Luigi Delneri Biography

Thu 29 July 2021 | 19:29

He is the winner of the Serie A Coach of the Year award in 2001-02 and considered as one of the best Italian coaches at the time. In this article, we will take a look at Luigi Delneri Biography.

Luigi Delneri, born 23 August 1950 in Aquileia, is an Italian former player and current football coach. After starting his playing career with Aquileia in 1967, he played for many Italian clubs in Serie A, most notably for Udinese, Sampdoria and Siena, until 1985, when he retired from playing football at Opitergina. It was at this club that he immediately started his career as a manager.

Between 1985 and 2000, he coached many Italian clubs, mostly in the lower leagues of Italian football. Delneri started coaching Chievo Verona in the summer of 2000, at that time in the Italian Serie B. During his first season, Chievo was promoted directly to Serie A. While at the beginning of the following season the goal was to stay at the highest level, at the end of the season Chievo was ranked so high that they got to play the UEFA Cup.

During the summer of 2004, Delneri left for FC Porto. The Champions League winner at the time wanted him to succeed José Mourinho, who had departed for

Chelsea FC

. Even before his official debut, Delneri was fired due to a disagreement with the board. He then signed with AS Roma in October to succeed Rudi Völler. However, he departed again in March 2005.

In the summer of 2005, he started working at Palermo. There he was fired on 28 January 2006. He was coach of Chievo Verona in the 2006-2007 season. He stayed there for one season as well. Between 2007 and 2009, Delneri was the coach of Atalanta Bergamo.

Between 2009 and 2013 he also had spells with Serie A teams including Sampdoria, Juventus and Genoa. He was out of football for two years following his departure from Genoa in 2013.

All You Need to Know About Luigi Delneri Biography

Delneri was appointed coach of Hellas Verona on 1 December 2015, which at that time was at the bottom of the Serie A. He replaced the sacked Andrea Mandorlini. Delneri was unable to get Hellas off the last place, after which he resigned at the end of the season. He also had spells with Udinese and Brescia later in his career.

Luigi Delneri Information

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Luigi Delneri biography

, we will share some general information about him such as

Luigi Delneri nationality

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Luigi Delneri Bio

  • Full Name: Luigi Delneri

  • Nickname: N/A

  • Profession: Professional Football Coach

Luigi Delneri Physical Stats

  • Weight: 83 Kg

  • Height: 1.81 m

  • Eye Color: Blue

  • Hair Color: Blonde

Luigi Delneri Football Information

  • Position: Midfielder

  • Jersey Number: 8

  • Professional Debut: 1967

Luigi Delneri Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 23 August 1950

  • Zodiac Sign: Capricorn

  • Nationality: Italian

Birth Place: Aquileia,


In this section of

Luigi Delneri biography

stay tuned as we want to share some information about

Luigi Delneri childhood

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Luigi Delneri Early Life

Luigi Delneri started his football career with the team of his hometown Aquileia, playing for a season in 1967 at the amateur level. He made his professional football debut in 1968 in SPAL, playing in Serie B.

The aspiring footballer Gigi Delneri was fresh from his training in Serie C at SPAL. During the first two seasons in the club, he met G.B. Fabbri, a joyful coach, dedicated to the attacking game. The flamboyant Gigi was the man who in 1977-78 won over Paolo Rossi's Vicenza. Delneri was able to breathe healthy provincial air in Emilia.

In this section of

Luigi Delneri biography

stay tuned as we want to share some information about his playing career in Foggia.


His adolescence ended in 1972, the summer in which he was hired by Foggia, the team that would mark his career. A two-year experience, an interlude at Novara and the return, in the summer of 1975, when Delneri encountered Cesare Maldini.

Cesare Maldini had just completed his apprenticeship at AC Milan, at Nereo Rocco's school, but it was a mistake to assume that the 40-year-old Maldini was a coach who was all about defence and counter-attacks.

Delneri himself denies it: "Maldini had innovative ideas for the time. I learned a lot from him." Cesare Maldini describes Delneri as a player: "He had good feet, he was 170s at the time. He wasn't a sprinter, he had a dangling pace. He loved to let the ball run, not chase it. Yes, the ball ran faster than Delneri.”

