Zdenek Zeman Biography

Sat 24 July 2021 | 6:00

We all know him as one of the best Czech and Italian football coaches of his generation, who was able to introduce an entertaining style of play during his time with Foggia in the 1990s. In this article, we will take a look at Zdenek Zeman biography.

Zdenek Zeman, born 12 May 1947 in Prague,

Czech Republic

, is an Italian football coach of Czech origin. He is currently working as the head coach of the Italian football club Foggia. He started his coaching career in 1974 when he was appointed as the youth coach of Palermo, where he stayed for nine years.

During his career as a football coach, except for two short spells in Turkey (with Fenerbahce) and in


(with Red Star Belgrade), he has always worked for Italian clubs and in addition to many small Italian clubs, he has the experience of coaching Italian giants like Lazio and AS Roma.

The teams managed by Zdenek Zeman are known under the nickname Zemanlandia. Zemanlandia is an offensive style of football, initially, the term was used to refer to the provincial club US Foggia, which Zdenek Zeman was able to lead to Serie A in the 1990s, where he stunned the Italian top flight with his 4-3-3 offensive system in a defensive-minded Italian league.

That style of football was ahead of its time. It also proves that even a relatively unknown team with a limited budget that is keen to attack and can beat much bigger clubs.

All You Need to Know About Zdenek Zeman Biography

Zemanlandia is also the title of a 2009 Italian documentary movie directed by Giuseppe Sansonno about Zdenek Zeman.

Zdenek Zeman Information

Now that we know him much better, in this section of

Zdenek Zeman biography

we will share some more general information about him such as

Zdenek Zeman nationality


Zdenek Zeman Bio

  • Full Name: Zdeněk Zeman

  • Nickname: N/A

  • Profession: Professional Football Coach

Zdenek Zeman Physical Stats

  • Weight: 93 Kg

  • Height: 1.86 m

  • Eye Color: Hazel

  • Hair Color: Light Brown

Zdenek Zeman Football Information

  • Professional Debut: 1974

Zdenek Zeman Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 12 May 1947

  • Birth Place: Prague, Czechoslovakia

  • Zodiac Sign: Taurus

  • Nationality: Italian / Czech

In this section of

Zdenek Zeman biography

stay tuned as we want to share some information about

Zdenek Zeman


and more.

Zdenek Zeman Early Life

He was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, on May 12, 1947, in a residential neighbourhood along the Vltava river. Zeman's father, Karel, was a hospital chief, and his mother, Květuše Vycpálková, was a housewife. His maternal uncle, Čestmír Vycpálek, a former player and then coach, who was twice the Italian champion at Juventus, taught him the passion for the sport.

Between 1966 and 1968 part, together with his sister Jarmila, he went to


to visit his uncle Cestmire and to spend the summer vacations together, but during this period the political uprising that will lead to the so-called Prague Spring broke out. The USSR sent military units to restore order in the night between 20 and 21 August 1968.

Such political instability brought him to move and stay permanently in


. There he obtained Italian citizenship in 1975, and his degree, at the ISEF of Palermo with a thesis on sports medicine, with top marks. He served as a professor of physical education at the Gonzaga Institute in Palermo.

His early experiences as a coach in Italy happened in Sicilian amateur teams such as Cinisi, Bacigalupo on the recommendation of Marcello Dell'Utri, Carini, Misilmeri and Esakalsa, and then he took the professional coaching license at Coverciano in 1979.

Through the intercession of his uncle, he was invited to train the youth team of Palermo, where he remained until 1983 coaching youth ranks. He was nicknamed the mute by Franco Marchione, then accompanying the youth of the team

AC Milan


In March 1981, Fernando Veneranda, the coach of the first team of Palermo, was sacked, but Zeman was not able to take his place on the bench as a few days earlier he was suspended for raising his voice during a game of the Primavera, on the bench, at the match won 3-1 against Milan.

After three years in Licata where he won the Serie C2 championship in 1984-85, leading the Sicilian team for the first time in its history to Serie C1, he was hired by Foggia in Serie C1, where he was dismissed at the 27th match after the 5-0 defeat in Cosenza and replaced by Roberto Balestri.

