Wesley Sneijder: Remembering the Sniper’s Greatest Hits as He Announces Retirement at 35

?On Monday, the man many consider to be the most underrated player of his (or perhaps any) generation announced his retirement from football, calling time on a shimmering 17-year career which saw him win a league title in four different European countries. 

While some ostentatiously welcome the fanfare and publicity that comes with such an announcement, calling press conferences and milking their final moment in the sun for all it’s worth, ?Sneijder casually dropped his bombshell into an interview about the director’s box he purchased at his boyhood club Utrecht.

His big outro was one which complements the personality and subtle style of play that endeared him to so many over the years. He never wanted to be the centre of attention. He wanted to perform to the best of his ability, and he wanted to win. 

And if those were indeed the objectives he set out for himself as a promising youth prospect at Ajax in the early 2000s, then he can look back today from the comfort of his Dutch home on a job well done. 

From day one, he learned that standing out from the crowd was never going to be easy. Coming into an Ajax team that contained Rafael van der Vaart and Zlatan Ibrahimovic among a host of other recognisable stars one December, his job was initially to make up the numbers. By April, however, he was established in his own right, starting a Champions League quarter final and finishing the season with five goals in 17 appearances.

A few years ahead of the number ten trend that swept the continent in the later 2000s and into the 2010s, it was clear from the offset that Sneijder had the attributes and intelligence to become a truly world-class attacking midfielder.  


As this was recognised by Ajax boss Ronald Koeman, frequently using the teenager in advanced central positions, his contributions grew season on season, and by the time he left in 2007 – with 180 appearances, 58 goals and an Eredivisie title to show for his efforts – he was ready to kick on and realise that promise at one of the world’s biggest clubs. 

His £25m move to ?Real Madrid didn’t quite go to plan, however, as injuries, management changes and a revolving door approach to recruitment saw him ousted to make room for the Galacticos of Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo two years later. Still, he had furthered his reputation somewhat during this time, averaging a goal every six games for Real, and managing a quarter-final showing at Euro 2008 that saw him named in the team of the tournament. 

As much as he had established himself as a joy to watch on the pitch by now, at 25, it was his move to ?Internazionale that would define the legacy he would leave behind ten years later. 

Jose Mourinho had laid the defensive foundations for a side that could build on their Serie A success and dominate in Europe, with the central defensive pairing of Lucio and Walter Samuel, flanked by Chivu and Maicon and protected by any two of Javier Zanetti, Esteban Cambiasso and Dejan Stankovic. 

In order for his side to truly realise its potential, however, he needed an elite attacking pivot as the final piece in his trademark counter-attacking jigsaw. He needed a player with a low centre of gravity, an eye for the right pass, and the technical ability to create goals and unlock the tightest of defences.

Lo and behold, Wesley Sneijder was signed in 2009, and the campaign that followed is remembered as one of the greatest single seasons by any club in history. 

With Sneijder scoring eight goals and assisting a further 15 – the range of which earning him the affectionate nickname of ‘the Sniper’ – Mourinho’s Inter went on to win an unprecedented treble, culminating in a 2-0 Champions League final win over Bayern Munich,  with Sneijder laying on Diego Milito to score the opener. 

After a five goal showing at the following World Cup, Sneijder was only able to finish fourth in the Ballon d’Or standings that year, something that even third-placed Xavi admitted was a travesty – although Sneijder himself refused to be bitter. 

He would never quite rediscover the heights of his debut season, with injuries gradually gnawing away during the years that would follow, but by the time he left for the relative obscurity of Galatasaray in 2013, he had directly contributed to 57 goals in 116 appearances for Inter and won five major trophies. In six years, they are yet to replace him. 

He took the best of his game to Turkey, winning two more league titles with Galatasaray, before winding things down in a spell with Nice and then in Qatar with Al-Gharafa. 


Now he calls it a day, and while some may point to injuries as the reason he couldn’t sustain a career at the top of his game, his accomplishments, performances and goals while at the top of the mountain (particularly in 2010 mean that there is a generation of football fans to whom just his name brings a nostalgic smile. 

Let’

Wesley Sneijder: Former Real Madrid & Inter Star Retires From Football Aged 35

?Former Netherlands international and Champions League winner Wesley Sneijder has retired from professional football at the age of 35.