Giovanni Lodetti, Gianni Rivera's former assistant at AC Milan, provided the supplies. "Lodetti and Delneri were a great team. We played a modern 4-4-2,” recalls Cesare. That Foggia team went on to the top flight, but Cesare Maldini was sacked a few days before the end of the season.

Why? "I had a disagreement with Giovanni Pirazzini, the captain. Pirazzini was the captain and he did as he pleased. One night he went fishing, showed up at training and I publicly reprimanded him. He was the president's darling, Dr Fesce, a good man who, however, was subjected to Pirazzini and who preferred to fire me instead of punishing the player.” Said Maldini.


In the summer of 1978, Massimo Giacomini brought Delneri back to


: "I had a hard time persuading the managers, there was scepticism about Gigi. "He's already in his prime," they said, "he's on the wane," but I was sure he would become the heart of the team. He had a strong mind, personality and was serious.”

At Foggia he played on the centre-left, in Udinese the coach moved him back and put him in the centre, directing operations. Delneri could filter passes, but only one problem: He tended to gain weight, so he underwent strict diets and very hard training, covered in heavy, acrylic clothes, to sweat more. Delneri himself remembers: "I used to stuff myself with sacks and nylon bags". That Udinese played avant-garde football. "We played offside,' Giacomini explains, 'we used the wings.

In 1979 Giacomini switched to AC Milan and Corrado Orrico arrived at Udinese. Delneri remained where he was, in the middle of the field, with the same duties. "Delneri was the leader of the group - he remembers - a midfielder of absolute thought, of natural elegance. An anecdote: "We used to make fun of him, we made fun of him because, like today, he spoke in bursts and in the excitement of the match incomprehensible phrases came out of his mouth".

Later Career

Following his spell with Udinese, he had spells with Sampdoria in Serie B, where he played 33 matches and scored a goal. Delneri spent the next two seasons in Serie C1 at Vicenza and later at


. As a player, Delneri ended his professional career at home, Gorizia in 1983-84, Serie C2, where he was coached by Edi Reja. Under Reja's guidance, Delneri established a personal scoring record: 8 goals in 32 games.

"He played director and kicked deadly dead-ball free kicks - Reja recalls - over the barrier. Gigi was a leader, an enthusiast. He wanted to play against anyone, he would organise dinners in the neighbourhood to keep the group going.” Recalls Reja of Luigi Delneri.

Delneri had a long career as a midfielder, in which he played as a midfield partner with Nevio Scala at Foggia, and with Udinese and Sampdoria where he played 33 games, scoring a single goal in the derby of the Lanterna in the 1980-81 season, from a corner kick below the south stand. His experience as a player at Opitergina ended in 1985 when president Ettore Setten convinced him to become a coach.

During his career, he made 106 appearances and 7 goals in Serie A with Foggia and Udinese and 163 appearances and 13 goals in Serie B with SPAL, Foggia, Novara, Udinese and Sampdoria, and achieved three promotions to the top flight (two with Foggia in the seasons 1972-1973 and 1975-1976 and one with Udinese in 1978-1979).

Luigi Delneri Profile

After Delneri stopped playing football, he travelled all over Italy. He studied, worked to improve his 4-4-2, took steps backwards and even went unemployed. He was more of a technician than a player, more of a reasoner than a runner. During training, when a coach (or the assistant coaches, like Cleante Zat at Udinese) made them run, the first to complain at the back of the group was him. The players he's pressing today can't imagine that.

Early Coaching Career

After he stopped playing in the amateurs, he started coaching at Pro Gorizia. In 1989 he decided to get serious when he met Mario Salvia, general manager of Partinicaudace, an Interregional team in the province of Palermo. He finished second and it was an omen: his teams have never finished higher than fifth.

His first team in C2 was Teramo (which finished third): Marcon, the goalkeeper of last year's promotion to


, was goalkeeper, and a certain Enrico Chiesa was in attack. He then moved on to Ravenna (1991-92) and won his first championship.

Ravenna from there went on to Serie B, but without him. He remained in C2. Santino Tarantola, one of the presidents who most appreciated him as a player, had called him up: he had played for Novara in Serie B from November 1974 to the following June, which was enough to guarantee Tarantola's esteem for life. But Delneri was not able to repay him: first third, then fifth, then fired.

