Marcello Lippi

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Marcello Lippi
Marcello Lippi at China-Iran press conference 20190123.jpg
Lippi in 2019
Personal information
Full nameMarcello Romeo Lippi
Date of birth (1948-04-12) 12 April 1948 (age 71)
Place of birth Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
China (manager)
Youth career
1963–1969 Viareggio
Senior career*
1969–1979 Sampdoria 274 (5)
1969–1970Savona (loan) 21 (2)
1979–1981 Pistoiese 45 (0)
1981–1982 Lucchese 23 (0)
National team
1971 Italy U23 2 (0)
Teams managed
1982–1985 Sampdoria (youth team)
1985–1986 Pontedera
1986–1987 Siena
1987–1988 Pistoiese
1988–1989 Carrarese
1989–1991 Cesena
1991–1992 Lucchese
1992–1993 Atalanta
1993–1994 Napoli
1994–1999 Juventus
1999–2000 Internazionale
2001–2004 Juventus
2004–2006 Italy
2008–2010 Italy
2012–2014 Guangzhou Evergrande
2016–2019 China
2019– China
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Marcello Lippi, Commendatore OMRI (Italian pronunciation:  [marˈtʃɛllo ˈlippi] ; born 12 April 1948) is an Italian former professional football player and current manager of China. He served as Italian national team head coach from 16 July 2004 to 12 July 2006 and led Italy to win the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He was re-appointed as Italian national team head coach in the summer of 2008 and was succeeded by Cesare Prandelli after the disappointing performance in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. [1]

Order of Merit of the Italian Republic Italian order of knighthood

The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic was founded as the senior order of knighthood by the second President of the Italian Republic, Luigi Einaudi in 1951. The highest ranking honour of the Republic, it is awarded for "merit acquired by the nation" in the fields of literature, the arts, economy, public service, and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities and for long and conspicuous service in civilian and military careers. The post-nominal letters for the order are OMRI. The order effectively replaced national orders such as the Civil Order of Savoy (1831), the Order of the Crown of Italy (1868), the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (1572) and the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation (1362).

Association football Team field sport played between two teams of eleven players with spherical ball

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

China national football team mens national association football team representing the Peoples Republic of China

The Chinese national football team, recognized as China PR by FIFA, is the national association football team of the People's Republic of China and is governed by the Chinese Football Association. The team is colloquially referred to as "Team China", the "National Team" or "Guózú".


Lippi is regarded as one of the greatest and most successful managers in football history, [2] and in 2007, The Times included him on its list of the top 50 managers of all time. [3] Throughout his career as a manager he won one World Cup title, five Serie A titles, three Chinese Super League titles, one Coppa Italia, one Chinese FA Cup, four Italian Supercups, one UEFA Champions League, one AFC Champions League, one UEFA Supercup and one Intercontinental Cup. He is the first and to date the only coach to win both the UEFA Champions League and the AFC Champions League. [4]

<i>The Times</i> British daily compact newspaper owned by News UK

The Times is a British daily national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register, adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, itself wholly owned by News Corp. The Times and The Sunday Times do not share editorial staff, were founded independently, and have only had common ownership since 1967.

FIFA World Cup association football competition for mens national teams

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Serie A professional association football league in Italy

Serie A, also called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by TIM, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and the winner is awarded the Coppa Campioni d'Italia. It has been operating for over ninety years since the 1929–30 season. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, when the Lega Serie A was created for the 2010–11 season. Serie A is regarded as one of the best football leagues in the world and it is often depicted as the most tactical national league. Serie A was the world's second-strongest national league in 2014 according to IFFHS. Serie A is ranked third among European leagues according to UEFA's league coefficient, behind La Liga, Premier League, and ahead of Bundesliga and Ligue 1, which is based on the performance of Italian clubs in the Champions League and the Europa League during the last five years. Serie A led the UEFA ranking from 1986 to 1988 and from 1990 to 1999.

He was named the world's best football manager by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) both in 1996 and 1998, and world's best National coach in 2006. [5] He is the first coach to have won the most prestigious international competitions both for clubs in different continents, and for national teams (the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup in 1996 with Juventus; the AFC Champions League in 2013 with Guangzhou; and the FIFA World Cup in 2006 with Italy).

