Giovanni Trapattoni (born 17 March 1939), known as "[Il] Trap", is an Italian football coach and former player, considered the most successful club coach in the history of Serie A.
Trapattoni is currently the manager of the Republic of Ireland national team. He also coached the Italian national team and throughout Europe. He is also the only manager to have won all UEFA club competitions and the Intercontinental Cup. He achieved this with Juventus over his two spells with the club.
One of the most celebrated managers in football history, Trapattoni is one of only two coaches, alongside the Austrian Ernst Happel, to have won the league title in four different countries (Italy, Germany, Portugal, and Austria). Alongside the German Udo Lattek, he is the only coach to have won all three major European club titles. Also, he is the only one to have won all UEFA club competitions and the World Club title, also having the record of UEFA Cup wins (three).
Born in Cusano Milanino near Milan, Trapattoni had a successful career as a player with Milan in the 1960s and early 1970s. Playing primarily as a defender and defensive midfielder with the main task of passing the ball to more creative players such as Giovanni Lodetti and Gianni Rivera, he also played for the Italian national team, mostly as centre back with notable marking skills, appearing at the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile.
After taking a break from the national team, Trapattoni thought he could settle with a mid-table team for one last season instead of being at one club all his life, subsequently moving to Varese and, after a successful season with them, retired from professional football and embarked on a highly successful managerial career two years later.
Trapattoni began coaching at Milan as a youth team coach, before becoming caretaker coach. He was appointed first team coach in 1975. In 1976, he moved on to Italian giants Juventus, where he won all UEFA club competitions (European record) and, ten years later, went to Internazionale, being very successful with both sides. He returned to Juventus in 1991 before taking his first job outside Italy, as coach of Bayern Munich in 1994, and then from 1996 to 1998.
He also coached Cagliari (1994–95) and Fiorentina (1998 to 2000, leading them to a UEFA Champions League place).
In July 2000, Trapattoni took charge of the Italian national team after the resignation of Dino Zoff. He led the team to the 2002 FIFA World Cup. In that tournament, after winning its first match against Ecuador, Italys form dropped and they controversially lost to Croatia. They drew with Mexico, with Alessandro Del Piero scoring a late equalizer. In the second round, Italy were eliminated by South Korea, in a controversial match that saw Italy lead for most of the game, concede an equaliser two minutes from full time, and lose in extra-time with Ahn Jung-Hwan scoring a golden goal that sealed their fate.
At the 2004 European Championship, Italy once again failed to impress. They drew with both Denmark and Sweden, leading to an unexpected early exit. On 25 June 2004, Marcello Lippi was named as Trapattonis replacement, as his contract ran out on 15 July 2004.
On 5 July 2004, Trapattoni was named as new coach of Portuguese League club Sport Lisboa e Benfica, which he led to win the 2005 league, the first in 11 years, and also to the Portuguese Cup final (which Benfica lost to Vitória de Setúbal). He resigned after the 2005 season, saying he wanted to be closer to his family (in the north of Italy).
Trapattoni returned to management in the German Bundesliga in the summer of 2005, by signing at VfB Stuttgart, with much hype about his appointment. However, during his 20 games at the helm, Stuttgart produced poor results. Denmark internationals Jon Dahl Tomasson and Jesper Grønkjær openly criticized their coach, claiming he was afraid to attack. Trapattoni responded by dropping both players to the bench. With the atmosphere in the team worsening, he was sacked after just seven months, on 9 February 2006, reportedly for "not fulfilling the ambitions of the club". He was replaced as manager by Armin Veh.
Red Bull Salzburg
In May 2006, Red Bull Salzburg announced it had signed Trapattoni as its new director of football, along with one of his former players, Lothar Matthäus, as coach. Trapattoni initially cast doubt on this report, claiming he had not signed any contract. But three days later, both he and Matthäus signed and made their hirings official. After their successful season of 2006–07, the clubs board of directors unanimously decided to dismiss Matthäus, making Thorsten Fink Trapattonis new assistant.
