There are few managers in world football who boast of a CV as glowing as Giovanni Trapattoni’s. The Italian remains one of the very few to have won the league title across four European countries and he did it all with an unshakeable conviction in his methods.
Trapattoni, a Milan native, spent almost his entire playing career with AC Milan for whom he featured mostly in defence and occasionally took up responsibilities in defensive midfield. Renowned for his defensive prowess, Trapattoni went on to win two league titles and as many European Cups during his time at the San Siro.
In fact, he was a star of the Milan team that went on to defeat Benfica in the final of the 1962/63 European Cup final, where Trapattoni had the unenviable task of keeping the Portuguese star Eusebio in check. And he did so admirably as Milan went on to win the game 2-1 and, in the process, became the first Italian club to be crowned the champions of Europe. He later added another European Cup to his cabinet in the 1967/68 campaign.
At the end of his playing career, Trapattoni began his management career by taking charge of the youth outfit of AC Milan in 1972 before being promoted to the first team after a couple of years. However, the Italian found his greatest managerial success during his ten-year stint at the helm of Juventus. His spell at the Old Lady began in 1976 and before it came to an end in 1986, Trapattoni had effectively established a dynasty in Serie A.
The former defender’s reign delivered numerous silverware to the Old Lady as they became Italian champions six times, but most significantly, he helped them win the coveted European Cup for the first time in the club’s history in the 1984/85 season. In fact, so successful was he at the Bianconeri that he won them at least one trophy every year of his ten-year stint, except one.
He subsequently moved to Inter Milan for the next five years and won the Nerazzurri three trophies. Trapattoni’s later career was nomadic, but one thing that remained consistent throughout was his ability to win titles.
Trapattoni had two separate spells at German giants Bayern Munich and during his three years at the club, three trophies were won. At Benfica, the Italian won the Portuguese club the league title in the 2004/05 season.
Considered a disciple of Nereo Rocco, the man considered the pioneer of catenaccio, Trapattoni remained wedded to his ways all throughout his long career. And it is testament to his ability and knowhow that he was able to replicate the same system so effectively and successfully everywhere he went.
Serie A (6): 1976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1983–84, 1985–86
Coppa Italia: 1978–79, 1982–83
European Cup: 1984–85
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1984
UEFA Cup: 1976–77, 1992–93
European Super Cup: 1984
Intercontinental Cup: 1985
Serie A: 1988–89
Supercoppa Italiana: 1989
UEFA Cup: 1990–91
Primeira Liga: 2004–05
Red Bull Salzburg
Austrian Bundesliga: 2006–07
Republic of Ireland
Nations Cup: 2011