International Federation of Football History & Statistics organization that chronicles the history and records of association football

The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) is an organization that chronicles the history and records of association football. It was founded on 27 March 1984 in Leipzig by Alfredo Pöge with the blessings of general secretary of the FIFA at the time, Helmut Käser. The IFFHS was based at Al-Muroor Street 147, Abu Dhabi for some time but, in 2010, relocated to Bonn, Germany.

The 1996 UEFA Champions League Final was a football match played on 22 May 1996 between Juventus of Italy and Ajax of the Netherlands. The match ended in a 1–1 draw after extra time, forcing a penalty shoot-out, which Juventus won 4–2. It was the club's second triumph in the competition.

1996 Intercontinental Cup

The 1996 Intercontinental Cup was a football match played on November 26, 1996, between Juventus, winners of the 1995–96 UEFA Champions League, and River Plate, winners of the 1996 Copa Libertadores. The match was played at the National Stadium in Tokyo. It was Juventus' third appearance into the competition, after the defeat in 1973 and the victory in 1985 against Argentinos Juniors, whereas it was River Plate's second appearance after the victory in 1986 against Steaua Bucharest.

Club career

Lippi with Sampdoria in 1972 Marcello Lippi at Sampdoria, 1972.jpg
Lippi with Sampdoria in 1972

Born in Viareggio, in northern Tuscany, Lippi began his professional career as a defender in 1969. He spent most of his playing years with Sampdoria, where he played consecutively from 1969 to 1978, except for a year on loan at Savona. In 1979, he joined Pistoiese, being part of the Arancioni 's promotion to Serie A. He finished his playing career with Lucchese.

Viareggio Comune in Tuscany, Italy

Viareggio is a city and comune in northern Tuscany, Italy, on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. With a population of over 62,000, it is the second largest city within the province of Lucca, after Lucca.

Tuscany Region of Italy

Tuscany is a region in central Italy with an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.8 million inhabitants (2013). The regional capital is Florence (Firenze).

U.C. Sampdoria association football club from Italy

Unione Calcio Sampdoria, commonly referred to as Sampdoria, is an Italian professional football club based in Genoa, Liguria.

Coaching career

Early career

Lippi retired from active football in 1982, at the age of 34, to pursue a coaching career. Despite never having played for Italy at senior level, Lippi gained experience playing in his country's top flight as a central defender for Sampdoria. His rise to the top of the managerial tree also began at the Genoese club, where he started as a youth-team coach. After various stints in Italy's lower divisions, he became a head coach in Serie A in 1989 with Cesena. Lippi then moved on to Lucchese and Atalanta. The turning point for Lippi came in the 1993–94 season when he led Napoli to a place in the UEFA Cup. The achievement was all the more remarkable given the financial turmoil of a club still basking in the past triumphs inspired by Diego Maradona.

Genoa Comune in Liguria, Italy

Genoa is the capital of the Italian region of Liguria and the sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived within the city's administrative limits. As of the 2011 Italian census, the Province of Genoa, which in 2015 became the Metropolitan City of Genoa, counted 855,834 resident persons. Over 1.5 million people live in the wider metropolitan area stretching along the Italian Riviera.

A.C. Cesena defunct Italian association football club

A.C. Cesena, commonly referred to as Cesena, was an Italian football club based in Cesena, Emilia-Romagna. The club spent most of the club history in professional leagues such as Serie A and Serie B, but bankrupted and folded in 2018. Another club from Cesena, A.S.D. Romagna Centro Cesena, claimed as a successor.

Atalanta B.C. Italian association football club based in Bergamo, Lombardy

Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio, commonly referred to as Atalanta, is an Italian football club based in Bergamo, Lombardy. It currently plays in Serie A, having gained promotion from Serie B in 2010–11.

