Mon 13 December 2021 | 10:00

Top facts about Stefano Pioli, The Normal One

Stefano Pioli brought Milan back to the UEFA Champions League. He signed a new deal that will keep him on the Rossoneri touchline for another two years. Read on to find out more facts about Stefano Pioli.

Stefano Pioli is an Italian soccer coach and former defender. He was born on October 20, 1965. He is the head coach of

AC Milan

, a Serie A team.

Stefano Pioli’s age

is 56. Here you can find out the most important facts about Stefano Pioli, the successful Milan coach.

Pioli signed a new deal with the club lasting until 30 June 2023, with an option for a one-year extension. He joined Milan in October 2019, taking over from Marco Giampaolo as the club was struggling to pull off convincing performances in Serie A.

The new deal, which runs until June 2023 with an option to extend it into 2024, represents a $1.1m increase from his previous $2.3m wage.

It also positions Pioli as the Serie A coach with the fourth-largest paycheck, tying Napoli’s Luciano Spalletti and Lazio’s Maurizio Sarri.

As a player, Pioli was able to play anywhere along the back-line, although he performed best as a man-marking center-back, or "stopper," in Italian. Considered to be a promising and consistent player in his youth, his career was affected by numerous serious injuries.

Pioli started his coaching career in 1999. From 1999 to 2002 Pioli coached Bologna's youth team (winning a championship with Allievi Nazionali's team), and Chievo's in 2002–03. His first coaching experience in Serie A was at


in 2006.

Top facts about Stefano Pioli:

Inter Milan named Stefani Pioli as head coach in place of Frank de Boer in 2016. Pioli was sacked by Lazio in April, and signed a contract with Inter until June, 2018.

Stefano Pioli early life

Stefano Pioli’s father, Pasquino Pioli, and mother, Luisa Pioli, gave birth to him. The sense of security he had from his father was his favorite memory and experience with him.

Speaking about

Stefano Pioli’s parents

, it should be mentioned that his father worked two jobs his whole life to ensure that they never ran short of anything. He worked as a postal carrier in the mornings and as a farmer in the afternoons.


Stefano Pioli’s childhood

, it is worth mentioning that from a young age, his father instilled in him a passion for football as well as the need of being a responsible person.

He also described his mother as passionate and reactive, and that she constantly expresses her opinion regardless of the situation. She still chastises him if they play poorly.

Stefano Pioli personal life

Stefano Pioli married Barbara, his high school love. They have been together since they were 16 and have been inseparable ever since.

Aside from football, he enjoys cycling, both participating in it and watching it. For him, it is a source of calm.

He enjoys riding with his friends until it is no longer competitive since he no longer has the energy to push himself too hard and damage himself at this age. He goes riding alone when he wants to decompress.

Stefano is the father of two adult children, Gianmarco and Carlotta Pioli. Carlotta is the oldest child.

Gianmarco, his only son, is following in his footsteps. He is presently working as a match analyst for Milan.

Stefano Pioli professional career

In 2006, Stefano Pioli was named as Parma's head coach, therefore returning to his home city and marking his Serie A debut as a manager.

However, he was sacked on 12 February 2007 after a 3–0 loss to Roma and replaced by

Claudio Ranieri

. He joined AC Milan as a last minute replacement for Marco Giampaolo seven games into the 2019/20 season.

Stefano Pioli playing career

Pioli, a native of Parma, began his professional career with his hometown club, Parma. He was eventually recruited by Juventus, with whom he made his Serie A debut in 1984 and won the league championship, the European Cup, the European Super Cup, and the Intercontinental Cup during his three seasons there.

An important fact about Stefano Pioli is that he went to Fiorentina in 1989 after being traded to

Hellas Verona

in 1987, and played six years there before playing two seasons with Padova.

After seasons in Serie C with Pistoiese and Fiorenzuola, he finished his career in 1999 with Colorno of Eccellenza Emilia-Romagna (the top level of the Emilia-Romagna regional league system), where he played with his brother Leonardo.

Stefano Pioli style of play

A notable

fact about Stefano Pioli

is that he was a graceful, tenacious, strong, and mobile defender who could play anywhere in the back line, but he excelled as a man-marking center-back, or "stopper" in Italian. In his youth, he was regarded as a talented and dependable player, but his career was cut short by a series of devastating injuries.

