Marcello Lippi is number 11 in 90min’s Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next three weeks.
Defining a generation of Italian football alongside Fabio Capello, three-time Serie A manager of the season Fabio Capello worked alongside some of the biggest names known to fans of the modern game.
Making his name at Juventus, Lippi he won five league titles, a Champions League and a Coppa Italia during an eight-year spell – split due to a year at Napoli – in Turin before going international where he became among the select few to also win a World Cup.
Despite being widely considered a pioneer of the modern game, Lippi is still active at the highest level of the game and the 73-year-old was re-appointed as China’s head coach earlier this year.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Gianluigi Buffon (GK) – Widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of all time, the Italy international is only missing a Champions League winners medal from his collection. Having failed to live his European dream at Paris Saint-Germain, Buffon has returned to Juventus ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Lilian Thuram – As Serie A’s second-highest capped Frenchman, behind only legendary goalkeeper Sébastien Frey, Thuram only ever lifted two Serie A titles under Lippi at Juventus, as well as an Italian Super Cup. His greatest success, however, came with France as he won both the World Cup and European championships.
Fabio Cannavaro – Despite somewhat of an unspoken trend that Italian players struggle outside of Serie A, Cannavaro actually enjoyed success in Spain before his ‘retirement years’ in the UAE and India. He was Italy’s captain during their World Cup success in 2006 and lifted the Ballon d’Or – one of the only defenders to ever win the award – that same year.
Ciro Ferrara – Growing in Naples, it may come as a surprise to learn that Ferrara actually made more appearances with Juventus than his hometown side S.S.C. Napoli. It was also in Turin, specifically in two separate spells under Lippi, where Ferrara filled out the majority of his trophy cabinet.
Fabio Grosso – The story of Fabio Grosso’s career stands very little chance of ever being into a feature film, but his first under Lippi’s guidance in the national team to become the face of Italy’s success in 2006 was unlike anything else, with the left-back scoring the winning goal in both the semi-final and the penalty shootout in the final.
Didier Deschamps – France’s two-time Champions League winner, Deschamps is widely remembered as one of the best midfielders of the 1990s. He also tasted success at international level in 1998 and 2000.
Andrea Pirlo – Pirlo was given his international debut by Giovanni Trapattoni but only started to cement himself in European football’s history books after Lippi was appointed in 2004 – and re-appointed in 2008.
Zinedine Zidane – Known as a Real Madrid legend above anything else, it was actually Zidane’s role in Lippi’s Juventus that helped to establish the France international as a generational talent. He made 212 appearances for the Bianconeri, winning two out of his three Ballon d’Or trophies in Turin.
Alessandro Del Piero – Arriving in Turin as a fresh-faced teenager in 1993, Del Piero was an integral part of both of Lippi’s squads, winning 16 major honours and crucially staying with the club throughout the
Pavel Nedvěd – Sitting alongside Buffon and Thuram as one of the club’s most expensive signings from the early 2000s,
Francesco Totti – The AS Roma legend was well into his prime when Italy’s participation in the 2006 World Cup came rolling around, and the now 42-year-old was directly involved in five goals as the Azzurri fought their way into the semi-finals. Totti also played in the final, but the tournament in Germany was the last time he ever played international football.
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