Alberto Zaccheroni Biography

Mon 02 August 2021 | 16:30

We all know him as one of the best coaches of his generation, especially when he was in charge of AC Milan. In this article, we will take a look at Alberto Zaccheroni biography.

Alberto Zaccheroni, born 1 April 1953 in Meldola, Italy, is an Italian football coach and former football player. He is currently unemployed after his latest job with the United Arab Emirates national team. Following a relatively short football career, Zaccheroni turned coach at the age of 30. In his coaching career, the first club was Cosenza, which was followed by Riccione, San Lazzaro, Baracca, AC Venezia, Bologna FC. Afterwards, Zaccheroni made a return to Cosenza.

Zaccheroni took over as coach of Serie A team Udinese Calcio for the first time in the 1997/98 season. He achieved one of the best results in the history of the team with this club, finishing 3rd and thus achieving the right to participate in the UEFA Cup. The excellent performance led to Zaccheroni being appointed to the A.C. Milan team in 1998. M Along with him, Udinese players Oliver Bierhoff and Thomas Helveg joined the Milan team.

Zaccheroni's arrival changed Milan, who following two poor seasons, won the Italian league championship in 1999. In the following season, Zaccheroni and his team had a slightly worse time, finishing 3rd and being eliminated from the Champions League group stage. And the 2000/01 season was already quite unsuccessful - Milan only finished 6th. As a result, in the spring of 2001, Cesare Maldini took his place on the Milan coaching bench.

A few months later Zaccheroni was hired by S.S. Lazio to replace

Dino Zoff

. The Roman club ended up in 6th place in the league, which only gave them a start in the UEFA Cup. Zaccheroni was unable to make the team's stars play as expected of them and was soon sacked. Midway through the 2003/04 season, he was brought to Inter Milan. He managed 4th place and qualification for the Champions League, but it was not enough for Inter's president Massimo Moratti.

All You Need to Know About Alberto Zaccheroni Biography

The sacked Zaccheroni remained unemployed for 2 years. He was employed on 7 September 2006 by another Italian Serie A club, Torino FC, from which he was fired on 26 February 2007. He took over as Juventus coach on 29 January 2010, replacing the sacked Ciro Ferrara. After the end of the 2009/2010 Serie A season, Zaccheroni was dismissed and Luigi Delneri took over as Juventus coach. He was appointed on 30 August 2010 as manager of the Japanese national team, with whom he won the 2011 Asian Cup.

Zaccheroni resigned as head coach of the Japanese team in June 2014, after an early elimination in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He was appointed coach of Beijing Guoan on 19 January 2016, but his stint with the Chinese team lasted only four months, and he was sacked on 20 May 2016. Zaccheroni was then appointed to lead the UAE national team in October 2017, but after the Emirati side was beaten 4-0 by Qatar in the semi-finals of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, Zaccheroni stepped down as UAE coach.

Alberto Zaccheroni Information

Now that you know him better, in this section of

Alberto Zaccheroni biography

, we will share the same general information about him such as

Alberto Zaccheroni nationality

to let you know him even more. Stay tuned.

Alberto Zaccheroni Bio

  • Full Name: Alberto Zaccheroni

  • Nickname: Zack

  • Profession: Professional Coach

Alberto Zaccheroni Physical Stats

  • Weight: 73 Kg

  • Height: 1.7 m

  • Eye Color: Dark Brown

  • Hair Color: Grey

Alberto Zaccheroni Football Information

  • Position: Full-Back

  • Jersey Number: 2

  • Professional Debut: 1983

Alberto Zaccheroni Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 1 April 1953

  • Zodiac Sign: Aries

  • Nationality: Italian

Birth Place: Meldola,


Stay tuned to this section of

Alberto Zaccheroni biography

as we will share some information about

Alberto Zaccheroni childhood

and more.

Alberto Zaccheroni Early Life

Alberto Zaccheroni was born in 1953 on the first day of April in Meldola, a small village in the Forlì hills. His parents, Adamo and Elva, moved a few months after his birth to Cesenatico where they bought a small restaurant. Several years later, with great sacrifices and in partnership with an aunt of Zaccheroni, they purchased a small guesthouse.