He was then hired by Parma in Serie B, where during the preseason he managed to defeat

Real Madrid

2-1 and then he was fired a few months later. Then Zeman returned to Sicily to take charge of Messina; where he ended the championship in eighth place with the best attack of the league, introducing Salvatore Schillaci who will be the top scorer at the end of the season.

Zdenek Zeman Profile

Following a season guiding the Messina he was hired again by


, newly promoted to Serie B, with Pasquale Casillo as president. In 1989 he introduced the "Foggia dei Miracoli", which was marked by a 4-3-3 strongly offensive and a sparkling game.

After winning the Serie B championship in 1990-1991 with the best attack in the league - thanks to the decisive contribution of the trio of Francesco Baiano (top scorer of the championship), Giuseppe Signori and Roberto Rambaudi, where the first two also managed to play a few matches in the national team in their period in Foggia -, the team went on to play for three seasons in the

Serie A


There, they achieved ninth place (with the second-best attack in the league, behind the champions Milan) and, despite the sale of the trio of wonders, an 11th and again a ninth-place just touching the entry into the UEFA Cup, where they were defeated (0-1) by Naples on the last day of the championship.

In those seasons he also introduced Luigi Di Biagio to high-level football, who was to be reunited with him during his time at Roma where, under Boemo's management, he was also able to make the senior national team. Another notable played introduced by Zeman during his time with Foggia was Francesco Mancini and the two Russians Igor Kolyvanov and Igor Šalimov.

In this section of

Zdenek Zeman biography

stay tuned as we want to share some information about his career as the coach of




In the 1994-95 season, he was hired by Lazio, where he met again with Giuseppe Signori as a player and purchased Roberto Rambaudi, who would also join the national team in this period. In his first year with the Biancoceleste team, the Bohemian coach finished in second place, after competing for the Scudetto for a while.

His team had the best attack in the league, also thanks to the victories with a wide margin against Fiorentina (8-2) and Foggia (7-1), in addition to those against


(5-1), Milan (4-0), Inter (4-1) and


(3-0), which alternated with losses like the 0-3 in the derby against Roma.

Lazio reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup, where they lost to Borussia Dortmund, while in the Coppa Italia they were knocked out in the semi-finals by a double defeat to Juventus.

In his second season on the Lazio bench, he continued in the same vein as his first, with results such as a 4-0 win over Italian champions Juventus that saw the Biancocelesti finish third once again with the best attack in the league and Giuseppe Signori as top scorer.

In the Italian Cup Lazio were knocked out by Inter in the quarter-finals, and in the UEFA Cup Lazio failed to make it past the Round of 16, where they were eliminated by French side Olympique Lyon.

In the third season, following the sale of key players such as Bokšić, Di Matteo and Winter, the club was unable to perform well during the first half of the season and was knocked out in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals against Napoli and in the UEFA Cup round of 16 against


Following a 1-2 home defeat to Bologna on 26 January 1997, the Czech coach was sacked. During this time, he brought Alessandro Nesta to the forefront and introduced Marco Di Vaio and Pavel Nedvěd.

AS Roma

The following year (1997-1998) Franco Sensi offered him the


bench and Zeman agreed to revive a team that the previous year had been in danger of a serious collapse until the end of the season; following a market revolution and spectacular performances, the Roma finished fourth in the table at the end of the season.

Roma continued to play good football the next year, but their final position became worse, finishing fifth, meaning the coach would not be confirmed for the following season, after failing to qualify for the preliminary round of the

Champions League


During his Giallorossi spell, he introduced Marco Delvecchio and Francesco Totti and they were the authors of remarkable performances.

From Turkey to Italy

Following a three-month stint in Turkey with


, in which he won three, drew five and lost two, he stepped down and returned to Italy to coach Napoli, which had just been promoted to Serie A. After only two points from six games, he was dismissed by new president Giorgio Corbelli. By the end of the season Napoli, led by Emiliano Mondonico, were relegated to Serie B.