The midfielder’s contract with Qatari side Al-Gharafa expired in July and he has decided not to pursue a new club, revealing the decision as he starts a new project with Eredivisie club Utrecht in his homeland.

Sneijder came through Ajax’s fabled academy in the early noughties, making 180 appearances for the club, while winning the 2004 Eredivisie and two KNVB Cups before moving to ?Real Madrid.

While he also won La Liga in 2008 during his two-year spell with Los Blancos, he is best remembered for his time at ?Internazionale, where he was a key player in Jose Mourinho’s treble winners of 2010.

As well as lifting the Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia that year, Sneijder also finished as a runner-up in the World Cup in South Africa with the Netherlands and was awarded the Silver Ball (for the tournament’s second-best player).

Later in his career he also won a two Super Lig titles with Galatasaray in Turkey, taking his tally of league titles to five in four countries, and featured for Nice and Al-Gharafa.

Wesley Sneijder

With 133 caps, Sneijder is also his country’s most capped player of all time.

Upon his retirement from playing, the former playmaker has signed a contract with his local team Utrecht to be part of their ‘business club’ and will watch the team play from a private box this season.

“My love for the city of Utrecht is great and I have a very good relationship with Frans van Seumeren [Utrecht owner]. We have always talked about getting together and now we have put the deed to the word. I look forward to a great season in Stadium Galgenwaard!” he told the club’s official website. 

Let’

Giovanni Trapattoni: Il Trap’s All-Time Best XI

Giovanni Trapattoni is number 5 in 90min’s Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next week.


The most successful manager in Italian football history. Sounds good doesn’t it? 

‘Yeah, it really does.’

And to become the most successful manager in Italian football history, you have to manage some of the best players of all time, right? 

‘Yeah, absolutely.’

So, below is the creme de la creme of Italian football. The best of the very, very best. 

Oh, and Republic of Ireland, Red Bull Salzburg and Vatican City fans, don’t hold your breath, none of your favourite players make this XI. ?Sorry. 


Goalkeeper & Defenders

Claudio Gentile of Juventus

Dino Zoff: Eternally old, but also eternally brilliant. The oldest World Cup winning captain of all time, and won just about every thing there is to win during Giovanni Trapattoni’s hugely successful first spell at Juventus. 

Giuseppe Bergomi: An Inter legend, Bergomi was, to use the kid’s lingo, absolutely lights out dude, during the club’s title winning 1988/89 campaign. During that season he kept it real, man. 

Gaetano Scirea: Lo Stile Juve personified. Quite simply the most important figure in Juventus’ history, the symbol of everything good about the club. Oh, and a bloody great libero too.

Claudio Gentile: This Italian World Cup winner once kicked Diego Maradona so hard he ended up on the moon. 

Paolo Maldini: It’s a Top 50 Greatest Managers of All Time rule that if a manager managed Paolo Maldini, then Paolo Maldini makes it into said manager’s all-time best XI.


Midfielders

Michel Platini (R) of Juventus is fighti

Marco Tardelli: We all know Tardelli for THAT celebration, but Tardelli was much more than a celebration, he was also one of the best Italian midfielders of the 1980s. A prototypical box to box midfielder, the Juventus legend was pretty special on and off the ball.

Lothar Matthaus: Another World Cup winner, this time with Germany, Matthaus probably reckons he’s the best player on this team. He’s not, but was pretty damn good.

Michel Platini: Matthaus isn’t the best player in this team because Michel Platini is. By far. He is THE Giovanni Trapattoni player. The one who won three Ballons d’Or, three Capocannoniere, two Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia, a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, a European Cup and an Intercontinental Cup. 

Roberto Baggio: Trapattoni loved a good trequartista, and Baggio was one of the best of all time. A mesmeric player on his day, he had some of his best moments under the tutelage of Il Trap.


Forwards

Paolo Rossi

Paolo Rossi: After his ban for his alleged involvement in Totonero (betting scandal, in calcio, I know, unheard of), Paolo Rossi came back as one of the best forwards in the world. He was so good in fact, that he won the Ballon d’Or and scored a hat trick against Brazil at a World Cup. If that doesn’t make you good, I don’t know what does. 