He was unemployed. He went around, studied and awaited a call. Here it was: he was at Nocerina, taking Santosuosso's place, after 8 matches. After winning the A Division, he went on to win the C Division and then jumped to the C1 Division. This time it was confirmed. In C1, they finished third and made it to the playoffs.

However, when it was time to take a step forward, there was another reverse. The return of Delneri in C2, but in Ternana: it was well worth it, there was the new society of Agarini and the then general manager Carlo Osti did not want to fail the coach. Delneri was lacking the victory in Serie B and it arrived right on time.

And that was not all. Another year in C1 and another in Serie B. This time nothing and nobody could stop him and in fact, the leap for a month was a great one. Empoli had entrusted him with its bench in Serie A.

The Tuscan managers requested him to continue along the path of Spalletti, who had just been able to stay in the top flight with a three-team defence. Delneri, objected also by some of his fellow players, tried to impose his 4-4-2, but at the end of August, he was fired. A few months at home, until the call of the heart.

At Ternana, which was not happy with Cuccureddu, their relationship seemed to be a foregone conclusion, but turned out to be a disaster: "Reheated soups are not good in football", he would say after 5 draws, 4 defeats and another dismissal. It was a heavy one. With a rich contract, but professionally humiliated by his lack of employment, Gigi Delneri was inactive throughout 1999-2000. However, not in the armchair. He resumed studying, thinking and planning his ideal team.

At the time, he was trying to improve his 4-4-2 playing system. That's how it was at Chievo, where he imposed his ideal 4-4-2: high defence, offside, attacking midfielders and centre-backs capable of inserting themselves.

In this section of Luigi Delneri biography stay tuned as we want to share some information about his coaching career at

Chievo Verona



Delneri was recruited in 2000 by Chievo, a team from a small village in the Verona area that played in Serie B at the time. He immediately gained promotion to Serie A, finishing third in the 2000-01 Serie B, the first in the history of Chievo.

In his first season in the top division, he made the yellow-blue team the revelation of the league, leading them, through a lively and effective game, to march unexpectedly as leaders in the first half of the season and then to finish the year in a flattering fifth place, which earned the small Venetian team its European debut in the UEFA Cup. With Delneri on the bench, the team reached seventh place in 2003 and ninth in 2004.

Delneri made himself known and appreciated in Chievo Verona thanks to his distinctive game, which made the most of the individuals and made the Mussi Volanti fans dream. Delneri's Chievo team has great memories today, both of the team as a whole and of players who have gone down in the history of Verona, such as Eugenio Corini, Simone Perrotta, Christian Manfredini and Bernardo Corradi. In short, the figure of Luigi Delneri was a perfect match for Campedelli's ambitious project.

His name began to circulate with increasing insistence, and even reached Portugal: after seeing him lead Chievo to Europe and then remain in the upper echelons of the table for another two seasons,


chose the coach from Aquileia to replace Mourinho. It was an unexpected change and one that made one smile, but at the time it wasn't unrealistic. It's a pity that things didn't go as planned, neither for Porto nor for Delneri.


In 2004, Porto was at its peak: within two years it had won first the UEFA Cup and then the Champions League (and that year they had also won the Portuguese championship at the same time), being perhaps the last team outside the elite of the top clubs to do so to everyone's surprise.

As usual with Mourinho, and even more so during his time at Porto, his success was mainly dictated by an excellent relationship with the team, who valued their young and charismatic coach. So how can he be replaced if not with another revelation? The casting for the successor to Mourinho led Porto straight to Italy, near Verona.

Delneri was called directly by Jorge Mendes, as he himself recalled, and once he arrived at the training centre he was immediately faced with the first problem: some of the most important players had not yet arrived at the training camp because they were on national duty with Portugal.

This was not only a logistical problem but also a psychological one: the Portuguese national team had just lost the European Championship at home in the final against Greece in 2004, a crushing defeat that had left its mark on the mood of some of the players, who therefore returned to the training camp with their morale in the shade and with a new coach they did not know. Most importantly, he was a coach with very different ideas to his predecessor: in Delneri's words, he was not a Mourinho clone.

