Best Italian Managers of All Time (Part 3)


As a strategist, Vittorio Pozzo is an innovator, developing the Metodo – a 2-3-2-3 shape that was seen as an inspiration to the modern 4-3-3 – which allowed two inside forwards to stay between the half-backs and the front line. And, when it came to results, Pozzo was just as successful in using his favoured system to lead the Italy national team to their first ever piece of international silverware—the 1934 World Cup. He then repeated the success in 1938 with winning the title over the giants of France, Brazil and Hungary.


Catenaccio contributed to Italian football to dominate in Europe throughout the 1960s, but, due to his focus on defence-first principles and rigid manner, he has always been considered through a negative lens. Whether or not the rapid counter-attacking style was pleasing, the results achieved by teams applying the system has never been questioned.

Nereo Rocco perfected Catenaccio while in charge of Milan, by winning two league titles, three Italian cups, two UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups, two European Cups and one Intercontinental Cup. Besides, he also managed both Triestina and Padova to Serie A and had a pleasant time as Torino boss.


Regarded mainly for his revolutionising of Italian football strategist, Arrigo Sacchi brought zonal defence to Italy where for decades, the main strategy has relied on anything similar to rigid man-marking.

After defeating Milan as manager of Parma in Serie B, Sacchi was appointed as Milan coach in 1987 and changed the face of football history. Sacchi was a relative invisible man at the time due to his lack of a successful playing career. However, he was very intelligent in combining four talents of Mauro Tassotti, Alessandro Costacurta, Franco Baresi, and Paolo Maldini with the inspiration of Dutch stars Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, and Marco van Basten, Sacchi got Milan to consecutive European Cup victories in 2 years of 1989 and 1990 which None of Italian team since has retained the trophy.