Stefano Pioli coaching career

An important fact about Stefano Pioli is that he coached Bologna's youth squad from 1999 to 2002 (winning a title with Allievi Nazionali's team) and Chievo's in 2002–03. He was named head coach of Serie B team Salernitana in 2003–04. In 2004, he transferred to Modena, which was still in Serie B.


In 2006, Pioli was selected as Parma's head coach, making him return to his hometown and making his Serie A debut as a manager. However, following a 3–0 defeat against Roma, which sent Parma to second lowest position, he was fired and replaced by Claudio Ranieri on February 12, 2007.


A notable fact about Stefano Pioli is that he was introduced as the new head coach of Serie B club Grosseto on September 11, 2007, replacing Giorgio Roselli, who was fired following three successive losses in the first three league matches, and guided the Tuscan minnows to an excellent mid-table finish in their debut season in the league.


For the 2008–09 Serie B season, he was the head coach of Piacenza. He left Piacenza in July 2009 to become the new head coach of the neroverdi at Sassuolo.


Pioli was chosen head coach of Serie A team Chievo on a 12-month deal on June 10, 2010.


Pioli was chosen head coach of Serie A team Palermo on June 2, 2011, however he was fired barely 90 days later.


On October 4, 2011, Pioli was appointed the new head coach of


in Serie A, succeeding Pierpaolo Bisoli, who had been fired.

An important

fact about Stefano Pioli

is that he was relieved of his managerial responsibilities on January 8, 2014, after two tough seasons with Bologna, both of which concluded with the club fighting in the bottom half of the Serie A table but always avoiding relegation. Davide Ballardini was hired as his successor.


Pioli's appointment as Lazio's next head coach, replacing Edoardo Reja, was announced on June 12, 2014. He guided Lazio to third place in Serie A in his debut season with the club.

On June 11, 2015, he was given a new two-year contract with an option for a third year. Pioli was fired on April 3, 2016, following a 4–1 home loss to local rivals Roma.


A notable fact about Stefano Pioli is that he was named Internazionale's next head coach on an 18-month deal on November 8, 2016. Inter drew 2–2 with AC Milan in a Serie A Derby della Madonnina encounter on November 20, Pioli's first competitive match as the club's head coach.

On May 9, 2017, he was fired. Prior to Pioli's dismissal, Inter had won 12 of their first 16 Serie A matches (a tie with Milan, defeats to




, and Roma), but this was followed by two draws and five losses in their last seven Serie A matches.


Pioli was appointed Fiorentina's next head coach on June 6, 2017. He agreed to a two-year contract with an option for a third year. When center defender and captain Davide Astori died suddenly on March 4, 2018, Pioli was in command of the squad; to honor the player's legacy, Pioli got a memorial tattoo. Pioli resigned as manager on April 9, 2019.

AC Milan

An important

fact about Stefano Pioli

is that he was named the next coach of AC Milan on October 9, 2019, on a contract that runs until the conclusion of the season.

Pioli agreed to a two-year extension of his contract as head coach with Milan on July 21, 2020, which would now end in June 2022. For the first time in seven seasons, he helped Milan return to the Champions League on May 23, 2021.

Stefano Pioli's efforts as AC Milan's manager has not gone unnoticed. The 56-year-old head coach, who led Milan back to the UEFA Champions League and has a 10-2-2 Serie A record this season, has recently signed a new contract that will keep him on the bench for another two years.

"AC Milan is thrilled to announce that Stefano Pioli has signed a new contract with the club that will run until June 30, 2023, with a one-year extension option," says a statement on the club's official website.

A notable fact about Stefano Pioli is that he took over from Marco Giampaolo as Milan's coach in October 2019, when the team was failing to produce convincing results in Serie A.

Pioli teaches a contemporary form of soccer centered on continual off-the-ball movement, player rotation, and the significance of one-on-one duels, and has coached at prominent Serie A teams such as


, Inter Milan, and Lazio.

Milan targeted young, gifted, and somewhat inexperienced players who have ascended to the position of protagonists in Pioli's system during the previous two years, such as 22-year-old Alexis Saelemaekers, Brahim Daz, and Rafael Leo.

In January 2020, the dynamic Swedish forward

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

arrived, providing the sort of leadership that allowed one of Europe's youngest sides to realize its potential on the field: Milan finished second in the league last season, earning a UEFA Champions League place for the first time since the 2013/14 season.

