Gennaro Gattuso is a former Italian footballer who currently serves as the manager of A.C. Milan. While he primarily played as a defensive midfielder, he also played in the right back position during his early career, and was capable of playing as a winger. He began his career playing for smaller clubs like Perugia and Salernitana, and spent one season with the Scottish team Rangers. However, signing on to Milan became a turning point in his career as his partnership with Andrea Pirlo led the club to successful runs at major international events including Coppa Italia, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup in 2003, as well as domestic events like the Serie A and Supercoppa Italiana wins in 2004. After serving as the manager of Sion at the end of his playing career, he coached at Palermo, OFI Crete and Pisa before returning to Milan. Known for his ill temper, he had been involved with several altercations with opponent players and coaches throughout his career. After his named was dragged into an investigation about a betting ring in the 2010-11, he dramatically promised to kill himself if found guilty.
Childhood & Early Life
Gennaro Ivan Gattuso was born on January 9, 1978 in the small town of Corigliano Calabro in Calabria, Italy, to Francesco and Costanza Gattuso. He grew up playing football on the beach.
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Gennaro Gattuso began his career in the youth academy of Umbrian side, A.C. Perugia Calcio, in 1990 and was offered his first professional contract with the club in the summer of 1995. Despite his promotion to the first team of the club, he played only ten games in the next two years before being transferred to Scottish club Rangers F.C.
After Walter Smith, who brought him to the Scottish club, left the club in 1998, new manager Dick Advocaat, who took Smith's place, played him in out-of-position as a right-back. Despite scoring five goals from 34 matches for the Rangers, he was transferred to newly promoted Serie A club Salernitana for £4 million in October 1998 and had a successful season playing 25 matches.
He caught the attention of A.C. Milan which signed him in the summer of 1999, following which he debuted for the club in a league match against Chelsea on September 15, 1999. Following his promotion to the starting line-up, he played his first Milan-derby match on October 24, 1999 where he demonstrated exceptional maturity and tenacity while facing Inter Milan striker Ronaldo, and earned praise from Milan fans.
Impressed with his ball-winning capacity, Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti used him in a deeper role as a defensive midfielder in an attacking combination with midfield playmaker Andrea Pirlo. This partnership played a crucial role in Milan's domestic and international successes at Coppa Italia, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup in 2003, and the Serie A and Supercoppa Italiana wins in 2004.
His contract with the club was renewed twice during this time in June 2003 and October 2004, and he was part of the Milan team that reached the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final. After playing his 300th game for the club in a Champions League match against Lille on 26 September 2006, his contract was extended for another year.
In the following season, he again helped Milan reach the Champions League final for the second time in his career and won the title with a 2-1 win over Liverpool on May 23, 2007. In December that year, he spent the Serie A winter break training with his former club Rangers while vacationing in Scotland during Christmas.
A year later, in December 2008, he suffered an injury during a league match against Catania and had to undergo surgery in Antwerp, Belgium. He returned to Milan bench in May, one month prior to schedule, for the match against Juventus.
He played his 400th match for the club on August 22, 2009. He had a glorious season in 2010-11 during which he ended a three-year goal drought with two goals against Juventus and Cagliari.
In the opening Serie A game of the 2011–12 season against Lazio on September 9, 2011, he crashed into teammate Alessandro Nesta before being substituted off 20 minutes into the game. He was later diagnosed with a left sixth cranial nerve palsy which caused double vision.
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He decided not to extend his contract with Milan which ended in June 2012, and joined Swiss club Sion on June 15th. He was subsequently named the new manager of Sion on February 25, 2013.
Gennaro Gattuso was called to the Italy under-18 side for the 1995 UEFA European Under-18 Football Championships in which Italy finished runners-up to Spain.
He represented Italy at the 2000 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, which Italy won by defeating Czech Republic in the final.
He made his senior international debut against Sweden on February 23, 2000 and had his first start for Italy against England on November 15, 2000 during which he scored the only goal. He represented Italy at the senior level 73 times, playing in the 2000 Summer Olympics, 2002 World Cup, Euro 2004, 2006 World Cup, Euro 2008, 2009 Confederations Cup, and the 2010 World Cup.
He played a crucial role in Italy's World Cup win in 2006 and was named the 'Man of the Match' for his performance in their 3–0 victory over Ukraine in the quarter-finals. He took the captain's armband after Fabio Cannavaro was substituted during a friendly against Greece on November 19, 2008.
While still playing for A.C. Milan, Gennaro Gattuso attended and passed a coaching course for UEFA A Licence in July 2011. He began his managerial career with Sion in February 2013, but rescinded his contract in May that year to become manager at Palermo.
He was sacked by Palermo in September 2013, following which he was appointed manager of Superleague Greece team OFI Crete in June 2014, and attained a UEFA Pro Licence in September. After deciding to leave the financially troubled club in October 2014 following a home loss, he was convinced to stay by fans and club officials, but finally left in December.
He next managed Lega Pro side Pisa and earned recognition for leading it to Serie B promotion. He was appointed coach of the under-19 team of A.C. Milan Primavera in May 2017 and became the head coach of the first team on November 27, 2017, after Vincenzo Montella was sacked.
Awards & Achievements
Gennaro Gattuso led Italy to FIFA World Cup victory in 2006 and was named to the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team that year. He has been inducted into A.C. Milan Hall of Fame.
Personal Life & Legacy
Gennaro Gattuso is married to Monica Romano, a Scottish woman of Italian descent whom he met while playing for Rangers at an exhibition game in Toronto, Canada. They have a daughter named Gabriella and a son named Francesco.
After Italy won the World Cup final on penalties against France on July 9, 2006, Gennaro Gattuso earned notoriety for running around in his underwear till FIFA officials forced him to cover up.