Zeman returned to Serie B the following year, again in Campania, first with the Salernitana, where he finished sixth with Fabio Vignaroli as the league's second-leading scorer and was fired the following year with a team consisting of players from lower categories, including a young Gennaro Sardo.

Later, in the 2003-2004 season, he joined Avellino, where he was reunited with president Pasquale Casillo and sporting director Peppino Pavone. He introduced the Belarusian striker Vitali Kutuzaŭ, the defender Matteo Contini and brought in the young Italian midfielder Antonio Nocerino, in his first year as a professional to the team: the club was relegated to Serie C1 and the coach left the bench.

In this section of Zdenek Zeman biography stay tuned as we want to share some information about his career as head coach of Lecce.

First experience in Lecce

Zeman returned to Serie A in the 2004-2005 season on the Lecce bench, where he managed to keep the team in the top flight and introduced Mirko Vučinić, Valeri Božinov (who was sold at mid-season) and Marco Cassetti, who also received a call-up to the Italian national team as the first player in Lecce's history.

When the season ended, his contract was not renewed. He finished the year with the second-best attack in the league, just one goal less than the champions Juventus, though the club's defence was the most beaten in the Italian league. For the first time in the history of the league, the club that had conceded the most goals was not relegated.

Spell at Brescia and Return to Lecce

Zeman took over Brescia on 5 March 2006, stating that he would play the remaining eleven games to win and to lead the team to the playoffs for promotion to Serie A. He replaced Rolando Maran, who was fired by president Gino Corioni, in spite of a 3-0 victory and despite the team being in fifth place in the standings. Zeman's Brescia team remained in

Serie B

at the end of the season after missing out on qualification for the play-offs.

On June 21, 2006, Lecce announced the signing of Zeman, who was back on the bench of the Yellow-Reds after one year. In Serie B, after finishing the calendar year in the second half of the standings and following 10 defeats in 18 league games, the directors decided to remove the Bohemian coach on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2006, while he was on holiday in Prague. Giuseppe Papadopulo was hired in his place. However, in that year Zeman introduced a young Pablo Osvaldo and Giuseppe Vives.

Red Star Belgrade

He became manager of Red Star on 17 June 2008, replacing Aleksandar Janković. His results were negative: the team didn't manage to reach the UEFA Cup, being defeated by the Cypriots APOEL. In the league, Red Star was last in the standings after three games with one point and zero goals scored, which, along with some disputes with the management, resulted in Zeman's mutual termination of the contract with the club.

The return to Foggia

On 20 July 2010, former president of the years of the prominence Pasquale Casillo and other businessmen officially bought back Foggia, recalling as coach Zeman and forming again the trio of the "Foggia of miracles" with Giuseppe Pavone as sporting director.

After concluding the season in sixth place with the best attack (largely accomplished with the pair formed by Lorenzo Insigne and Marco Sau, who was the top scorer of the league), and the worst defence, coming close to making the play-offs, he declared in a press conference on 23 May 2011 that his adventure in the club was over, as he was disappointed with the results he had achieved. In that season he introduced Vasco Regini and Moussa Koné; the latter ended up in the Ivory Coast Olympic national team.

In this section of Zdenek Zeman biography stay tuned as we want to share some information about his spell with Pescara.


He was appointed coach of Pescara on 21 June 2011, in Serie B. He brought the team back to Serie A on 20 May 2012 after a 19-year absence, winning the championship. Pescara scored 83 points in 42 games, with 26 wins (14 home and 12 away), 5 draws and 11 losses. Pescara scored 90 goals and had the best attack in the league while conceding 55.

During this season he introduced Ciro Immobile who was the top scorer in the league, Lorenzo Insigne (formerly coached at Foggia) and Marco Verratti, who together with Marco Capuano and Simone Romagnoli were summoned to the National Under-21 team, and Moussa Koné debuted in the Ivory Coast's senior national team, setting in this way also the record of call-ups for Pescara.

He was awarded the Panchina d'argento on 17 February 2013, which referred to his previous year at the helm of Pescara.