While in charge of the Rossoneri, Pioli has an exceptional Serie A record, averaging 2.02 points per game. To put that in perspective, that's 77 points over the course of a whole 38-game season. After being undefeated for 12 successive rounds this season, Pioli's side have lost two consecutive Serie A games, allowing them to lose crucial points in their Scudetto bid.

Last week, Milan lost 4-3 at Fiorentina, with Ibrahimovi scoring a brace, and yesterday, the Rossoneri were trounced 3-1 at San Siro by mid-table Sassuolo. Milan are presently in second place, three points behind Serie A champions Napoli and one point ahead of Inter Milan's archrivals.

Stefano Pioli coaching style

An important fact about Stefano Pioli is that he often employs a 4–2–3–1 or 3–5–2 system, featuring full-backs or wing-backs who aggressively participate in offensive moves. He often employed a 4–3–3 system throughout his stint at Lazio. He sought to incorporate strategic aspects of basketball into his own tactical style as a football manager, owing to his enthusiasm for the sport.

Pioli used an ancient WM system, often called as 3–2–2–3, as the head coach of AC Milan. Although advertised as a 4–3–3, the formation featured Theo Hernandez, the left full-back, in a more forward position, while Davide Calabria, the right full-back, had a limited offensive presence.

The middle of the field, where two pairs of holding and attacking midfielders formed a square, supporting each other offensively and defensively, was another significant characteristic of this system.

With the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovi in January 2020, Pioli changed Milan's formation to his long-favored 4–2–3–1, primarily to accommodate the Swedish ageing but prolific goalscorer, who would play up front with little defensive work other than pressing, alternating between the roles of a classic striker, a target forward, and a false 9.

Hakan Calhanolu, an offensive midfielder who plays as a number 10, was also able to return to his favored position as a playmaker behind the primary striker, which he had been playing for years in different formations.

Ante Rebi and Ismael Bennacer, two high-profile newcomers who struggled to fit into the previous coach's system, were given a few more chances to prove themselves; as a result, the former was able to play in his preferred position of left winger and quickly topped the club's season goalscoring chart, while the latter formed an effective double pivot with Franck Kessié, who also significantly improved the quality of his performances.

Stefano Pioli formation system

Stefano Pioli has started all fifteen games in the 4-2-3-1 system that he prefers. The Italian manager has maintained consistency in terms of system, but not always in terms of people, particularly in light of current events.

This season, AC Milan has used twenty-five different players, with twenty of them appearing in five or more games. The only guys to participate in all fifteen games are Davide Calabria and Hakan Calhanoglu, with Donnarumma, Kessie, and

Theo Hernandez

rounding out the starting lineup.

Although Gianluigi Donnarumma has been heralded as the next Buffon since he was sixteen years old, and is starting to live up to that promise, they are not typically names of usual championship winners.

Alessio Romagnoli and Simon Kjaer have created a consistently powerful combination in front of Donnarumma, despite the fact that the centre-backs have changed more often than the fullbacks. Calabria and Theo Hernandez have looked like two of Europe's top fullbacks this season, forming a fantastic back-four that has only surrendered 16 goals in 15 games.

They've benefited greatly from Franck Kessie's presence in midfield, while Ismael Bennacer and Sandro Tonali have competed for a spot beside the Ivorian. There have been a slew of players vying for winger spots ahead of the midfield two, but none have been as inventive and effective as Rafael Leao of Portugal.

With the aid of Serie A assist king Hakan Calhanoglu, the 21-year old had scored 42 percent of Milan's goals last season, combining with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. So far, the only area where Rossoneri seems to require an improvement is right wing, where the young Romanian Alexis Saelemaekers has played well this season after excelling on loan in 2019-20.

Pioli's best option going forward could be Ante Rebic, but Brahim Diaz has also fought for a place in the team, and Zlatan hasn't been fit enough for Saelemaekers to lose his spot. In the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Leao has played up front, enabling Rebic to play more on the left flank and Saelamaerks to keep his spot on the right.

Only Samu Castillejo has played in more than ten games for Pioli's team this season, with the majority of his appearances coming off the bench.

Stefano Pioli and defensive strength

AC Milan's defensive tenacity and ability to win the ball back from the opponent has been one of the team's biggest assets this season. When on defense, the squad adopts a fairly tight 4-4-1-1 formation, and when in possession, they show hints of counter-pressing.