On 11 February 2008, Trapattoni "agreed in principle" to take over the Irish managers job,but finished the season with Red Bull before taking up the Irish position on 1 May. Former Ireland midfielder Liam Brady was expected to be part of the Italians backroom staff, while Marco Tardelli was confirmed as Trapattoni assistant manager. Trapattoni signed Brady back in 1980 for Juventus from Arsenal for just over £500,000.
Red Bull Salzburg confirmed, on 13 February 2008, that at the end of the 2007–08 season, Trapattoni would be leaving the club to take over as the Republic of Ireland manager.
Trapattoni first game in charge, a friendly against Serbia on 24 May 2008, ended in a 1–1 draw. His second, another friendly, against Colombia five days later, meant his first victory with the national side, 1–0. This was followed by a 1–1 draw with Norway, his first competitive win against Georgia and a draw with Montengro in the 2010 World Cup qualifying stage. He then went on to say that Paul McShane was one of the most talented footballers he had ever seen, comparing him to a young Fabio Cannavaro.
Trapattoni with Marco Tardelli during his time as Ireland coach
Trapattoni first defeat came in a friendly against Poland on 19 November 2008, a 3–2 loss at Croke Park.He also managed to claim a 1–1 away draw against 2006 FIFA World Cup champions Italy, that he had managed himself from 2000 to 2004, thanks to a late equaliser from Robbie Keane. He finished the qualifying campaign unbeaten, becoming only the third Irish manager to do so, qualifying for a playoff place for the 2010 World Cup.
In September 2009, he signed a new contract with Ireland that would have seen him continue as manager until the 2012 European Championships.In the first leg of the World Cup playoff in Croke Park on 14 November 2009, France won 1–0 with a goal by Nicolas Anelka.In the second leg in Paris, on 18 November 2009, a goal from Robbie Keane levelled the aggregate scores at 1–1 in the first half. In extra time, however, a William Gallas equaliser put France through 2–1 on aggregate. Replays of the French goal showed that Thierry Henry had twice used his hand to control the ball before crossing for Gallas to head home.
Manuela Spinelli is Trapattoni interpreter. Because she speaks both Italian and English, she is with him for most interviews.
In August 2010, Trapattoni was submitted to hospital in Dublin, one day before Irelands friendly with Argentina. It was initially believed that shellfish he ate before arriving in the country was to blame for him feeling unwell. Trap underwent surgery in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin on 11 August. He missed the Argentina game due to his surgery. In January 2011, reports in the Italian media, claimed that Trapattoni was at home recovering from a mild stroke he suffered during surgery on 28 December 2010. The reports claimed that the stroke had caused partial paralysis down the right side of his body. In a statement released through the FAI, Trapattoni said that while he did have scheduled surgery in Italy over Christmas, he had not suffered a stroke.
Trapattoni is very popular in Italy also due to his peculiar style, including original press conference speeches often featuring language mistakes and trademark quotes, one of the most famous being "non dire gatto se non l hai nel sacco ("do not say cat until you have got it in the bag"). Such approach, coupled with his difficulties with the local language, won him a significant amount of popularity also in Germany during his spell at FC Bayern Munich; about this period, it is worth to mention his most famous press conference while at the helm of the Bavarians, during which he soundingly attacked many of his player, including Thomas Strunz (whose last name incidentally resembles an Italian swear word) in a speech full of mistakes and neologisms, most famously using "Ich habe fertig" (roughly translatable as "I am finished") and "Schwach wie eine Flasche leer" ("weak like a bottle empty").
Trapattoni is also popular for his two-fingered whistle he regularly performs to capture the attention of his players during games.Trapattoni also used to bring a bottle of holy water during all the 2002 FIFA World Cup games in charge of the Italian national team.
One of the most celebrated managers in football history, Trapattoni is one of only two coaches, alongside the Austrian Ernst Happel, to have won the league title in four different countries (Italy, Germany, Portugal, and Austria) and the fourth coach with the most international competitions for clubs won in the world — second in Europe — with seven titles in eight finals, including the Intercontinental Cup final (mainly with Juventus). Alongside the German Udo Lattek, he is the only coach to have won all three major European club titles. Also, he is the only one to have won all UEFA club competitions and the World Club title, also having the record of UEFA Cup wins (three).