Juventus and Inter

With his success at Napoli, Lippi became a managerial target for the top Serie A clubs, with Juventus ultimately winning the race to secure his services. He won the Serie A title and the Coppa Italia in his first season at the club, also reaching the 1995 UEFA Cup Final, with a team that included players who would play an important role in the club's future successes, including Gianluca Vialli, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Roberto Baggio, Alessandro Del Piero, Angelo Peruzzi, Angelo Di Livio, Moreno Torricelli, Didier Deschamps, Paulo Sousa, Antonio Conte, Alessio Tacchinardi and Giancarlo Marocchi, as well as Ciro Ferrara, a player Lippi had previously coached at Napoli and who later acted as his assistant with the Azzurri. [6] [7] The following season, Lippi guided Juventus to 1995 Supercoppa Italiana and the 1995–96 UEFA Champions League titles. With the arrival of several new key players which included Zinedine Zidane, Edgar Davids, Filippo Inzaghi, Mark Iuliano, Paolo Montero and Igor Tudor, these victories were followed by consecutive league titles, the 1996 UEFA Super Cup, the 1996 Intercontinental Cup and the 1997 Supercoppa Italiana, as well as two more consecutive Champions League finals and another semi-final. [8]

Juventus F.C. association football club from Turin, Italy

Juventus Football Club, colloquially known as Juve, is an Italian professional football club based in Turin, Piedmont. Founded in 1897 by a group of Torinese students, the club has worn a black and white striped home kit since 1903 and has played home matches in different grounds around its city, the latest being the 41,507-capacity Allianz Stadium. Nicknamed Vecchia Signora, the club has won 35 official league titles, 13 Coppa Italia titles and eight Supercoppa Italiana titles, being the record holder for all these competitions; two Intercontinental Cups, two European Cups / UEFA Champions Leagues, one European Cup Winners' Cup, a joint national record of three UEFA Cups, two UEFA Super Cups and one UEFA Intertoto Cup. Consequently, the side leads the historical Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC) ranking whilst on the international stage occupies the 5th position in Europe and the eleventh in the world for most confederation titles won with eleven trophies, having led the UEFA ranking during seven seasons since its inception in 1979, the most for an Italian team and joint second overall.

1994–95 Serie A sports season

The 1994–95 Serie A was won by Juventus, who finished 10 points ahead of their nearest rivals Parma and Lazio.

The 1994–95 Coppa Italia was the 48th edition of the tournament. The final was contested between Juventus and Parma, who also met in the previous month in the 1995 UEFA Cup Final. Juventus won 3–0 on aggregate.

After five highly successful seasons at Juventus, Lippi moved to Internazionale in 1999, leading the club to a fourth-place finish in the league and the 2000 Coppa Italia Final, [8] though he was sacked after suffering a disappointing defeat in the first match-day of the 2000–01 Serie A season; having previously also received significant criticism due to his poor results in his previous season with the Nerazzurri, and after Inter were eliminated from the 2000–01 UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round by Swedish underdogs Helsingborgs IF without managing to score a goal over the two legs. [2]

Following the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti, Lippi was subsequently re-appointed as Juventus' head coach for the 2001–02 season. [8] Following the departure of Inzaghi to Milan and Zidane to Real Madrid for a world record fee, the club acquired Pavel Nedvěd, Gianluigi Buffon and Lilian Thuram to reinforce its line-up, [9] and managed to win two further scudetti under Lippi, as he also led the bianconeri to consecutive Supercoppa Italiana titles and two Coppa Italia finals, as well as the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final held at Old Trafford; [2] Juventus lost out to Milan in a penalty shootout, however, after both the teams failed to score during regulation and extra time. [10]

In March 2007, Lippi managed a Europe XI team who played Manchester United in a UEFA Celebration Match, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome and the 50th year of Manchester United's participation in European competitions. His team lost 4–3 at Old Trafford.

Italy national team

Lippi during the 2010 World Cup. Lippi nelspruit.jpg
Lippi during the 2010 World Cup.

Lippi was appointed head of the Italy national team on July 2004, following a disappointing UEFA Euro 2004 campaign by Giovanni Trapattoni. The Azzurri secured their passage to the FIFA World Cup finals with relative ease and subsequent victories, such as the 3–1 victory over the Netherlands and a 4–1 win over Germany in friendly matches, which raised expectations considerably. During the late weeks of the 2005–06 season Lippi was under scrutiny surrounding the 2006 Serie A scandal (Calciopoli); blamed because of his long-standing ties and previous history with Juventus, and pressured to step down as Italy coach. [11]