The return to Roma

He announced his farewell to Pescara on 2 June 2012 and moved to Roma as of 1 July 2012. With the club, to which he returned after thirteen years, he signed a two-year contract: he had never signed contracts of this length in his career, but only annual agreements. His technical staff was made up of Vincenzo Cangelosi as an assistant coach, Giacomo Modica as technical advisor and Roberto Ferola as a fitness coach.

Following his league debut at home against Catania (2-2), on 2 September he secured a 3-1 victory in Milan against Inter, enabling the Giallorossi to return to winning ways at home against the Nerazzurri in the league after 5 years. He was dismissed from his post on 2 February 2013, following a home defeat against Cagliari (2-4) on matchday 23 and with Roma in 8th place in the league table.

Throughout the season he introduced youngsters Alessandro Florenzi who made his debut with the senior national team and Marquinhos.


He became the new coach of Cagliari on 2 July 2014, as the first coach of the new owner Tommaso Giulini, with a contract worth 360,000 euros and a salvation bonus of 200,000 euros. He was greeted with joy and happiness by all the people of Cagliari, as it happens often when his appointment as coach in any team is made known, eager to see the famous "Zemanlandia" at work.

He drew 1-1 against Sassuolo on his debut on the Sardinian bench. In spite of "Zeman-like" triumphs such as the 1-4 against Inter, which was the Bohemian's first victory on the red and blue's bench, and 0-4 against Empoli, both away from home, he failed to win at home in the first 16 matches, excluding the 2-0 against Catania and the 4-4 against Modena in the Coppa Italia.

Also because of a game that was slowly fading, also because of the lack of consistency of the players on the field, he was relieved of his duties on 23 December, just five days after the 1-3 defeat at home against Juventus, which left the team third to last in the standings with 12 points gathered in 16 league games. He was replaced by former Sardinian club captain

Gianfranco Zola


After ten games, on 9 March 2015, he was back on the bench of the Sardinian team to replace the same Zola, with the objective - already declared in June - to save the team, which at that time was worse than how he had left it 2 months and a half before: second-to-last with 20 points in a tie with Cesena, four points behind the fourth-last place that would mean salvation.

His second adventure in charge of the club started with a 1-1 draw at home against Empoli, they almost won the match, as the Tuscans equalized in the 93rd minute. After four consecutive defeats, he stepped down as coach of the team on 21 April 2015, having collected 13 points in 21 games.


He signed for Lugano on 14 June 2015, which was newly promoted to the Super League (first Swiss league), and led them to a 9th place finish and mathematical salvation in the league, and also to the Swiss Cup final, which they then lost against Zurich.

After discussions with the top management of the club from Ticino on 4 June 2016, he made the decision not to renew his contract, claiming a lack of clarity and professionalism within the club and the willingness not to repeat a similarly difficult season.

The return to Pescara

On 17 February 2017, it was announced that Zeman will return as coach to Pescara after five years in place of the dismissed Massimo Oddo. He made his debut on 19 February with a 5-0 win against Genoa, which was his first victory on the field after 24 games without success. He reached 1,000 career benches in the professional world on 4 March, in a 3-1 defeat at home to Sampdoria.

After a 1-4 home defeat against Roma on 24 April, the team was relegated to Serie B with 5 matches to go. He was fired from his post as a head coach of Pescara on 4 March 2018, with the team in 13th place in the table.

The fourth return to Foggia

On 26 June 2021, following more than three years of inactivity, he signed a contract that brought him back to be the head coach of Foggia in Serie C for the 2021-2022 season.

Style of Play

He uses the 4-3-3 tactical system, which is both offensive and spectacular from the defensive line, moving behind the midfield line. In his style of coaching, the full-backs overlap each other repeatedly, and the central midfielder is capable of being both a director and a passer in the penalty area, while the other two midfielders also take part in the offensive phase.

The two wingers, on the other hand, move freely all over the attacking line. With such a tactical system, based on the construction of triangles in every area of the pitch, he also combines the use of repeated verticalization and the ball played low.