Obviously, Delneri wanted Porto to play a 4-4-2, which has always been his preferred form. However, not everyone was in agreement, on the contrary: some of the players who were already unhappy after losing the European Championship, did not want to change their tactical set-up and way of playing, so they were against it.

And their influence in the locker room tipped the scales decidedly to their side: "The strongest voice was that of the players: at that time it was not yet the time to arrive and propose the 4-4-2," said Delneri a few years later.

In addition to that, there were problems with the club: president Pinto da Costa insisted on focusing more on 18-year-old Diego and 19-year-old Carlos Alberto, with a view to building the club's future on them. Delneri, however, had other plans in this regard: there was no room for them in his 4-4-2 which needed other types of players.

According to some rumours, Delneri had even requested the transfer of Carlos Alberto, who had scored in the

Champions League

final not long before. The split with the club took place not only for reasons related to the football market but for other reasons as well: Delneri had granted the team two days' rest, he returned to Italy but did not return to Porto on the agreed date, claiming he had problems with his flight.

However, not everyone agreed with this version. For example, Repubblica reported at the time of the coach's 'repeated absences', which were followed by those two days' leave, apparently never authorised by anyone. Other reports also specified the reasons for the absences: Delneri was away for treatment of his Achilles tendon as if he were a regular player who wanted to be ready for the start of the season.

This led to a tug-of-war, with the club unhappy with the coach, and the coach unhappy with the club, which did not satisfy him in the market and wanted to see some specific elements on the field, all while the locker room was still missing Mourinho.

At some point the parting of ways became inevitable. Delneri was officially fired on 7 July 2004 and commented confidentially: "Later on I will tell you the truth when the time is right."


He was appointed by Roma in September as a replacement for Rudi Völler, who had resigned, after the start of the new season and four league games. He remained in charge until the following March when he stepped down after a 3-0 defeat at Cagliari, the third in a row after 1-2 against Juventus and 2-0 at Palermo. In twenty-four league games with Roma, he picked up 34 points and very little satisfaction of the board.


During the summer of 2005, he joined Palermo, whom he coached until January 2006, after they had reached qualification for the UEFA Cup round of 16 when he was dismissed by president Maurizio Zamparini following the 1-3 defeat suffered at the hands of Siena in

Serie A


Delneri claimed that his experience in Palermo had been a failure, in part because of misunderstandings with the president of the Rosanero, who, after four years, admitted that he had made a mistake in his relationship with the coach from Aquileia.

Return to Chievo

He was brought back by president Luca Campedelli in October 2006, to try to revive Chievo, as a replacement for the sacked Giuseppe Pillon. That season ended with the club's relegation to Serie B and his dismissal.


During the 2007-2008 season, he was appointed as coach of Atalanta after recent disappointing experiences. In the first half of the season, Atalanta had a good campaign in the UEFA zone (between sixth and seventh place) and finished with 25 points.

The second half of the season was a mixed one, with good results at home (including a 4-1 win over Walter Mazzarri and Antonio Cassano's revelation Sampdoria) and a few satisfying away matches with only seven points. The team ended the season in ninth place with 48 points, thus achieving salvation with two days to go. The double victory over AC Milan was one of the most sensational results.

Delneri had a comfortable season in 2008-2009, always in the middle of the table. The 3-1 victory over José Mourinho's Inter, then champions of Italy, was particularly noteworthy. The board, no longer led by Ivan Ruggeri, stated they did not want to go beyond salvation.

With only a few weeks to go before the end of the season, he announced that he would no longer coach the team the next season. He finished the season in eleventh place with 47 points.



officialized the appointment of Delneri as a new coach on 1 June 2009, with a one-year contract. Sampdoria started the season with four victories in as many games, and the team reached first place after six matches with, among others, the victory at Marassi against Inter, reigning champions of Italy.

In the following matches the performances of the Genoese deteriorated and saw Antonio Cassano forced out of the squad by the coach, also because of an injury that seemed to drive them apart. Following the rise of the club that led to the fourth place alone, which Sampdoria kept until the end of the season by putting together the club record of points (67) in 20-team tournaments.