When the side attacks, a double defensive-midfield pivot of Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer/Sandro Tonali sits deeper, which is one of the most noticeable elements of their counter-press. One of the two men will often drop into the defensive line to defend Theo Hernandez and Davide Calabria while the other screens the back four and marks the opposition's number ten.

Milan's defensive structure and narrowness have resulted in the squad winning more tackles per game than any other in the league when the ball is in their own half. Their poorer possession and passing statistics than other teams in the league may explain why they've needed to win the ball back so many times, but it still highlights how good I Rossoneri have been at timing their tackles.

Davide Calabria leads the way in this department, having won more tackles this season than anybody else in Serie A. His four tackles per game are roughly one more than everyone else in the league, and he is the second best tackler in Europe's top five leagues.

They've also performed well in the air. This is partly owing to Zlatan's presence up front, but it's also due to their stability in the defense with players like Alessio Romagnoli and Simon Kjaer's height and strength.

AC Milan has won the most aerial duels per game among teams that have kept more than 50% of possession this season (16.4). This hasn't prevented them from surrendering seven goals from set-pieces, but it has helped them cope with crosses into the box and keep the ball out of the net in general.

Finally, AC Milan employs a high press, particularly when Ante Rebic and Alexis Saelemakers are on the same side. From his time at Eintracht Frankfurt, Rebic is accustomed to pushing, while Saelemakers is a good tackler and more defensively oriented than the rest of the team.

When using this style, the squad must squeeze higher up the field and stay tighter since Zlatan and other attackers are not generally aggressive pressers. Even though all of the players in the system are not typically players associated with a strong pressing style, the shapes they've formed in defense via their tight press have contributed to their high amount of tackles.

Stefano Pioli and build-up

Bennacer and Kessie play a similar role in build-up phases as they drop in to cover for the fullbacks in defense. They come to the left or right of Milan's center-backs to give a third option while the other midfielder completes a diamond formation.

Pioli's squad may opt for straight passes to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who can nod the ball down for other players. Despite Milan not being a very defensively focused club, the Turkish midfielder's average position in games is often in his own half.

Milan may alternatively set up in a more typical 4-2-3-1 formation, with the fullbacks, center backs, and defensive midfielders as their main attacking weapons. The center-backs/defensive midfielders are frequently given greater freedom to move the ball forward since the fullbacks are so strong at moving forward and making either overlapping or underlapping runs.

This season, Pioli's club has had the second-highest vertical attack, with the trio of Kessie, Bennacer/Tonali, Kjaer, and Romagnoli typically being the most crucial players in the build-up. That isn't to say AC Milan doesn't utilize the wings; they simply don't use them as often as other clubs do.

Pioli's squad will often overload the left in the build-up phase, with players like Rafael Leao/Zlatan Ibrahimovic drifting to that side to connect with Hernandez and the left-winger before searching for switches to the right.

On the right side, they may do the same thing, overloading and moving fast to make room for the excellent French fullback. This precise build-up featuring fast shifts of play has undoubtedly contributed to Theo Hernandez's four goals and three assists this season.

Stefano Pioli and AC Milan revival

When the Italian's appointment was revealed after Marco Giampaolo's dismissal in October 2019, the figurative pitchforks were out in force as supporters aired their displeasure, with the hashtag '#PioliOut' trending globally.

However, football can be a fickle sport. In only 13 months, Pioli has not only defied a recent trend of Milan managers departing the club within a year of their employment, but he has also outlasted the previous eight Rossoneri coaches, or, to put it another way, every manager since Massimiliano Allegri.

However, he has roused the sleeping giant from a long slumber, and the 'Milan of old' is just now beginning to resurface at the San Siro, displaying hints of their golden years in the noughties. The contrasting eulogies, as well as going carried away, would be welcomed by Milan fans. It's taken a long time for this to happen.

In reality, it's been almost a decade. It will be precisely 10 years since the hallowed scudetto was last embroidered on the Milan shirt at the conclusion of this season. And, although Milan are the early pacesetters in Serie A, having gone nine games without losing, their good run dates back to March.

So, this is a side that isn't just riding the crest of a passing fad, but one that is exhibiting evidence of staying power and a sense of direction. But how did Pioli go from an unwanted appointment on the first day to a title-challenging tactician at the San Siro?

Every great team requires a great striker, and in Ibrahimovic, Pioli has the ideal No. 9, a consummate finisher who is presently leading the Serie A scoring charts with 10 goals and has scored in eight consecutive top-flight matches.