Roberto Bettega: One of the many players who hit another level at Juventus when Trapattoni joined, Bettega was a go-to for the legendary manager. Oh, and he might have the coolest name ever. 


Number 50: Marcelo Bielsa: The Argentina Manager’s All Time Best XI

Number 49: Vic Buckingham: The English Manager’s All Time Best XI

Number 48: Claudio Ranieri: The Tinkerman’s All Time Best XI

Number 47: Bill Nicholson: The Tottenham Legend’s All Time Best XI

Number 46: Sven-Goran Eriksson: The Former Lazio Manager’s All Time Best XI

Number 45: Sir Alf Ramsey: The World Cup Winer’s All Time Best XI

Number 44: Antonio Conte: The Fiery Italian’s All-Time Best XI

Number 43: Kenny Dalglish: The King of Anfield’s All-Time Best XI

Number 42: Massimiliano Allegri: The Six-Time Serie A Winner’s All-Time Best XI

Number 41: Sir Bobby Robson: The Legendary Fighter’s All-Time Best XI

Number 40: Luis Aragones: Spain’s Most Important Manager’s All-Time Best XI

Number 39: Herbert Chapman: The Yorkshire Tactician’s All-Time Best XI

Number 38: Carlos Alberto Parreira: The World Cup Hero’s All-Time Best XI

Number 37: Franz Beckenbauer: Der Kaiser’s All-Time Best XI

Number 36: Viktor Maslov: Dedushka’s All-Time Best XI

Number 35: Rafa Benitez: The Likeable Spaniard’s All-Time Best XI

Number 34: Zinedine Zidane: The French Magician’s All-Time Best XI

Number 33: Luiz Felipe Scolari: Picking Big Phil’s All-Time Best XI

Number 32: Jupp Heynckes: The German Master Tactician’s All-Time Best XI

Number 31: Vicente del Bosque: The Moustachioed Mister’s All-Time Best XI

Number 30: Arsene Wenger: The Legendary Arsenal Manager’s All-Time Best XI

Number 29: Udo Lattek: The Inspirational Leader’s All-Time Best XI

Number 28: Jock Stein: Big Jock’s All-Time Best XI

Number 27: Vittorio Pozzo: Il Vecchio Maestro’s All-Time Best XI

Number 26: Jurgen Klopp: Mr Heavy Metal Football’s All-Time Best XI

Number 25: Mario Zagallo: Velho Lobo’s All-Time Best XI

Number 24: Bela Guttmann: The Proto-Mourinho’s All-Time Best XI

Number 23: Valeriy Lobanovskyi: The Soviet Scientist’s All-Time Best XI

Number 22: Louis van Gaal: The Mercurial & Enigmatic Dutch Master’s All-Time Best XI

Number 21: Otto Rehhagel: The ‘King’ Who Conquered Europe’s All-Time Best XI

Number 20: Tele Santana: The Attack-Minded Superstar’s All-Time Best XI

Number 19: Bill Shankly: The Liverpool Godfather’s All-Time Best XI

Number 18: Ottmar Hitzfeld: Der General Who Dominated Germany’s All-Time Best XI

Number 17: Miguel Muñoz: Real Madrid’s Greatest Ever Manager’s All-Time Best XI

Number 16: Fabio Capello: The Serial Serie A Winner’s All-Time Best XI

Number 15: Brian Clough: The Maverick Manager’s All-Time Best XI

Number 14: Nereo Rocco: The Milan Legend’s All-Time Best XI

Number 13: Carlo Ancelotti: The Diva Whisperer’s All-Time Best XI

Number 12: Sir Matt Busby: The Legendary Scot Who Built Modern Man Utd’s All-Time Best XI

Number 11: Marcello Lippi: The Italian World Cup Winner’s All-Time Best XI

Number 10: Bob Paisley: Liverpool’s Humble Genius’ All-Time Best XI

Number 9: Jose Mourinho: The Legendary Portuguese Tactician’s All-Time Best XI

Number 8: Helenio Herrera: The Peerless Pioneer’s All-Time Best XI

Number 7: Ernst Happel: The Austrian Mastermind’s All-Time Best XI

Number 6: ?Johan Cruyff: The Creator of the Barcelona Dream Team’s All-Time Best XI


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Giovanni Trapattoni: A Career of 2 Halves That Defined the Golden Era of Calcio at Juventus

Giovanni Trapattoni is number 5 in 90min’s Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next week.


