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Gennaro Gattuso

Gennaro Gattuso
Gennaro Gattuso

Gennaro Ivan “Rino” Gattuso, (Born 9 January 1978) is an Italian football manager in charge of Pisa and a former footballer.As a player, he mainly played in the centre as a defensive midfielder, although he was also capable of playing on the wing. Although he initially played for smaller Italian clubs Perugia and Salernitana, as well as Scottish club Rangers. He is mostly remembered for his time with Milan in Serie A, where he won the Champions League, in 2002–03 and 2006–07, the Coppa Italia in 2002–03, and also the Serie A title in 2003–04 and 2010–11. In addition to these titles, he also won two Italian Supercups, two UEFA Supercups, and a FIFA Club World Cup. He represented the Italy national football team at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Three FIFA World Cups, two UEFA European Championships, and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Gattuso’s talismanic midfield partnership with playmaker Andrea Pirlo, both at club and international level, played a key role in Italy’s World Cup victory in 2006, as well as Milan’s domestic, European, and international successes during the mid-2000s. Despite not being blessed with notable technical skills, Gattuso’s pace, strength, and work-rate complemented and supported Pirlo’s composed, creative playing style, while his energy, aggression, and hard-tackling style of play enabled him to make a name for himself as one of the best players in the world in his position. In addition to his ball-winning abilities, Gattuso was also renowned for his competitive nature and leadership qualities throughout his career, often wearing the captain’s armband for Milan following Paolo Maldini’s retirement.

Early Career

Gattuso was born in Corigliano Calabro, Italy. He started his career with Umbrian side Perugia, but transferred in July 1997, at the age of 19, to the Scottish team Rangers.

Walter Smith, who brought Gattuso to Glasgow, left the club in 1998. Smith’s successor, Dick Advocaat, did not favour Gattuso and, after being played out-of-position as a right-back, the Italian was sold in October 1998 to then recently promoted Serie A club Salernitana for £4 million. Despite his good performances, it was not enough to prevent the relegation of his side.

Milan

Gattuso was bought by Milan for €8 million from Salernitana in the summer of 1999. He made his debut with the club on 15 September 1999, in a 0–0 away draw with Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League. He soon broke into the starting line-up that season, also playing his first Milan-derby match on 24 October 1999. In which he stood out and immediately endeared himself with the Milan fans for the maturity and tenacity he demonstrated when facing Inter striker Ronaldo. Who was widely regarded as the best player in the world at the time.

During his time at the club, Gattuso’s work-rate and versatility as a ball-winner later allowed Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti to place midfield playmaker Andrea Pirlo alongside him in a more creative, attacking position, while Gattuso supported him in a deeper role, as a defensive midfielder. This midfield partnership was pivotal to Milan’s domestic and international successes under Ancelotti, which included the Coppa Italia, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup in 2003, as well as the Serie A title and the Supercoppa Italiana in 2004. Gattuso signed a contract extension with Milan in June 2003 and in October 2004. During this period, Gattuso also reached the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final with Milan, only to be defeated by Liverpool on penalties, after initially leading 3–0 at half-time.

On 22 August 2009, he made his 400th appearance with Milan in the opening match of the 2009–10 Serie A season against Siena, wearing the captain’s armband. It was confirmed by Milan on 14 December 2009 that Gattuso would remain a Milan player until 30 June 2012, after adding one more year to his current contract.

On 11 May 2012, Gattuso confirmed that he would not renew his contract with the club which was due to expire on 30 June, and that he would be leaving Milan at the end of the season.

Sion

On 15 June 2012, after being released by Milan, Gattuso joined Swiss club Sion. He had been linked with a deal to join former club Rangers in Scotland, but the deal fell through because of the club’s financial difficulties. On 25 February 2013, Gattuso was named as the new manager of Sion after manager Víctor Muñoz was demoted to a scouting role after a 4–0 defeat by Thun in the Swiss Super League.

International

Gattuso was capped 73 times for his country and played in the 2000 Summer Olympics, the 2002 World Cup, Euro 2004, the 2006 World Cup, Euro 2008, the 2009 Confederations Cup, and the 2010 World Cup. He made his senior international debut under Dino Zoff, at the age of 22, in a 1–0 friendly home victory over Sweden, on 23 February 2000. He made his first start for Italy later that year, under Giovanni Trapattoni, on 15 November, scoring the only goal in a 1–0 friendly home victory over England with a powerful strike from outside the area; this was his first and only goal for Italy.

Gattuso was one of the key players in Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning team under Marcello Lippi; he won the Man of the Match award in a 3–0 victory in the quarter-finals of the tournament, against Ukraine. He and Andrea Pirlo formed a formidable partnership in the heart of midfield. With Gattuso supporting Pirlo’s creative playmaking duties with his work-rate and ability to break down possession. While Pirlo finished as one of the top assist providers in the tournament, Gattuso won 31 challenges and completed 351 passes out of the 392 he attempted. He also provided an assist during the tournament. Helping to set up Filippo Inzaghi’s goal in a 2–0 win over the Czech Republic in Italy’s final group match of the tournament on 22 June. Gattuso achieved a measure of notoriety for his post-match celebrations after Italy won the World Cup final on penalties against France on 9 July, during which he removed his shorts and ran around the pitch in his underwear. Until FIFA officials forced him to cover up. He was named to the tournament’s All Star Team for his performances.

Under Roberto Donadoni at Euro 2008, Gattuso played in the matches against Netherlands (0–3 loss) and France (2–0 win) in the group stage, but was suspended for the quarter final against Spain along with Andrea Pirlo. Where Italy went on to lose 4–2 in the ensuing penalty shoot-out after a 0–0 draw.

In June 2010, he announced that he would retire from international duty after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where he participated in his nation’s final group match against Slovakia – his last game for the national side, as Italy suffered a first round elimination following a 3–2 defeat.

Honours

Player

Perugia Youth

Trofeo Giacinto Facchetti: 1995–96

Milan

Serie A: 2003–04, 2010–11

Coppa Italia: 2002–03

Supercoppa Italiana: 2004, 2011

UEFA Champions League: 2002–03, 2006–07

UEFA Super Cup: 2003, 2007

FIFA Club World Cup: 2007

Italy

FIFA World Cup: 2006

Italy U21

UEFA Under-21 European Championship: 2000

Individual

FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2006

Premio Nazionale Carriera Esemplare “Gaetano Scirea”: 2012

FIFPro World XI: Nominee 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

A.C. Milan Hall of Fame

Tags: Milan, Euro-2008, World-Cup-2010, World-Cup-2006, Italy, Serie-A, Champiosn-League, Super-Cup, Salernitana, Rangers, Hall-of-Fame, Italy-Under-21, Suppercoppa-Italiana, Perugia

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