Portrait of an iconic manager – Marcello Lippi

 Marcello Lippi is a managerial legend of modern football. At the end of his playing career, during which the Italian operated as a defender and had over a decade-long spell with Sampdoria, he went into management and proved extremely successful.

Tactics and Man-management

Lippi is a tactically acute manager. His ability to plan for different kinds of opposition can be gauged from his team formations. In the four Champions League finals that he guided Juventus to, Lippi used a 4-3-3, a diamond 4-4-2, a 4-5-1 as well as a flat 4-4-2. His teams were solid at the back and were extremely hard to score against.

Lippi is also a brilliant man manager, knowing how to get the best out of his men and to get them to gel together.

Best Spell as a manager

His first stint at Juventus that lasted five years from 1994 until 1999 has to be Lippi’s best spell as manager. During that period he guided the Old Lady to three League titles, one Coppa Italia, two Supercoppa Italianas, one European Super Cup and Intercontinental each as well as the 1996 Champions League.

Lippi had guided the Old Lady to three successive Champions League finals from 1996 to 1998, but they only managed to win the first one.

Greatest players in his legendary teams

Lippi has worked with some of the greatest Italian players of modern era. Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Andrea Pirlo, Alessandro Del Piero, Gainluca Vialli and Ciro Ferrara have all played under Lippi. At Juventus the Italian also worked with French legends Didier Deschamps and Zinedine Zidane.

Legacy

He will always be revered by the Juventus football fans for the five Serie A titles he won for them, but more importantly their second Champions League trophy that came after a 16-year wait. He reached three more Champions League finals but couldn’t add to the 1996 crown.

However, for the broader Italian fans, Lippi will always be fondly remembered as the man who won the Azzurri their fourth World Cup as they put in a splendid showing at the 2006 edition in Germany.

Place amongst greats

Lippi remains one of only two managers – the other being Vicente del Bosuqe – to have won a FIFA World Cup as well as the UEFA Champions League. He is also the only manager in world football to have also added the AFC Champions League to those two trophies. The fact that he ended Juventus’ 16-year long wait for a Champions League and Italy’s 24-year long wait for a World Cup places him among the 20 all-time best managers in football.

Honours:

Juventus

Serie A: 1994–95, 1996–97, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03

Coppa Italia: 1994–95; Runners-up: 2001–02, 2003–04

Supercoppa Italiana: 1995, 1997, 2002, 2003

UEFA Champions League: 1995–96

European Supercup: 1996

Intercontinental Cup: 1996

Guangzhou Evergrande

Chinese Super League: 2012, 2013, 2014

Chinese FA Cup: 2012

AFC Champions League: 2013

Italy

FIFA World Cup: 2006