Throughout the 2006 World Cup, Lippi was praised for adopting several tactical systems that allowed his two star playmakers, Francesco Totti and Andrea Pirlo, to play alongside each other and contribute to Italy's offensive play, assisting many of the team's goals. [12] In Lippi's formation, Totti occupied the advanced creative role behind the forwards, while Pirlo was deployed in the deep-lying playmaking role; the two players were supported defensively by hard-working box-to-box midfielders, such as Daniele De Rossi, Gennaro Gattuso, Simone Perrotta and Simone Barone, as well as winger Mauro Camoranesi. [13] [14] [15] The Pirlo-Gattuso partnership in Italy's midfield, in particular, proved to be extremely effective, as Lippi led Italy all the way to the final of the tournament, where they beat France 5–3 in a penalty shoot-out after a 1–1 draw. [2] [16] Led by captain Fabio Cannavaro, the team also drew praise for its defensive solidity, as Italy only conceded two goals throughout the tournament, neither of which occurred in open play. [17]

After winning the World Cup, Lippi stated that this was his "most satisfying moment as a coach", even after winning the Intercontinental Cup and the UEFA Champions League with Juventus. [18]

Three days after the final, Lippi did not renew his expiring contract with the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), and left his office as coach of Italy. He was succeeded by Roberto Donadoni. [19] Under the management of Donadoni, Italy was eliminated at UEFA Euro 2008 at the quarter-final stage, prompting Donadoni's dismissal. On 26 June 2008, Lippi was re-appointed as coach of Italy. [1]

For the 2010 World Cup, Lippi selected mostly veterans of the victorious 2006 squad, omitting younger players such as Mario Balotelli and Giuseppe Rossi, in addition to notable players such as Antonio Cassano. Italy's performance at the 2010 World Cup was extremely poor, drawing 1–1 with both Paraguay and New Zealand before losing 3–2 to Slovakia and finishing bottom of the group. [20] Lippi resigned after the Slovakia defeat, and was succeeded by Cesare Prandelli.

Guangzhou Evergrande

Lippi in 2014 Lippi at GZ Bookcenter.jpg
Lippi in 2014

On 17 May 2012, Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande announced that they had officially signed Lippi on a two-and-a-half-year deal worth around €30 million, replacing Korean manager Lee Jang-soo. [21] Lippi's first official game in China came three days later on 20 May, in a 1–0 home victory against Qingdao Jonoon. He achieved a double in his first season at the club by winning the league and domestic cup titles. In his second season, on 2 October 2013, Lippi led his side to the 2013 AFC Champions League Final for the first time in the club's history. Four days later, on 6 October, he led Guangzhou Evergrande to win their third consecutive Chinese Super League title by beating Shandong Luneng Taishan 4–2 away. In the final of the 2013 AFC Champions League, his side defeated FC Seoul to win the club's first Asian title. [22] [23] Guangzhou Evergrande, however, was later defeated in the two-legged final by Guizhou Moutai in the Chinese FA Cup, hence unable to achieve the first continental treble in Asia. Later that year, Lippi also led the club to a fourth-place finish in the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup. [22] On 28 February 2014, Guangzhou Evergrande announced that they had officially extended Lippi's contract on a three-year deal, keeping him at the club until 2017. [24] On 2 November 2014, Lippi publicly declared that he had retired from coaching after having guided Guangzhou Evergrande to their fourth successive league title. He continued with Guangzhou as the director of football. However, he resigned from the club on 26 February 2015. [25]

China national team and return

On 22 October 2016, Lippi, was appointed manager of the China national team. [26] [27] [28] He made his debut in a 0–0 draw against Qatar valid for the 2018 World Cup qualification. [29] Lippi led the side during the final stage of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, where China won 2–1 to Kyrgyzstan and 3–0 to Philippines, before losing 2–0 to group leaders South Korea on 16 January. [30] China then beat Thailand 2–1 to earn a place in the quarter-finals, where the Chinese team was knocked out by Iran after a 3–0 defeat; Lippi subsequently confirmed his departure as head coach. [31] [32]

On 24 May 2019, Marcello Lippi was re-appointed as head coach of China, replacing compatriot Fabio Cannavaro after his brief tenure. [33] [34]

Coaching philosophy and management style

Lippi at the 2010 International Journalism Festival in Perugia Marcello Lippi by Martina De Siervo - International Journalism Festival 2010.jpg
Lippi at the 2010 International Journalism Festival in Perugia

