Ricorrenze Azzurre

Best birthday wishes to Marcello Lippi and Christian Panucci!

The World Cup-winning Head Coach turns 74, while the former full-back is 49 today

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Best birthday wishes to Marcello Lippi and Christian Panucci!

Marcello Lippi was born in Viareggio (Lucca) on 12 April 1948. He enjoyed a long spell in the professional game as a player, with his career starting out with a loan spell at Savona (1969/70), continuing at Sampdoria (nine seasons from 1970 to 1979, seven of which were in Serie A) and Pistoiese, and concluding at Lucchese in the early 1980s.

After hanging up his playing boots, he became a coach. He first became part of the Sampdoria youth setup, while stints at Pontedera, Siena, Pistoiese and Carrarese then followed. In 1989/90, he took charge of Serie A side Cesena, where he would remain until 1991. He then moved to Lucchese, Atalanta and Napoli, qualifying for the UEFA Cup with the latter. His success with the Partenopei attracted the attentions of Juventus, who he joined ahead of the 1994/95 season. He remained at the Bianconeri for five seasons and won the Scudetto (x3), the Coppa Italia (x1), the Supercoppa Italiana (x2) and a European treble consisting of the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup in 1996. After a brief spell at Inter, he returned to Juventus in 2001, leading them to two more league titles and Supercoppe Italiane and also reaching the Champions League final, which they lost on penalties to AC Milan.

On 16 July 2004, he became the Italy Head Coach, replacing Giovanni Trapattoni. He then led the Azzurri to their fourth World Cup triumph, in Germany in 2006. He then left the role but returned two years later for a second spell, which came to an end after the unfortunate World Cup in South Africa. In total, he was in charge for 56 Italy matches, winning 28 and drawing 21 of these.  

On 17 May 2012, he became the coach of Guangzhou Evergrande, where he won the Chinese Super League, the Chinese FA Cup and the AFC Champions League. He then became Head Coach of the Chinese National Team, a role he left in 2019.

Marcello Lippi is one of the stars of the Italian Football Hall of Fame, which he was inducted into in 2011 (category: Italian Coach).

Christian Panucci was born in Savona on 12 April 1973. After coming through the youth ranks of Genoa, who he made his Serie A debut for in 1991/92, he moved to AC Milan at the age of 20. While with the Rossoneri, he won six trophies across three years. After becoming the first Italian player to wear the Real Madrid shirt, he went on to play for Inter, Chelsea, Monaco, Roma and Parma.

As for his international career, he became an European Under-21 Champion on two occasions in 1994 and 1996, with his senior debut coming on 7 September 1994, when Arrigo Sacchi’s Italy took on Slovenia away from home. When Giovanni Trapattoni was at the helm, Panucci took part in the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan and the 2004 European Championship in Portugal. After a three-year spell away from the National Team, he returned to the Azzurri setup aged 34 in 2007. Roberto Donadoni then named him in his Euro 2008 squad in Austria and Switzerland.

He played as a starter during the tournament and scored the equalising goal as the Azzurri drew with Romania on 13 June. In doing so, he became the National Team’s oldest-ever goalscorer at the time (35 years, two months and one day), a record he held until Quagliarella found the net on 23 March 2019 (36 years and 54 days). In total, Panucci bagged four goals in 57 Azzurri appearances.