“Five aggravating years.”

That’s how the final years of Giovanni Trappatoni’s managerial career are remembered.

Five years of a self-defeating style of football that slowly, but surely, turned a large group of supporters away from their national team.

Italian coach of the Republic of Ireland

Crowds dissipated. Hope dissipated. A nation’s love of a sport dissipated. 

So much so, that when the FAI released the statement:

“The Football Association of Ireland, Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli today (September 11) announced that following an amicable meeting this morning, they have parted company by mutual consent.”

The Irish populace rejoiced.

People in Derry shouted: “Glad to see the back of him, hi!”

People in Dublin shouted: “Ak sure he was feckin’ useless anyway!”

People in Cork shouted: *Inaudible high pitched noise* (no one understands the Cork accent). 

The lean years of not beating a single team ranked higher in the FIFA rankings, being thumped 6-1 by Germany, and having to deal with the fact that the national team manager thought every footballer in the country was sh*t, had ended. 

FBL-WC2014-IRL-GER

Hope was restored. 

The crowds in the Aviva Stadium restored. 

Ireland’s love of the beautiful game restored.

In the absence of Trapattoni, an orgastic future awaited Irish football. 

…All of the above isn’t exactly top 50 greatest managers of all time material, eh?

Well…no…not really.

Giovanni Trappatoni’s final five years as a manager aren’t exactly fondly remembered. In fact, neither are the 15-odd years before that. 

The Italian manager didn’t exactly set the world on fire during spells at Bayern Munich, the Italian national team, the Vatican City (yeah, they have a team, and no, Father Romeo Sensini from Father Ted doesn’t play for them), Benfica, VfB Stuttgart, Fiorentina, Cagliari & Red Bull Salzburg.

The only really memorable moment of this period was Trap’s rant to the German media following backlash over his decision to drop two of Bayern’s best players for a game against Schalke 04 (which they inevitably lost). Here it is in all its broken German glory:

[embedded content]

“These players were weak like an empty bottle.” 

What. A. Line. 

So, yeah, the last 20 years of Trap’s managerial career were pretty, well, meh. 

But the Italian’s career is one of two starkly contrasting halves. 

What came before, in the first half of his career, was truly special. 

For the first half of his career was an 18-year period during which Giovanni Trapattoni assembled one of the greatest teams of all time, won the most trophies in Italian football history, and dominated BY FAR the best league the world has ever seen. 

…Top 50 greatest managers of all time material, eh? 

Top five greatest managers of all time, actually. 


Following a hugely successful career at the heart of a two-time European Cup winning AC Milan side (led by Nereo Rocco, who you can read more about ?here), and a less successful managerial baptism at the same club, Trapattoni took over at a surprisingly struggling Juventus in 1976. 

The Fiorentina manager Giovanni Trapattoni...

Juventus weren’t ‘struggling’ because the squad was devoid of talent, or needed a total upheaval from top to bottom. Dino Zoff, Claudio Gentile, Gaetano Scirea, Giuseppe Furino, Marco Tardelli and Roberto Bettega were all at the club; seeing as you’ve heard of them all, you can hazard a guess that they were all pretty good at football.

Rather, La Vecchia Signora simply needed a manager/leader capable of nurturing the aforementioned talents. A manager/leader that would utilise a system to allow them to flourish. A manager/leader that would make them winners. 

They turned to Trap. 

And within a year, it was clear that this was an inspired appointment.

As within a year, Juventus had ousted inner-city rivals Torino by a single point, and claimed their 17th Scudetto. 

One year later, Juventus won their first ever European trophy, beating Athletic Club in the UEFA Cup final.

Trapattoni’s Bianconeri would then round off the 70s with another Scudetto and a Coppa Italia. 

