One of the most influential people in modern football is Arrigo Sacchi. His Milan side is widely considered as one of the best football teams of all time.
Arrigo Sacchi is a former football manager whose love for football was undeniable, but he couldn't be a football player. This didn't prevent him from pursuing his dream of football. He became a football coach and he shook the football world with his management style. Today, best managers like Jürgen Klopp, best football coach of 2019 and 2020, said: “Sacchi completely changed how we think about football.”
Arrigo Sacchi'sAC Milan
was the most powerful team in the world during the late 80s. Italian football is known for its trademark defensive style, but Arrigo Sacchi had a very functional, aggressive style rather than defensive. As a football fan, he saw the total football and the beauty of attacking football. He somehow managed to combine the solid Italian defense with an attacking style and the results were amazing.
Arrigo Sacchi refers to Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp as his resemblance in today's football. He appreciates their manners in management and how they are pioneers of their generation. He was the pioneer manager of his generation.
Arrigo Sacchi won strings of titles with Milan and built a strong foundation that made Milan the second most decorated team in the European Cup. “My Milan team was brilliant because it was full of great professionals who wanted to be together and have fun” Sacchi said about his key to the glory in Milan. One of the great professionals was Carlo Ancelotti, who became a great manager and a resemblance of his teacher Arrigo Sacchi.
Arrigo Sacchi was never a professional football player, but as a coach he is one of the greatest. He managed various Italian teams, including the Italy national team and the only non Italian experience he had was in Madrid, coaching Atletico for a relatively short spell. Read on to find out more about Arrigo Sacchi biography.
Full name: Arrigo Sacchi
Nicknames: “The Prophet of Fusignano"
Profession: Professional Football Manager
Height: 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Eye Color: Dark Brown
Hair Color: Grey and White
Football Profession: Manager
Professional Debut: the 1973-1974 season
Date of birth: 1 April 1946 (1946-04-01)
Place of birth: Fusignano, Italy
Wife: Giovanna Sacchi
Father: Augusto Sacchi
Mother: Lucia Montanari
Children: Simona Sacchi, Federica Sacchi
As the first fact of
he was born in Fusignano. The city is known for its music composer pioneer, Arcangelo Corelli. The city was seriously damaged during World War II.
was one year after World War ending, so his hometown and country were repairing themselves. Sacchi was a football lover as a young man. When he was so young, the Golden Team of Hungary was raiding the opponents. They played a flexible and eye catching style of football.
Arrigo Sacchi childhood
came across The Golden Team of Hungary. After the Magical Magyars in the 50s, Arrigo Sacchi saw Santos in the 60s with legendary Pelle ruling the world of football. But the highlight of football for Sacchi as a fan was Total Football by Dutch footballers like Johan Cruyff. At the same time that the football was colored in orange, Arrigo Sacchi gave up his struggling to play football and become a manager. The first team he had was the same hometown club he tried to play for. In 1974, while Sacchi was gaining experience in low grade Italian club, Netherlands was introducing their fan friendly football in the World Cup. Arrigo Sacchi life story became one of these epic legends of football.
At the time, nobody knew that 20 years later, Sacchi would be a football prophet with his Italy side in the World Cup. Dramatically, both teams end up as runner-up in World Cup. He was 26 years old when he got his job at Bellaria. Bellaria is an east coast city in Italy, close to Fusignano. His third team was also in Romagna province, but unlike the first two, it was a famous team, and participated in the Italian top two leagues. Arrigo Sacchi was appointed as the youth team manager. Sacchi spent about four years trainingCesena
's youth squad.
The next team wasRimini
and Sacchi led them in Serie C before going back to working with youth team, but this time in Florence. Sacchi joinedFiorentina
in 1983, the same season in which the senior team was competing for Serie A title with Giancarlo Antognoni and Gabriele Oriali. Sacchi had just a few steps to take before turning to a big shot manager.
The functions with the mist value points in Sacchi's football philosophy were pressing, high defense line, and offside trap alongside with being committed to the team's flow.
had this luck to be the first serious gig for Arrigo Sacchi. Two of the key players of Parma departed from the team. Nicola Berti went to Fiorentina and Marco Macina to Milan. Arrigo Sacchi built a team capable of doing his specific commands. Parma players were suited to his way of playing football.
Under Sacchi Parma was the best team inSerie C
and promoted toSerie B
. His team was forged from young talented players like Roberto Mussi, Alessandro Melli, Davide Fontolan and Mario Bortolazzi. Sacchi indicated that a team can play an offensive style and get good results at the same time, too.
The highlight of the season was in Coppa Italia, round of 16. Parma was facing AC Milan under Niels Liedholm's management. Bortolazzi scored the single goal of the first leg in San Siro stadium and the second leg was without a single goal. Parma from Serie B eliminated the great Milan from the Coppa Italia and that was one of the reasons Nils Liedholm was replaced by Fabio Capello for the last six games of the season.
Arrigo Sacchi life story
is getting to be more exciting from this point.
The historic victories over AC Milan, who at that time were the best team in Italy and one of the best in Europe, made Silvio Berlusconi promoted Arrigo Sacchi to become manager of one of the biggest clubs in Italy. Silvio Berlusconi was AC Milan's powerful owner, which later became the Prime Minister. It wasn’t long after he became a Rossoneri that the press began to question him in terms of credibility. Their logic was that such a bad player could never be a successful coach. In response, Sacchi said: “I never realized that in order to become a jockey, you have to have been a horse first”.