His father, who was a big Inter fan, decided to call the guesthouse Ambrosiana, after the original name of the Nerazzurri club. Only a few steps away were the "Internazionale" hotel, whose owner was Giorgio Ghezzi, a goalkeeper for Inter in the 1950s and later also for Milan. He joined the Cesenatico youth team in 1967. He played as a full-back.

Alberto’s natural inclination was to go out on the flank but, at the time, the full-back was not allowed to go beyond his own half-field. After a trial with Cesena and one with


, Zac made his way to the city of two towers. He only spent one year in the youth ranks of the Rossoblù club. He was always playing as a full-back, but sometimes his passion led him to move into attack. His coach didn't like these repeated initiatives and took him out of the team.

He went back to Cesenatico, and after a while, he had another tryout for Cesena. Although he performed well, his short time in red and blue was to prove fatal. Cesena's president, Dino Manuzzi, refused to accept Bologna's leftovers and so he had to stay at Cesenatico. He suffered a lung disease in March 1970 that forced him to spend two months in hospital. He was unable to sustain any kind of effort for two years.

This meant that his professional career was over. His desire to play was so strong that he returned to playing at the amateur level. After his dream of playing professionally faded, he started to help his parents in the management of the family hotel. He also worked as an insurer during the winter season and established an agency.

Alberto Zaccheroni Profile

He made his debut as a coach with Ad Novas. The crucial thing was his subsequent meeting with Bruno Rossi, Cesenatico's sporting director. He was persuaded to train the junior team, with which he stayed for three years, and also started to attend the course for coaches in Forlì, which was necessary to obtain permission to coach at amateur and inter-regional levels.


During the 1982-83 season, Alberto Zaccheroni officially debuted in professional football as a coach. Due to an exemption, he was appointed coach of Cesenatico's first team in Serie C2 in February 1984 and stayed with the first team for a season.


He joined Riccione in the 1985-86 season. His performance was excellent there, which allowed him to play in the promotion play-off, which he then lost to Pesaro. The following year, still on Riccione's bench, he didn't miss the promotion. Nevertheless, he continued to receive negative replies from Coverciano about his admission to the coaches' course.

Baracca Lugo

The breakthrough came with Baracca Lugo. Having won the championship, the president of the club agreed to help him with the course if he would stay in charge of the team. They both kept their promise and so he went on to win the C2 and then the C1 championships. Having obtained his license, he grabbed the opportunity to coach an ambitious team by taking up the offer of Maurizio Zamparini, president of



Stay tuned to this section of

Alberto Zaccheroni biography

as we will share some information about his Venezia coaching career.


It proved to be a year of great satisfaction, which ended with the promotion of Venezia to Serie B after 24 years. However, the first year in

Serie B

was not the most successful. Without being adequately reinforced, the team struggled in the last positions of the table. The defeat against Avellino on the last day of the first half of the season was catastrophic.

On the same evening, he was fired. Nevertheless, the split with the president was quickly repaired. He was summoned to lead the team and he managed to secure salvation in the match against Avellino, coached by Graziani. In the following year, they were fighting for the top positions, but disagreements with the president forced him to resign. He was called back in to manage the team and finished the season in 11th place.

Following his parting of ways with Venezia, he was accepted on the long-awaited Coverciano course. Nevertheless, the special exemption that had until now allowed him to coach in Serie B was not issued, and Zac restarted from Serie C.


The Bologna team, with a great sporting tradition, had unbelievably sunk into the minor leagues and Eraldo Pecci, then sporting director, selected Zaccheroni to begin the comeback. After a short spell in Bologna, Zac made the most of the moment to study the work of others, first and foremost Cruyff's Barcelona.


However, it was a short-lived holiday, since


approached him immediately. Their main goal was to develop young players. Furthermore, with great surprise, Cosenza was penalized nine points because of the late payment of the registration fee for the Serie B league. It was an extremely tough competition, but in the end, finishing the fifteenth represented an important victory, considering the difficulties in which they had been forced to work.

It was during the league season with Cosenza that Zac met Pozzo's


, then in Serie B, for the first time. He was impressed by the game played by the Calabrian team and the president of the Friulians asked him to lead the Udinese the following year.