The real Juventus were back. Back atop Serie A. Back with the big boys of European football. Back in the big time. And they were back because of Trap’s astonishing ability to galvanise a group of hugely talented players, who had already won basically every trophy in the history of the world, and inspire them to win even more

But Trapattoni’s influence, while clear in a man-management Brendan Rodgers x2000000 sense, wasn’t wholly evident tactically, as he hadn’t really deviated too far from the catenaccio utilised by Carlo Parola previously. Sure, Trapattoni had focused more on space and the exploitation of said space, but the remnants of catenaccio were still prevalent in each and every game Juventus played in the late 70s.

It wasn’t until the signing of Republic of Ireland hero Liam Brady – later a part of his Irish coaching set-up – from Arsenal in 1980, that Il Trap began to assert himself more in a tactical sense.


With Brady as the club’s new trequartista (number ten for the uninitiated dweebs), the Juventus manager underwent somewhat of a tactical bildungsroman (coming of age for the uninitiated dweebs). 

Having one of the most gifted creative talents in world football opened up the opportunity to utilise new systems; and the system that Trap would settle on, would be Gioco All’italiana.

‘Gioco-what?’ 

Gioco All-italiana. 

Here’s a Oxford/Cambridge/wherever else you can get dictionaries, description: 

Gioco All-italiana (noun) – A tactical system in which each player outfield player – except the trequartista – would have their zone to occupy on the pitch, rarely – if ever – meandering out of position, while the trequartista would have the freedom, as the player capable of creating something from nothing, to roam around the park, finding pockets of space to exploit and break down the opposition’s defence. 


?Teams Managed
?AC Milan (1974-75)
?Juventus (1976-86)
?Inter (1986-91)
?Juventus (1991-94)
?Bayern Munich (1994-95)
?Cagliari (1995-96)
?Bayern Munich (1996-98)
?Fiorentina (1998-2000)
?Italy (2000-04)
?Benfica (2004-05)
?VfB Stuttgart (2005-06)
?Red Bull Salzburg (2006-08)
Republic of Ireland (2008-2013)?
?Vatican City (2010)

The use of Gioco All-italiana would come to define the rest of Trapattoni’s career. 

In using this formation, Trap had invariably (maybe accidentally), pinned all of his hopes for success on world class number tens. And, luckily for him, because Brady was one, it worked. 

In the two years utilising Gioco All’italiana with Brady as the trequartista, Juventus won. A lot. Two Serie A titles in two years to be exact; the second of which was won by a Liam Brady penalty on the last day of the season to pip Fiorentina to the post. 

Unbelievably, however, there was still room for improvement. 

For Juventus, despite all the success and trophies, and medals, and certificate of achievements, hadn’t quite won everything. They’d won a lot; but not everything. 

Michel Platini of Juventus and Emidio Oddi of Roma

So in order to win everything, rather than another tactical upheaval, Trap expressed the need for more talent. An even better number ten. 

And he got it. 

Liam Brady, explicitly the best player at the club at the time, was ousted in favour of Michel Platini; a French trequartista with a number nine’s eye for goal and the passing ability of…Jesus Christ himself. 

Brady was brilliant.

Platini was, somehow, better. 

As the number ten improved, so did Juventus. 


“Trapattoni told me that I was free to do what I wanted.” 

Platini


They won another two Serie A titles, another Coppa Italia, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and even made it to their first European Cup final in ten years (which they lost…because Juventus usually lose European Cup finals) as Platini provided more goals than anyone else in Italy for three consecutive years; winning three consecutive Ballons d’Or in the process. 

Their maiden European Cup triumph would allude Trapattoni and Platini until 1985 when it would be won on the saddest day in La Vecchia Signora’s history, as 39 Juventini were tragically killed prior to kick-off at Heysel Stadium. In the aftermath of the tragedy, what should have been Trapattoni’s crowning achievement paled into irrelevancy, becoming a day remembered of unspeakable pain as opposed to unbridled joy. 

FOOTBALL-HEYSEL DISASTER-PLATINI

A few months later, Il Trap would guide Juventus to their first Intercontinental Cup triumph – beating Argentino Juniors on penalties. 

1986 would be the legendary manager’s final year at Juventus – for the time being – capping off a remarkable decade with his sixth Serie A title.