In his book Il Gioco delle Idee: Pensieri e Passioni da Bordo Campo (A Game of Ideas: Thoughts and Passions from the Sidelines), [35] Lippi outlined his coaching philosophy. Lippi emphasizes the importance of team spirit and team unity. Lippi likens a psychologically well integrated football team to the functioning of a psychologically healthy family. On the strategic aspect of coaching, Lippi emphasizes the importance of the mutual relations between players. Players must all follow the same plan and play for each other, "not" for themselves. Lippi argues that "a group of the best players do not necessarily make for the best team." What is more important, he argues, is that the tactical plan or formation is one that allows each player to maximize (1) his utility for his teammates and (2) the expression of his full potential. Lippi also notes that the choice of tactical formation is constrained by the qualities of the players available. Thus, selecting the best possible team not only requires finding the right combination of players for the chosen formation, but also finding the right formation for the chosen players.

Regarded as one of the best and most successful managers of all time, [2] [3] in 2013, James Horncastle, while writing for ESPN, described Lippi's coaching style and tactical prowess with the following words: "[His] coaching education is broader than most. He worked before, during and after the revolution brought by Arrigo Sacchi. So think of him as a bridge between the old gioco all’italiana and the new, a blend of the traditional and the modern. His teams knew how to man-mark and to play zone. They invited opponents onto them and counterattacked but could also take the game to whoever they were playing and press them in their half of the pitch. Balance was everything. Lippi's starting XIs were never fixed. They were always in discussion and would be adapted according to the opposition." [2]

In 2016, manager Antonio Conte praised Lippi for his coaching skills and tactical prowess, as well as his ability to communicate with and motivate his players to foster a competitive team spirit and a winning mentality; he also went on to describe his experiences as a player under Lippi with Juventus stating: "I remember when Marcello Lippi arrived from Napoli with great ambition and determination. He was very important, as he was able to transmit to us precisely what he wanted. We hit rock bottom with defeat to Foggia, so Lippi said if we have to lose, we’ll go down fighting. From then on we attacked, pressed high and took the game to the opposition. Lippi was excellent at motivating the squad and passing on his ideas. I think the most important thing for a Coach is to have a clear vision and transmit that clearly to his players. Lippi always had that, as well as a great ability to motivate us, even when we played every three days. That Juventus had four consecutive European Finals and if you think back, that was an exceptional achievement." [36] Fabrizio Ravanelli, who, like Conte, played under Lippi at Juventus, has also praised Lippi, describing him as a manager who excelled at reading the game and motivating his players. [37]

In 2001, former footballer Roberto Baggio, who had a difficult relationship with Lippi, and who was often critical of his former manager, also noted in his autobiography – Una porta nel cielo – that he was impressed, however, by the fact that Lippi also paid great attention to his players' diets, and to their athletic preparation, and always made use of the newest technologies and hired athletic coaches who used the most current training methods. [38] [39]

During his early coaching career, Lippi was also known for smoking Mercator cigars while on the bench during matches. [2]

Career statistics


As of 11 June 2019
Pontedera July 1985June 19863410177029.41
Siena July 1986June 19873451415014.71
Pistoiese July 1987June 19883410159029.41
Carrarese July 1988June 19893410168029.41
Cesena July 1989June 199172132534018.06
Lucchese July 1991June 19924292211021.43
Atalanta July 1992June 19933614913038.89
Napoli July 1993June 199436121311033.33
Juventus July 19948 February 19992441376542056.15
Internazionale July 19992 October 200050251114050.00
Juventus July 2001June 2004161903932055.90
Italy 16 July 200412 July 20062917102058.62
Italy 26 June 200825 June 20102611105042.31
Guangzhou Evergrande 17 May 20122 November 2014126822321065.08
China 22 October 201625 January 20193010911033.33
China 24 May 2019Present2200100.00




Juventus [40]
Guangzhou Evergrande [40]


Italy national team [40]



  • MeritoTecnico1.png
    CONI: Golden Palm of Technical Merit: Palma d'oro al Merito Tecnico: 2006 [53]


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Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Louis van Gaal
UEFA Champions League Winning Manager
Succeeded by
Ottmar Hitzfeld
Preceded by
Luiz Felipe Scolari
FIFA World Cup Winning Manager
Succeeded by
Vicente del Bosque
Preceded by
Kim Ho-kon
AFC Champions League Winning Manager
Succeeded by
Tony Popovic