He was finally in Serie A. The 1995-96 season marked his debut, a 1-0 win with a goal from Bierhoff, at home against Trapattoni's Cagliari. His three years in the Udinese were very important. First of all, salvation was obtained without too many difficulties, and then the achievement of Europe. During his second year on the Friuli bench, he adopted the 3-4-3 system.

The turning point came in Turin against Juventus. With 10 men left for almost the entire match due to Genaux's expulsion, the Friulians won 3-0, making an impression with their play and determination. The league ended with an excellent fifth place that, for the very first time in the history of the Udinese team, meant the UEFA Cup qualification for them. 1997-98, the season of Europe, was again filled with satisfaction.

Nevertheless, Udinese had to pay dearly for its lack of experience in the European field and went out, with their heads held high, from the competition against Ajax. Zaccheroni knew that his project was over, but he allowed Udinese to make up for it the following year. The team continued to perform at great levels, finishing third behind Juventus and Inter. After leaving Udinese to the applause of the public, he joined AC Milan.

Stay tuned to this section of Alberto Zaccheroni biography as we will share some information about his

AC Milan

coaching career.

AC Milan

Zaccheroni sat on the Rossoneri bench in the year of the Centenary. Milan was in a declining phase and came from 10th place, led by Capello 'ter'. Berlusconi, despite everything, was clear, Zaccheroni was hired to win the Scudetto.

To accomplish this, the president had bought Helveg and Bierhoff, to name but a few. Were these two gifts for the coach from the president? Absolutely not. Indeed, the relationship between the two never took off - probably because of the pro-Communist affiliation Zaccheroni never denied - and, on that occasion, it was Don Fabio who had put the Dane and the German on the Milan purchase list, before being dismissed.

Nevertheless, Zac did not waste the opportunity to have two key men in his Udinese of records and comply with the President. In the centenary year, the Scudetto really came back to Milan, following a final season worthy of the best script of a David Lynch film. With seven days to go, Milan was seven points behind Lazio, the leaders.

Eriksson and his men lost points in the derby and in Turin against Juventus, but the Rossoneri didn't make a single mistake and arrived at 1 point on the penultimate day: Milan crushed Empoli 4-0 at home, while


only managed a 1-1 draw in Florence, stopped by a goal from Batistuta. It was overtaking!

In the last game, the Rossoneri went to Perugia to compete for the Scudetto, with over 30,000 fans in their wake: there were no fan cards or registered tickets in those days, it was only excitement that moved the crowds and filled the stadiums.

Whoever couldn't find a ticket for the Renato Curi stadium was packed into the rocky stands of the Gianni Brera Civic Arena in Milan, where a giant screen of incalculable inches showed the goals of Guly and Bierhoff, Nakata's penalty and young Abbiati's save on Bucchi's shot which stitched Scudetto number 16 onto the Milan shirt. Zaccheroni had done it.

Berlusconi wasted no time at the end of the match in taking credit for the title, saying that he had suggested that Zac play Boban in the last few days. However, the coach denied it: "Boban was always playing as a fourth midfielder on the left, no one could have suggested to me to field him since he was already there. In other words, I don't talk much but I don't let anyone push me around.”

It was a statement that Berlusconi never got over, particularly after the incredible cycle of victories under his ownership, and it destroyed the already shaky relationship between the two. This fragile relationship broke down definitively during the 2000-2001 season when the President compared Zaccheroni to 'a tailor who has a good cloth but does not know how to weave it.

This was the straw that broke the camel's back: the coach never fell for the provocation, as was his calm style, but the supporters took it upon themselves to thank Zac with a banner. "The coach has sewn a Scudetto from this cloth," was the last greeting from the fans before saying goodbye.


He took over from Dino Zoff as manager of Lazio in the 2001-2002 season after just a few games in the league. Because of unexpected results of the Roman team such as the shocking 1-5 defeat in the derby against Roma, and although the team reached the UEFA Cup on the last day with the victory over Inter on May 5, 2002, the president Sergio Cragnotti decided not to renew the coach's contract at the end of the season, replacing him with Roberto Mancini.

In total, he managed the Lazio team in a total of 46 matches in all competitions and got a 41.30 percent win ratio with 19 wins, 11 draws and 16 defeats as the head coach of Lazio.