Delneri, with 41 points in the second half of the season, achieved the qualification for the preliminary round of the Champions League, the highest competition that the team lacked for eighteen years. It should also be underlined the unbeaten home record during the season. He ended his working relationship with Sampdoria on 17 May 2010.


He signed a two-year contract with


on 19 May 2010. At the end of what will be his only season on the bench, on 21 May 2011, he announced his farewell to the Italian club and was replaced by Antonio Conte, following the disappointing results collected by the team both in the league, ranking seventh as the previous year.

Juventus also, after twenty years, failed to qualify for the European competitions, and in Europe, they were eliminated in the group stage of the Europa League. The club made the separation official ten days later.


He was presented as


coach on 24 October 2012, taking over from the dismissed Luigi De Canio, thus becoming the sixth coach (after Paolo Tabanelli, Gipo Poggi, Roberto Lerici, Guido Vincenzi, Luigi Cagni) to have led both Genoa teams.

He suffered 5 consecutive defeats in his first 5 games. Following the home defeat against Catania (0-2), he and his staff were sacked on 20 January 2013. In a total of 13 league games with Genoa, he scored 2 wins, 2 draws and 9 defeats.

Hellas Verona

He was hired as coach by Verona on 1 December 2015, to take the place of the sacked Andrea Mandorlini, with the team in the last place in the standings. For the second time in his career, after Genoa, he took the reins of the other team of the city in Verona. The club of Verona announced on 23 May 2016, after the relegation to Serie B, that the Friulian coach's contract would not be extended.


He replaced Beppe Iachini on the Udinese bench on 3 October 2016 and made his debut on 15 October at Juventus Stadium with a 2-1 defeat. This was followed by two wins against Pescara and Palermo. Under his rule the team played a smooth championship, finishing in thirteenth place. During the following season, he was sacked on the thirteenth day with the team only three points from the safety zone.


After three years of inactivity, he was officially appointed as the new coach of


, in

Serie B

, on 4 September 2020. The next 6 October, he was fired after just two league games, in which he got a draw (1-1) and suffered a defeat (3-0), interrupted by a success (3-0) in the

Coppa Italia


In this section of Luigi Delneri biography stay tuned as we want to share some information about his coaching style.

Style of Play

Throughout his coaching career, he has always used the 4-4-2 tactical system and Delneri is also famous for his beautiful and entertaining attacking game. It was his famous 4-4-2 which helped the Chievo team’s rise from Serie B to UEFA Cup in the early 2000s.


During the 2000s, he was considered to be one of the best Italian coaches of the time, when he managed to achieve great results with Chievo. However, following his unsuccessful spell with Juventus, as per some pundits, his reputation as a good head coached deteriorated in Italy.

Luigi Delneri outside Football

These days that he is not coaching a team anymore, Luigi is spending most of his time with his family, which includes his wife, daughters and grandchildren.

Luigi Delneri Personal Life

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

Luigi Delneri life story


Luigi Delneri religion


Family, Children and Relationships

Gigi Delneri is from Aquileia, the oldest city in Friuli. For the last couple of years, he has moved to nearby Pieris, the town of Capello and his wife Daria, one of the four women in his life. The others are his daughters and granddaughter Julia, of whom he became a grandfather at the age of 48.


Currently, there are no reports of any charitable and philanthropy activities of Luigi Delneri on the English or Italian media.

Legal Issues

There are also no reports of any legal issues and disputes about the famous Italian football coach, Luigi Delneri on media.

Luigi Delneri Career Statistics

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


During his playing career, Delneri has appeared in a total of around 450 matches for many Italian clubs between 1968 and 1985.


The Italian coach has a win ratio of 39.18 percent which he had achieved by 324 wins, 273 draws and 230 defeats in a total of 827 matches, managing many Italian teams.

Luigi Delneri Honors

Luigi Delneri as a player has won Italian Serie B, Italian Cup Serie C and Mitropa Cup with Udinese and Vicenza. He has also won the Italian Serie C2 championship three times with Ravenna, Nocerina and Ternana.

His notable personal level awards include the Serie A Coach of the Year and Panchina d'Oro, among others.

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