the team not scoring a single goal in the game.

The head coach was also heavily criticised for the national team's one-dimensional tactics, relying on Luca Toni's ability to finish off chances created by his teammates, and the lack of depth in midfield, and the inability of the team to get out of defence quickly, among many other things.

Terminating Donadoni's contract "threatened" the Italian Football Federation with a penalty of €6 million, however, the Italian football administration used the clause stating that if the national team did not reach the semi-finals at the European Championship, then the Italian federation had the right to terminate the contract.

Donadoni was officially dismissed on 26 June 2008. After his dismissal, Donadoni had an interview in which he stated that he lost his place because of one penalty and that the Italian national team had done a good job.

In this section of

Roberto Donadoni biography

stay tuned as we want to share some information about his coaching career at Napoli.


Napoli, a club that had previously failed to win ten consecutive matches, were also interested in Donadoni, while the coach himself stated that he should not rush into it. However, on 11 March 2009, Roberto Donadoni was officially appointed to lead Napoli, signing a 2.5-year contract with a net annual salary of €1.8 million.

Donadoni played his second match in charge of the team against AC Milan and could have won, but because of an error by the referee who "saw" an offside error on the Napoli forward, the match ended in a draw. Donadoni himself responded rather calmly to the referee's error, choosing only to discuss the game itself.

In the 33rd match on 26 April, Napoli defeated Italian league leader Inter 1-0; after the game, Roberto noted that with the same spirit as in the game with Inter, his team must play every game. The Naples club finished the season in 12th place under Donadoni.

In the opening game of the 2009/2010 Serie A season, Napoli suffered a 1-2 loss to Palermo, but Donadoni was satisfied with his team's performance, saying that his club showed good football and in the second round the club won their first league victory, beating Livorno 3-1.

The start of the championship for Donadoni's club, however, was a failure for which he was heavily criticised, however, Roberto saw only positive qualities in his team's play and stated problems with the psychology of the players as the reasons for the unsuccessful performance. After a series of poor matches, Napoli's sporting director, Pierpaolo Marino, who had brought Donadoni to the team, resigned on 29 September but the dismissal of Roberto himself was not the subject of the club's plans.

On 6 October, just two days after Napoli's defeat to Roma, Donadoni was fired from his post and

Walter Mazzari

took his place. Napoli played 18 league and Italian Cup games under Donadoni, with the club winning 4 games, drawing 6 and losing 8.

Following his dismissal from Napoli, Donadoni was considered a candidate to coach Real Madrid; the website of Marca, Spain's largest sports daily, published a poll on who its readers would like to see as Real Madrid's coach, with Donadoni getting the fewest votes of the six candidates presented, at 2%.

Donadoni was a key candidate for the head coach of the Israel national team in February 2010. That same year, he became a candidate to become coach of the Russian national team. Roberto sent his CV to English club Aston Villa in September 2010, seeking the position of head coach.


After the dismissal of Pierpaolo Bisoli as head coach of the club


, Donadoni was one of the main candidates to coach the team. Roberto was appointed head coach of Cagliari on November 16, 2010. His contract was signed for 2 years. Cagliari played their first match under Donadoni on 21 November and beat Brescia 2-1.

The club lost its first match with Donadoni in charge on 5 December, losing 0-1 to Fiorentina. All in all, the club played 18 games in its first season under Roberto, of which nine were won, one was drawn and the club lost eight games. In the standings, the team ranked 14th, with the club having lost its top scorer, Alessandro Matri, throughout the season.

Donadoni was criticized during the season, specifically by the president of Cagliari, Massimo Cellino, but, regardless, the president showed 100% confidence in Roberto. That same season, Roberto was also a candidate to become the head coach of Dinamo Moscow. Donadoni was fired as head coach on August 12 over a conflict with Cellino, who had refused to buy forward David Suazo, who was wanted by Roberto and had even already trained with the team.


In the autumn of 2011, the management of Sampdoria invited Donadoni as head coach, but he turned them down. Donadoni took over as head coach of the club


on January 9, 2012, having replaced the sacked Franco Colomba. He signed the contract until June 30, 2013. In the first match under Roberto, Parma won 3-1 against Siena.

Gradually Roberto was able to build up his team's game: in the last 6 games of the league, Parma won 6 games, of which one was against Inter. With such a swift completion, Parma rose from the bottom of the table to the top ten.

The start of the 2012/2013 season was disappointing for Parma: the club lost in the first round to the national champion Juventus with a score of 0-2.  In the third matchday, the club suffered a 1:3 defeat to Napoli, Donadoni's former club. In mid-season, after a series of impressive games, including a draw with Juventus, there were reports that at the end of the season Roberto might take charge of AC Milan.