After leaving Juve, Trapattoni would enjoy a relatively successful spell at Inter, winning the 1989 Serie A title, but without a genuinely world class number ten, the Gioco All’italiana couldn’t vanquish Arrigo Sacchi’s impeccable AC Milan side, or even Diego Maradona’s SSC Napoli. 

So without a trequartista in sight on the Nerazurri side of Milan, he returned to Juventus in 1991, where he would be given one last opportunity to work with a generation defining talent – this time a guy called Roberto Baggio. 

With the most naturally gifted Italian footballer of all time at his disposal, Trapattoni made Juventus, after years of clinging onto a semblance relevancy behind AC Milan, Inter and Napoli, actually full-on relevant again. Baggio, in the free role Platini and Brady were given by the manager previously, flourished, helping Juventus to a UEFA Cup triumph in 1993, scoring two goals in the final.


If Giovanni Trapattoni’s managerial career had ended the moment Il Divin Codino lifted the UEFA Cup trophy above his head, Trap might be even higher in our list of greatest managers of all time. But, as you know, it didn’t.

Il Trap would go on to manage for the guts of another 20 years, winning infrequently and never having the opportunity to manage world class number tens at club level ever again. 

Still, that shouldn’t detract from the fact that the first half of his career in management was remarkable. Truly remarkable. 

He dominated in a way no other manager has ever done in the most undeniably competitive league the world has ever seen. 

That ain’t half bad, eh? 


Number 50: Marcelo Bielsa – El Loco’s Journey From Argentina to Footballing Immortality in Europe

Number 49: Vic Buckingham – How an Englishman Discovered Johan Cruyff & Pioneered Total Football

Number 48: Claudio Ranieri: A Ridiculed Tinkerman Who Masterminded One of Football’s Greatest Ever Achievements

Number 47: Bill Nicholson: Mr Tottenham Hotspur, the First Double Winning Manager of the 20th Century

Number 46: Sven-Goran Eriksson: The Scudetto Winning Shagger Who Never Solved the Lampard-Gerrard Conundrum

Number 45: Sir Alf Ramsey: The Man Behind the ‘Wingless Wonders’ & England’s Sole World Cup Triumph

Number 44: Antonio Conte: An Astute Tactician Whose Perfectionist Philosophy Reinvented the 3-5-2 Wheel

Number 43: Kenny Dalglish: The Beacon of Light in Liverpool’s Darkest Hour

Number 42: Massimiliano Allegri: The Masterful Tactician Who Won Serie A Five Times in a Row

Number 41: Sir Bobby Robson: A Footballing Colossus Whose Fighting Spirit Ensured an Immortal Legacy

Number 40: Luis Aragones: Spain’s Most Important Manager, the Atleti Rock and the Modern Father of Tiki-Taka

Number 39: Herbert Chapman: One of Football’s Great Innovators & Mastermind Behind the ‘W-M’ Formation

Number 38: Carlos Alberto Parreira: The International Specialist Who Never Shied Away From a Challenge

Number 37: Franz Beckenbauer: The German Giant Whose Playing Career Overshadowed His Managerial Genius

Number 36: Viktor Maslov: Soviet Pioneer of the 4-4-2 & the Innovator of Pressing

Number 35: Rafa Benitez: The Conquerer of La Liga Who Masterminded That Comeback in Istanbul

Number 34: Zinedine Zidane: Cataloguing the Frenchman’s Transition From Midfield Magician to Managerial Maestro

Number 33: Luiz Felipe Scolari: How the Enigmatic ‘Big Phil’ Succeeded as Much as He Failed on the Big Stage

Number 32: Jupp Heynckes: The Legendary Manager Who Masterminded ‘the Greatest Bayern Side Ever’

Number 31: Vicente del Bosque: The Unluckiest Manager in the World Who Led Spain to Immortality

Number 30: Arsene Wenger: A Pioneering Who Became Invincible at Arsenal

Number 29: Udo Lattek: The Bundesliga Icon Who Shattered European Records

Number 28: Jock Stein: The Man Who Guided Celtic to Historic Heights & Mentored Sir Alex Ferguson

Number 27: Vittorio Pozzo: Metodo, Mussolini, Meazza & the Difficult Memory of a Two-Time World Cup Winner