Since returning to AC Milan in December 2019, Ibrahimovic has scored 22 goals and added seven assists in 20 appearances across all competitions, becoming the first player since 1994/95 to score two or more goals in each of his first three Serie A games.

"I believe he [Ibrahimovic] was above all crucial in the start, as he helped us grasp what wanting to win at all costs means," Davide Calabria said, elaborating on how important the veteran marksman has been in Pioli's dressing room.

"Never rest on your laurels, never be satisfied." Ibrahimovic's attitude is unlike anything I've ever seen in another player."

And his offensive colleagues have picked up on his "win-at-all-costs" mindset, as Milan just equaled their record string of consecutive Serie A games scored in (29). The previous high point came in 1972 and 1973. Pioli has discovered a successful recipe, and Ibrahimovic is the cure-all.

While Ibrahimovic and his offensive partners have done their job up front, Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer have been cleaning up behind them, recycling possession, screening the backline, and putting in the hard yards.

With his hungry double-pivot, Pioli has achieved the ideal midfield equilibrium. The two are the current XI of Milan's heartbeat, engine, and core. They are hardworking, dedicated, and dedicated to the cause, as seen by Kessie's recent 'toothless' performance against Napoli, which was 'toothless' for all the right reasons.

This dilemma arose recently during Milan's 3-1 victory against Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo. While Kessie sought medical assistance after a flailing elbow from Matteo Politano knocked out a tooth in his mouth, he stayed on the field and finished the game, seeing the dentist the next morning.

Kessie's resilience and resolve to complete the game are emblematic of a larger culture developed at the San Siro: Ibra's "win-at-all-costs" mindset, as Calabria phrased it. Even the numbers support the Ivorian. This season, he is second and third in Serie A midfielders in terms of recoveries (70) and blocks (six).

At the age of 23, Kessie has even characterized himself as a "veteran" and said that wearing the Milan uniform is "like a second skin to me." Pioli has one heck of a midfield talent on his hands in the form of Bennacer, who ranks second in Milan for tackles (18) and joint-first with Kessie for possessions gained in the middle third (34) when paired alongside him.

The bar may have been set low by Pioli's predecessor, Giampaolo, who managed only three victories in seven games before being fired, but the Italian inherited a team that was entirely disorganized and without a defined identity.

Pioli had to construct a more cohesive structure because Giampaolo's relatively contemporary 4-3-1-2 was not fully internalized by the Milan players. His 4-2-3-1 formation has been a cornerstone of his success since then, with each player well aware of his job and duty.

The backbone is formed by the aforementioned midfield duo of Kessie and Bennacer, enabling Hakan Calhanoglu to roam in the No. 10 position, while Ibra is flanked on each side by Alexis Saelemaekers and, injuries permitting, one of Rade Krunic or Ante Rebic. Rafael Leao has also improved significantly on the left flank this season, scoring three goals and assisting three times in all competitions.

And there isn't much area for cutting and changing in the back. At fullback, Theo Hernandez and Davide Calabria are one of Europe's greatest pairs right now; at centre-back, Simon Kjaer and Alessio Romagnoli are unstoppable; and

Gianluigi Donnarumma

is just magnificent.

With a clear vision and a steady team, Pioli has led his team to 21 undefeated Serie A games dating back to March, as well as 23 points in the first nine games of the season, the best start to a season in the three-point-per-win era.

Stefano Pioli social media


Stefano Pioli social media

, it should be mentioned that he does not have any pages on any social media platforms.

Stefano Pioli body measurements

Speaking about

Stefano Pioli body measurements

, it should be mentioned that the coach is 183 cm and 76 kg.

Stefano Pioli net worth and salary

Stefano Pioli's net worth

is estimated to be $4.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider. According to estimations from SkySport in Italy, Pioli now earns $3.4 million per year at Milan. The new contract, which runs through June 2023 with an option to extend it until 2024, is a $1.1 million increase above his previous $2.3 million salary.

It also puts Pioli in a tie with Luciano Spalletti of Napoli and Maurizio Sarri of Lazio for the fourth-highest salary in Serie A. Juventus'

Massimiliano Allegri

and AS Roma's

José Mourinho

are at the top of the list of Serie A's highest-paid managers, both earning a net $7.9 million yearly pay at their respective clubs. With a $4.5 million salary, Inter Milan's Simone Inzaghi sits at the bottom of the list.


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