Inter Milan

He was signed by Inter on 22 October 2003, replacing the dismissed Héctor Cúper. During his second game in the Nerazzurri, he brought the team to win for the first time on the Chievo pitch. He guided Inter to fourth place in the league, thus qualifying for the

Champions League

, although a month later he tendered his resignation.

Between 19 October 2003 and 14 June 2004, he was the manager of

Inter Milan

, where he achieved a 40.91 percent win ratio, similar to his performance over the last season at Lazio. He managed to get 18 wins, 14 draws and 12 defeats on Inter Milan bench.


On 7 September 2006, just two days before the start of the season, he was appointed coach of president Urbano Cairo's Torino, in the 100th anniversary year of the Granata team. He undertook the task with the team in crisis and managed initially to get good results (including the victory against Empoli on the day of the centenary celebration of the granata) and to put right the situation bringing it to the 8th place before the Christmas break.

After a long series of consecutive defeats at the start of 2007, he was substituted by Gianni De Biasi on 26 February. His performance in


declined heavily when compared to his achievement during the last two seasons, as he had a 20.83 win ratio with 5 wins, 7 draws and 12 defeats in a total of 24 matches.


After three years of inactivity, on 29 January 2010, he returned to coaching


, replacing the dismissed Ciro Ferrara: on this occasion he matched József Viola and Giovanni Trapattoni, being able to sit on the benches of all three greats of Italian football, including Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

He was hired by a Juventus team that was struggling for results with the declared goal of reaching the Champions League qualification, making his debut on 31 January 2010 in the match Juventus-Lazio, which ended 1-1. The first victory came against Genoa 3-2 on 14 February, a few days later the first victory in the Europa League, against Ajax in Amsterdam with a score of 1-2. In that competition Juventus went out in the next round against Fulham, winning 3-1 at home and losing 4-1 in London.

Juventus were reduced to the bone because of injuries and were unable to qualify for the European competition. Finally, he finished the season in seventh place with 55 points and reached the Europa League. At the end of the season, his contract expired and was not renewed by the club board.

His record at Juventus was not as good as with Milan or Inter, and he only got a 38.10 percent win ratio with 8 wins, 5 draws and 8 defeats in a total of 21 matches in all competitions. Stay tuned to this section of Alberto Zaccheroni biography as we will share some information about his coaching career in Japan.

Japan National Team

He was appointed manager of the


national football team on 30 August 2010. He was given a two-year contract worth an estimated 200 million yen with an option for a two-year extension. He preferred to sign a single-year contract to maintain tensions.

He agreed to a contract on 30 August, and attended the Paraguay game on 4 September and the Guatemala game on 7 September in the stands, as his visa prevented him from taking charge. Hiromi Hara took charge of the two games in his absence. His first match in charge of the national team was an international friendly against Argentina (1-0) at Saitama Stadium 2002 on 8 October.

He guided the Blues to victory in the AFC Asian Cup in 2011, which was his first official tournament in charge. While he had won the domestic league before, this was his first international title. His unbeaten run of 16 matches was ended on 15 November 2014 when Japan lost 0-1 against North Korea in the third qualifying round of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, with Japan having already qualified for the tournament.

He was ranked 10th in the "2011 In Review: Best Masterminds" by the American sports website FOX Sports. He extended his contract with the Japan Football Association before the start of the final Asian qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with a one-year contract (actually an 11-month contract). His wages were slightly higher than the 200 million yen (estimated).

The contract was for one year instead of two for tax reasons. The Japan Football Association praised the manager's ability to manage information and trust his players to bring out the best in them. They qualified for their fifth consecutive World Cup.

The first match of the Japanese national team in the World Cup was against Ivory Coast in June 2014. While they were 1-0 ahead in the first half, the second half of the match was very one-sided and they lost 1-2.  In the second game against Greece, Japan had a numerical advantage after one of the opponent's players was sent off the field in the first half, but they were unable to break down the solid Greek defence, and the game ended in a scoreless draw without having used the third substitute.

In their third match, despite having more control of the ball and taking more shots than Colombia, they lacked determination and lost 1-4 to the Colombians, thereby being eliminated from the group.