Number 26: Jurgen Klopp: The Early Years at Mainz 05 Where He Sealed His ‘Greatest Achievement’

Number 25:Mario Zagallo: Habitual World Cup Winner & Sculptor of Brazil’s Joga Bonito Era

Number 24: Bela Guttmann: The Dance Instructor Who Changed Football Forever (and Managed…Just Everyone)

Number 23: Valeriy Lobanovskyi: The Scientist Who Dominated Football in the Soviet Union

Number 22: Louis van Gaal: The Stubborn Master Who Won 15 Major Trophies at 4 of the World’s Greatest Clubs

Number 21: Otto Rehhagel: The ‘King’ Who Turned 150/1 Greek Outsiders into Champions of Europe

Number 20: Tele Santana: The ‘Joga Bonito’ Icon Who Helped Brazil Rediscover Their Love of Football

Number 19: Bill Shankly: The Innovative Motivator Who Rebuilt Liverpool From the Ground Up

Number 18: Ottmar Hitzfeld: The Manager Who Won Absolutely Everything at Germany’s 2 Biggest Clubs

Number 17: Miguel Muñoz: The Man Who Told Alfredo Di Stefano to F*ck Off & Led the Ye-Ye’s to European Glory

Number 16: Fabio Capello: Italy’s Cosmopolitan Disciplinarian Who Built on a Generation-Defining AC Milan

Number 15: Brian Clough: He Wasn’t the Best Manager in the Business, But He Was in the Top 1

Number 14: Nereo Rocco: ‘El Paron’, the Pioneer of Catenaccio & Forgotten Great of Italian Football

Number 13: Carlo Ancelotti: Football’s Most Loveable Eyebrow in the Words of His Players

Number 12: Sir Matt Busby: The Man Who Built the Modern Manchester United

Number 11: Marcello Lippi: Montecristo Cigars, Neapolitan Dreams, Scudetti in Turin & Gli Azzurri’s World Cup

Number 10: Bob Paisley: The Understated Tactician Who Conquered All of Europe With Liverpool

Number 9: Jose Mourinho: The ‘Special One’ Who Shattered Records All Over Europe

Number 8: Helenio Herrera: The Innovator Who Single-Handedly Changed the Beautiful Game

Number 7: Ernst Happel: The ‘Weird Man’ Who Conquered European Football and Helped Shape the Modern Game

Number 6: ?Johan Cruyff: The Visionary Who Became the Most Important Man in the History of Football


Let’

Romelu Lukaku Returns to Goalscoring Form With a Bang After Netting Four on Inter Debut

?Romelu Lukaku scored four goals on his Inter bow in a 8-0 trouncing of Italian Serie D side Virtus Bergamo, as the former Manchester United striker got his Nerazzurri career off to a flying start.

His move to Italy was one of the most drawn out sagas of the summer window, with the Serie A heavyweights submitting a variety of offers to the Red Devils in a bid to land the Belgian, before finally matching the club’s valuation and sealing the deal for around €80m.


Taking up the illustrious number nine shirt in Milan, ?Lukaku has gone straight into pre-season action with his new employers and got his ?Inter career off the mark with four goals in his debut during the low-key friendly. The ?Serie A giants were taking on Virtus Bergamo, who are in fact owned by Inter, at the Italian minnows’ Stadio Carillo Pesenti Pigna ground.

Antonio Conte fielded a much changed line-up from his expected starting XI, with Sebastiano Esposito and Matias Vecino each bagging a brace alongside Lukaku’s goals, as confirmed on their ?official website.

While the striker has already announced himself to the Inter faithful, his new manager was quick to quell expectation, insisting that Lukaku has plenty of work to do in order to be fit and ready for the coming Serie A campaign.

“Obviously, Lukaku also needs to do a lot of work in training, both physically and on tactics,” Conte said, via ?Manchester Evening News. “He is an excellent purchase and we are very happy. He wants to work really hard to be ready as soon as possible.”


With Lukaku’s pre-season just beginning, having not featured at all during United’s during the summer, he has until August 26 to get up to speed as Inter kick off the 2019/20 season against newly-promoted Lecce at San Siro.

Let’