Following these rumours, notwithstanding Donadoni's own assurances that he would remain at the club, the club's performance deteriorated significantly, for a time even ranking 12th in the Serie A standings. At the end of the season, Roberto's club finished 10th in the league.

Like the year before, the start of the new season was disappointing for Parma: in the first 4 meetings, the club scored 2 points. However, the situation then began to improve, and as a result, the club, which had not lost for more than 4 months, began to take a place at the top of the standings by the middle of the season.

The successful performances of Parma attracted interest in the head coach from other clubs: Roberto ended up as a candidate for the head coach of AC Milan and English clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City. The club finished in 6th place at the end of the season, which guaranteed the team a place in the Europa League, however, Parma failed to pass UEFA licensing, and as a result, the place was given to Torino.

The 2014/2015 season started terribly for the club, with 6 defeats in a row; as a result, Roberto was in danger of being fired. The club was still playing poorly in January 2015, sitting in the last place in Serie A, with financial problems. Even the main star of the team, Antonio Cassano, left the club.

Parma players, who had not been paid for several months, declined to take to the pitch for the match against Udinese in February. Following the season Parma, which had about 10 leading players departed during the year, was relegated to Serie B and later was declared bankrupt and sent back to Serie D due to unresolved financial problems.


He became the new coach of


on 28 October 2015, taking over from Delio Rossi. He debuted on 1 November, defeating


3-0. Under Donadoni on the bench, the Rossoblu achieved good results, particularly the victories against Napoli and Milan and the draws against Juventus (who was coming from a positive series of 15 consecutive victories), Lazio and Roma.

He managed to lead the team from 18th to 14th place, saving the club from relegation on 1st May with the 0-0 draw with Empoli. Despite saving the club in Serie A with a large advance in the next two seasons, he was dismissed at the end of the 2017-2018 season.


He was appointed as coach of


on 30 July 2019, the second-to-last team in the Chinese league with 14 points collected in 20 matches. The team was relegated at the end of the season. Donadoni remained on the bench for the following season in Super League following the repechage of the club but, following three consecutive defeats and the third-last place in the standings, with only three points in the first four matches of the league, on 11 August 2020 he was fired.

Style of Play

Donadoni was a fast, intelligent, tactically ductile player with a great individual technique and sense of position. He started out as a right-winger, a position in which he was able to make the most of his skills even though he could also play on the left side, in the middle or as a trequartista.

As a coach, Donadoni was different from when he was playing. His characteristic feature was his calmness, his ability to negotiate and his dislike of conflicts of any kind, both with the players of his team, whom he supported in every way and with his direct superiors.


Donadoni is considered one of the most gifted football players of his generation and a legend of AC Milan. As a coach, he has also earned a good reputation for himself through all these years.

Roberto Donadoni outside Football

His favourite activities include golf, which he even played with Silvio Berlusconi, and watching movies, of which he favours science fiction films.

Roberto Donadoni Personal Life

In this section of Roberto Donadoni biography, we will take a look into his personal life and share some info about

Roberto Donadoni life story


Roberto Donadoni religion


Family, Children and Relationships

He is married to his wife Cristina and together they have a son, Andrea, born in 1989. The opinion of Andrea about the play of Roberto's teams is very important to his father. Their second child Bianca was born in 2013.

During Roberto's appearance in Saudi Arabia, the couple lived apart for two months because of the ban on women in that country walking without a black tunic, which they put on Cristina as soon as she arrived at the airport, as well as the tradition that prohibits women from eating at the same table with men in restaurants.


Donadoni has always been a part of many charity projects. For example, Roberto bought 15,000 masks, gloves and protective suits for Bergamo during the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy using his own money.

Legal Issues

At the time of writing this article, there aren’t any reports of legal issues or disputes to his name on the media.

Roberto Donadoni Career Statistics

In this section of Roberto Donadoni biography, we will take a look at his career stats on the international and club level.


As a footballer, Donadoni has played a total of 581 matches during his career for clubs in Europe, America and Asia, scoring 35 goals.


Between 1986 and 1996, Roberto Donadoni has played a total of 63 international matches with Italy and scored 5 goals.


Donadoni has a win ratio of 33.56 percent as a manager, which he achieved with 151 wins, 119 draws and 180 defeats in a total of 450 matches in charge of many clubs in Italy and China.

Roberto Donadoni Honors

He has won many titles during his playing days, including

Serie A


Coppa Italia

, Champions League, Saudi Premier League and many others.

He was also runner-up in the 1994 World Cup with the Italian national team. His notable individual awards include MLS All-star, Premio Internazionale Giacinto Facchetti and the AC Milan Hall of Fame.

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source: SportMob