During the 1990s, Zdenek Zeman was able to introduce a beautiful style of play known as Zemanlandia, which helped the Foggia team to reach the top flight in Italy. During those days, Zeman was considered by many pundits as one of the best coaches of the time.

Zdenek Zeman outside Football

In the media, Zdenek Zeman is also called the Bohemian coach because of his Czechoslovakian origins, and Sdengo, a nickname given to him by Foggia president Pasquale Casillo in the Zemanlandia years.

He was awarded the special prize "Tor Vergata - Ethics in sport" in 2002, which is organized by the University of Rome "Tor Vergata" and given every year to sports personalities who have excelled in fairness, correctness, social commitment and the fight against doping.

The songwriter Antonello Venditti was inspired by Zeman, who in 1999 wrote the song La coscienza di Zeman, featured on the album Goodbye Novecento album.

During the 2020 European Championship which was held in June 2021, he was a columnist for La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Zdenek Zeman Personal Life

In this section of Zdenek Zeman biography, we will take a look at his personal life and share some stories of

Zdenek Zeman life story


Zdenek Zeman religion

. Stay tuned.

Family, Children, and Relationships

While in Sicily, he met Chiara Perricone, who was to be his wife, and who would bear him two children, Karel, who also became a coach and was the coach of Lavello in Serie D, and Andrea. He first met her, who was a swimmer at the time, during the period in which she was at the head of the Lauria swimming club.


Zdenek Zeman is amongst the football coaches and sportspeople whose name is always associated with charity projects. As one of the nicest football coaches, he always gives to charity.

Legal Issues

During the summer of 1998, when he was coaching Roma, Zeman made an interview to L'Espresso in which he criticized the abusive use of doping and drugs in the world of football. His criticism covered the Italian league, with particular reference to Juventus (whose members reacted with a lawsuit). As a result of the declarations, the judiciary opened an investigation in the Turin area.

Meanwhile Paolo Negro (then defender of Lazio) accused the coach of having administered creatine to the Lazio players when he was on the bench of the club. The Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) stated that the substance was "illegal".

Whereas even


, Roma and Torino were found to be involved in the affair, the investigation's developments led to the charges against both Savoy companies on the grounds of territorial jurisdiction, with Torino being tried in 2001: Davide Palazzetti, Granata's former CEO, was convicted of arrest as well as a 15 million fine for "illegal possession of medicines and fraud in commerce."

Regarding the Juventus club, the doctor Riccardo Agricola and the administrator Antonio Giraudo were accused. The Juventus trial ended in March 2007 with the verdict of acquittal confirmed by the Court of Cassation for the crime of "sports fraud" related to EPO.

However, the judgments of the court of the first instance acquitting him of administering prohibited drugs other than EPO were overturned in part because the Court of Appeal's ruling on the specific point was "defective", and of administering off-label lawful drugs was annulled because there might be a breach of Law no. 401 from 13 December 1989 (the only one applicable to the period under investigation), although the law on the particular (introduced on 14 December 2000) was not then in effect.

A new expert opinion, sanctioned by the court, was not carried out due to the extinction of the charges in question. Both Giraudo and Agricola were cleared in sporting justice in 2005, a ruling confirmed both by the Federal Appeal Commission in 2006 and by the judge of the last instance in 2007.

Following this event, Zdenek Zeman became a public enemy of Luciano Moggi. He accused him in November 2009 of still having an influence on Italian football despite his five-year ban from all sporting activities in the wake of the 2006 Calciopoli scandal.

Zdenek Zeman Career Statistics

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


Since the beginning of his professional coaching career in 1983, he has managed his teams in a total of 1042 matches and he has a win ratio of 37.43 percent with 390 wins, 281 draws and 371 defeats in all of those games he sat on the bench.

Zdenek Zeman Honors

As a manager, Zdenek Zeman has won Serie C2 in 1985 with Licata, Serie B in 1991 with Foggia and with Pescara in 2012. He was awarded the Silver Bench trophy in the 2011-12 season.

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