On 26 June, he stepped down as national coach after failing to produce results at the

World Cup

, which was his culmination of efforts to strengthen Japan's attacking football with quick passing and side-based play.

Beijing Guoan

On December 30, 2015, Alberto Zaccheroni started coaching Beijing Guoan in the Chinese Super League, with an annual salary of about 5 million U.S. dollars. On May 18, 2016, the Beijing Guoan side lost 0-2 at home to Hebei Huaxia Fortune and after that match, he was fired as head coach of the club, having collected only 9 points in 9 games.

At the Chinese Super League team, Zaccheroni had a win ratio of 30 percent with 3 wins, 3 draws and 4 defeats in a total of 10 matches in all competitions.

Emirates national team

He was appointed as the new manager of the Emirati national team on 16 October 2017. He guided his team to a second-place finish in the Gulf Cup of Nations on 5 January 2018, when they were defeated in the final by Oman on penalties. The year after, he guided the United Arab Emirates to the semi-finals of the 2019 Asian Cup, only to be knocked out by Qatar. He left the national team at the end of the competition with the end of his contract.

On July 19, 2020, Alberto Zaccheroni announced his retirement from coaching football.

Style of Play

Alberto Zaccheroni is very famous for his 3-4-3 system of play, which he introduced during his days with the Udinese team. First of all, in his 3-4-3, the midfield line was aligned and rarely did the two midfield "quarterbacks", lowered themselves at the same time on the line of three defenders to form a five-man line.

Instead, the outside midfield player on the ball side, rose very high to press the opposing full-back in possession and the teammate on the opposite side remained more connected to the defensive trio, paying attention to the side farthest from the ball.

The construction of the movement, moreover, was very direct and vertical: very often there were sequences of play in which the ball, through risky but precise vertical passes, came from the defenders, directly between the feet of the outside attackers.


Alberto Zaccheroni is considered to be amongst the best Italian football coaches of his generation which he managed to prove himself as so in the latter years of the 1990s while coaching the AC Milan team.

Alberto Zaccheroni outside Football

He was working as a commentator on Italian national team matches from 1 September 2016 to October 2017 on Rai 1 alongside Alberto Rimedio.

Zaccheroni is an admirer of Japan. In a press conference in his hometown of Cesenatico on February 5, 2011, when he received a national award, he spoke of Japan: "Education, discipline, cleanliness. Everything is wonderful. I think I'm half Japanese. I am in love with Japan. I want to make an effort to sing the Kimigayo.

He is a big fan of wasabi (Japanese horseradish), which he puts on pork cutlets and even mixes into white rice.

Alberto Zaccheroni Personal Life

In this section of Alberto Zaccheroni biography, we will take a look into his personal life, sharing some information about things like

Alberto Zaccheroni religion


Alberto Zaccheroni life story


Family, Children, and Relationships

He married Fulvia, who was born in Forlì in 1976. Luca is Zaccheroni's only son. He is 39 years old and graduated from university in 2005.

After retiring from coaching in football, at the moment he is living in his hometown of Cesenatico, where he has almost invested all of his earnings there with his wife Fulvia Zaccheroni.


We have seen his name in many different charity projects throughout his career as a football manager. After the Japan earthquake, Zaccheroni arranged a friendly match between the Japan national team and a select team of J-League players to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake.

Legal Issues

After he departed from the


national team, there was a legal case against Zaccheroni by a Porto based agent who claimed that the Italian coach has not paid him the commission of his signing for the Emirati national team, however, Zaccheroni and his legal team was declining such a claim, saying that and Iraqi agent based in Dubai was responsible for the contract negotiations.

Alberto Zaccheroni Career Statistics

In this section of Alberto Zaccheroni biography, we will take a look into the coach’s career on the international and club level. Stay tuned.


Zaccheroni has only played in youth level football and because of lung illness, he was unable to make it to the professional level.


He has an average win ratio of 42.30 which he achieved with 195 wins, 128 draws and 138 defeats in a total of 461 games he managed many teams during his career.

Alberto Zaccheroni Honors

Of his notable awards and titles as a coach, we can include the Serie C1 with Venezia,

Serie A

with Italy and the 2011 AFC Asian Cup with Japan. On the individual level, he has won the Serie A Coach of the Year and some others in his career.

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