Unless the situation turns around, Marseille will discover an authentic character with Gennaro Gattuso, former AC Milan and Italy midfielder, who aims to relaunch his coaching career.
Christophe Galtier, Igor Tudor, Julen Lopetegui… Many coaches have been cited in the orbit of OM to succeed Marcelino, who resigned at the beginning of last week. Ultimately, it is the Italian Gennaro Gattuso who should win the jackpot, according to Foot Mercato, and try to revive an OM in full crisis on the field… and especially off it. A figure in Milan and in the Italian team, a strong character but a coach who, despite experiences in Milan and Naples, still has a lot to prove. Discovery of the probable future coach of Olympique de Marseille, who has long been believed to be close to Olympique… Lyonnais.
A track record as long as an arm…
A world champion in Marseille. Like the new Lyon coach, Fabio Grosso, Gennaro Gattuso lifted football’s most prestigious trophy… at the expense of France in the final, in 2006. He was one of the captains of the Italian team (73 caps, 1 goal), the perfect counterpart to maestro Andrea Pirlo, his club teammate. Because Gattuso is first and foremost an AC Milan legend.
SEE ALSO – Gattuso’s best at AC Milan (1999-2012)
Trained at the modest Perugia club, “Rino” Gattuso shone in the Rossonero jersey between 1999 and 2012. He played 468 matches there (7th most capped player) and collected ten trophies, including two Serie A (2004 and 2011 ) and two Champions Leagues (2003 and 2007). One of Carlo Ancelotti’s talismans. With his rich playing career, Gattuso will have no trouble gaining respect in the Marseille locker room.
…but a coaching career of some sort
It is also, perhaps, his aura as a former player that Gattuso will capitalize on at OM. Because so far, his time on the bench has not left only good memories. We move on to his beginnings as a player-coach in Sion, in 2013, or his very short experiences in Palermo (Italy), at OFI Crete (Greece) and his two seasons in Pisa, with a rise to Serie B (D2 Italian) then relegation with the second best defense in the championship and the worst attack.
He returned to “his” club, AC Milan, in May 2017, to coach the under-19s. Six months later, he took charge of the first team, then in crisis. He raised the bar and left the Rossoneri one point away from the Champions League in May 2019, before leaving by mutual agreement, aware of having been good without being exceptional. In Naples (December 2019 – May 2021), he also plays the firefighter on duty, restructuring the defense. Frustrations in Serie A and Europe are eased by victory in the 2020 Italian Cup, the club’s first trophy in six years and, so far, their only title as manager.
Gennaro Gattuso won the Italian Cup with Napoli in 2020. Andrea Staccioli/ Insidefoto / Panoramic
Finally, more recently, there was this failure in Valencia, where the influence of agent Jorge Mendes, who has just placed him in Marseille, is very criticized. 9th in La Liga in 2022, the Spanish club was in 14th place in January 2023, when Gattuso gave up the apron. “It is clear that I am responsible», he assumed after a defeat against Valladolid (1-0), despite some sparks in the game. The Che club finally finished in a modest 16th place to remain in the elite.
A strong character
It would be a shame to reduce footballer and coach Gennaro Gattuso to his joker. But his nickname says it all. At AC Milan, he was “Ringhio”, or “growl” in French. If Pirlo embodied the beauty of the playmaker, Gattuso was the defensive guarantee, the ball scratcher, the ankle tickler. An aggressiveness that sometimes went beyond the limits.
In February 2011, he was guilty of headbutting Joe Jordan, assistant coach of Tottenham, after a Champions League match. The Milanese claims to have been provoked. Various media report racist comments from Jordan (“dirty Italian bastard»). «I lost control, there’s no excuse for that», However recognizes Gattuso, who receives a four-match suspension from UEFA.
Scotland, the Queen and Sean Connery
No, Gennaro Gattuso did not spend his entire career at AC Milan. Before that, there was a short but intense stint at Glasgow Rangers, between 1997 and 1998. With a catch: Gattuso, a Catholic, played in a club with Protestant roots. “Everyone told me to take off my cross in the locker room“, confided the Italian years later. Faithful to his volcanic character, the native of the Calbre region, in the very south of Italy, says he regularly shot a balloon in the direction of photos of Queen Elizabeth II, whose death in 2022 particularly moved supporters of the Rangers.
In Glasgow, Gattuso also met actor Sean Connery, a Rangers supporter who is close to the club’s former owner, David Murray. At the end of the summer of 1998, the player was getting closer to a departure. “When I decided to leave the club, Sean Connery tried to object, but I told him to mind his own business“, Gattuso said. James Bond or not, “Rino” does as he pleases.
Gennaro Gattuso in December 2020 when he was coaching Napoli. Cesare Purini / Inside / Panoramic
He suffers from an eye disease
While still playing for AC Milan, Gennaro Gattuso began suffering from ocular myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease. “I have suffered from it for ten years», shared the Italian in December 2020, at the microphone of Sky Sport Italia . Then coach of Naples, he wore a huge bandage hiding his right eye. “This is the third time this has hit me. I see double, it’s hard to bear, only a fool like me can do it», laughed Gattuso, who emphasized in June 2022 that the disease was “under control», in the columns of Corriere della Sera .
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