But he was an instant success and led AC Milan to their first Serie A title in nine years. He had purchased a Dutch trio for the forward line: Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Marco Van Basten. Also, at the back line, he had great players like Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Paolo Maldini, and Mauro Tassotti. With such talents at his disposal, it was no surprise that Sacchi won the Serie A title in the first season of his stay in Milan. In the next season, they won the Supercoppa Italiana, but that season was remembered because of their European cup triumph.
In the first round, Milan won every game and sent away two of the best teams in Europe,Red Star Belgrade
. In the semi final, Milan wonReal Madrid
in a 5–0 second leg victory (6–1 on aggregate) and that was the peak moment of Arrigo Sacchi’s career. A peak that silenced all of those who had doubted him when he took the job at San Siro from Parma. In the final, Gullit and Van Baston scored two goals each and won 4–0 againstSteaua Bucuresti
at Camp Nou in Barcelona. It was 20 years since AC Milan’s last European cup.
Although they weren’t as strong as the previous season, in 1989, Milan won the European cup again. After winningHJK Helsinki
, they faced Real Madrid again, this time winning by only a one goal margin in the second round of the competition. Before facingBayern Munich
in the semi final, they also wonKV Mechelen
. Thanks to an away goal in the drawing 2–2 on aggregate situation, Milan made it to the final.
Once again, Sacchi’s magic trio worked and AC Milan won the final 1–0 against Portuguese giants, Sven-Göran Eriksson'sBenfica
. Milan became the first team which retained the title since 1980, and their record had been kept until Real Madrid broke it 27 years later. Sacchi would also capture back to back European Super Cups and Intercontinental Cups in 1989 and 1990, and would lead Milan to the final of the 1989–90 Coppa Italia, where they were defeated byJuventus
The following season saw them defeated by eventual runners-upMarseille
in the quarter-final, and finish second in Serie A behindSampdoria
, and were eliminated in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia byRoma
In 1991, Sacchi was chosen to be the manager of theItaly national team
. Before him, Azeglio Vicini had Italy’s bench and they reached the semi finals on home soil in 1990. Sacchi chose his Italian bench mostly from Milan, especially in the back line, which featured Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi. The attacking line was led by Roberto Baggio of Juventus, who won the Ballon d’or award in 1993.
Despite their recent successes, Italy had failed to qualify for Euro 1992 and therefore Arrigo Sacchi decided that changes were needed. Walter Zenga, Giuseppe Bergomi, and Roberto Mancini from Azzurri joined Italy. In the 1994 world cup in United States, Italy qualified but struggled a lot in the group stage. They finished in third place but qualified as one of the best performing third-placed teams. They struggled pastNigeria
in the round-of-16 before a very creditable victory overSpain
saw them advance to the semi-final.
There they beat an impressiveBulgarian
team that had beaten the holders,Germany
, in the previous round. In the final, Italy labored to a 0–0 draw before Roberto Baggio’s missed penalty in the shoot-out. Sacchi left Italy after a poor showing at the 1996 European Championships, in which they were eliminated within the first three games.
After leaving his position with the Italy national team and a brief pause from football, Sacchi returned to AC Milan in 1996, replacing Oscar Tabarez with hope that he could start a trail of success again. But the expectations for his second spell were very high. Milan finished the season as 11th in the Serie A table, and suffered its worst ever defeat against Juventus, losing 6–1 at home. Performances in the cup competitions were similarly disappointing, with Milan failing to make it to the latter stages in Europe or the Coppa Italia. Though he is still thought of as an icon, Sacchi left the club a slightly less upstanding figure than he had done in 1991.
Sacchi decided to leave Italy for a change and joinedAtletico Madrid
in 1998, again after a brief period away from football. Again in Atletico, he was very unsuccessful and finished 13th in the La Liga table. But unlike the second spell in Milan, Atletico made it to the final againstValencia
in Copa del Ray and finished as runner-up. He went back to his hometown, and joined Parma again in 2001, but after less than a year left the club. He later returned to Madrid, this time at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, as director of football at Real Madrid for the 2004–2005 season.
Arrigo Sacchi is one of those people who doesn’t like to talk about their personal lives in public. In 1972, Giovanna Sacchi became
Arrigo Sacchi's Wife
and they have two daughters. Simona and Federica are the names of
Arrigo Sacchi's daughters
. In 2008, the court of Bologna recognized that Sacchi has a third daughter, who was born secretly in 2003. There is no record of his two legitimate daughters’ date of birth and they, like Arrigo, kept their life and social media accounts private.
Arrigo Sacchi’s first honor as a manager was the Serie C1 title in the 1985–86 season in Parma. In AC Milan, they won the Serie A title in 1987–88 season. After that, the 1988 and 1989 seasons was full of praises for him and Milan. In 1988–89 season, they won the European cup and Supercoppa Italiana, and in the following season, European cup, European super cup and the International cup were handed to them. Also, in Coppa Italia, they made it to the final and finished as runner-up.
As one of the best managers that Milan have had, Sacchi has won the Seminatore d'oro award for two consecutive years, in 1988 and 89. It was an award assigned annually by FIGC to the coach who distinguished himself during a competitive season. Since 1990, the award has been replaced by the Golden Bench. Also in 1989, he won the world soccer awards manager of the year and the European coach of the year, which was known by the name of Sepp Herberger award. For that season in Milan, he won the European coach of the season, too. In 1990, Milan again won the European super cup and the International cup with Arrigo Sacchi.
In 2011, his name entered the Italian football hall of fame. In a ranking for greatest manager of all time by ESPN, France Football, and World Soccer, he was nominated as one of the top 10. In 2019, he got third place by France Football and in 2013 he won sixth place by both ESPN and World Soccer.