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Claudio Gentile
Claudio Gentile.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth 27 September 1953 (1953-09-27) (age 56)
Place of birth Tripoli, Libya
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Centre back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1971–1972 Arona 34 (4)
1972–1973 Varese 34 (1)
1973–1984 Juventus 283 (9)
1984–1987 Fiorentina 70 (0)
1987–1988 Piacenza 20 (0)
Total 441 (14)
National team
1975–1984 Italy 71
Teams managed
2000–2006 Italy U-21
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Claudio Gentile (born in Libya, 27 September 1953) is an Italian football coach and former player of the 1970s and 1980s. One of the toughest defenders in the history of the game, he nevertheless ended his career with only one red card, for an intentional handball[1]. Gentile was a key part of both the World Cup winning Italy team of 1982, and the success of Juventus of the period.



Born in Tripoli, Libya, he moved to Italy at age 8. Gentile shone in Serie B as a holding midfielder and was acquired by Juventus (who had then a consistent strategy of buying young standout defensive Serie B players. Gaetano Scirea, Antonio Cabrini, and Marco Tardelli also followed the same path). Closed in that role by captain Giuseppe Furino, he was switched to left fullback, where he played for four years, and earned his first national caps as a dynamic wing player who could also attack and score. A true two-footed player, he was switched to right fullback in 1977, when Cabrini was acquired. In over a decade in Turin, Gentile won two major European club competitions, six Scudettos, and two Italian Cups. During this time he also earned 71 caps for Italy, at both fullback positions. In 1984 he moved to Fiorentina where he spent three further years in Serie A, before retiring from football in 1988 after one further season for Serie B side Piacenza.

Juventus and Scirea

Gentile is notably famous for playing a key role in the defence of the Juventus side of the 1970s and early 1980s. Alongside Scirea, he led the defence to five Serie A titles.

Gentile and Scirea stood as rocks in the centre of the world's best defence, where they wreaked fear in the hearts of all attackers. One of today's standard defensive plays, which involves the defender kicking the ball through the legs of the attacker, is generally credited to have been invented by him. Gentile was also a master of the hard tackle to get the ball, not the player. With Gentile's hard and ruthless tackling and Scirea's graceful play and precise reading of the game, the pair fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle.

The tandem not only achieved success with Juventus but also with the National team, where together they led Italy to World Cup glory, stopping the favoured Brazilians in a brilliant 3-2 quarter-final victory characterized by Italy's smothering defence, and beating West Germany 3-1 in the final at the Bernabeu. Gentile was a master tactician and in the final against West Germany, he charged down-field to the West German box to initiate a surprise quick restart on a direct free kick, providing the assist to world cup maximo goleador Paolo Rossi, who opened the scoring in that championship final.

Rise to fame

Considered by many as football's greatest ever man marker, and the MVP of Italy's 1982 team, Gentile's finest hour came during the 1982 World Cup. Coach Enzo Bearzot had already employed him as his star marker, most notably at the 1978 World Cup, when Italy beat eventual World Champion Argentina on its home soil, 1-0. Gentile marked eventual MVP Mario Kempes out of the game. In 1982, for two crucial games Bearzot moved Gentile to the center of the pitch, effectively as a holding midfielder. Gabriele Oriali shifted to the right back slot. Gentile came to international acclaim in those 2nd phase (elimination) match against the title-holders Argentina, when he man-marked Diego Maradona out of the game by kicking and flooring him constantly throughout the game. In response to his performance against Maradona, Gentile famously quipped, "Football is not for ballerinas!"[2] In Italy's next match against the favorites, Brazil, he first performed a violent tackle from behind on Zico and later ripped the Brazilian's shirt in half during a tussle. On 11 July 1982, he produced an immaculate defensive display alongside fellow defender Gaetano Scirea, as Italy defeated West Germany 3-1 to lift the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain. Gentile missed the following match against Poland through suspension due to the yellow card he picked up earlier on in that match, but was back for the final against West Germany. As a player, Gentile was able to take punishment as well as to dish it out, absorbing a vicious off-play hit from the West German player Kaltz early in the final, and getting up and playing on without complaint.

Remarkably, Claudio Gentile never saw a hard-foul red card in his entire career, which has to be recognized as a major professional achievement and a tribute to his consummate skill, especially considering the physical type of player he was. His career included only one red card, when he caught a long pass with his hands minutes from the end of overtime in a Champions League game. Yet he decried "nasty fouls" and considered himself simply a tough, hard defender. [3] Gentile further represented Italy in the 1991 edition of the World Cup of Masters, scoring in the third place play-off against Uruguay.

Gentile coached the Italy Under-21 National Team from October 2000 to July 2006. He had a well-publicized falling out with Antonio Cassano whilst the Real Madrid player was eligible to play for his team. So far his stint as a coach has been a successful one. His team won the UEFA 2004 tournament finals but failed to advance to the second round in the UEFA 2006 tournament finals. In July 2006, Gentile was dismissed from his Under-21 coaching position and replaced by Pierluigi Casiraghi.

Playing honours


External links


Simple English

Claudio Gentile
Personal information
Full name Claudio Gentile
Date of birth 27 September 1953 (1953-09-27) (age 57)
Place of birth    Tripoli, Libya
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Defender (retired)
Senior clubs
Years Club
National team
1975-1984 Italy

Claudio Gentile (born 27 September 1953) is a former Italian football player. He has played for Italy national team.

Club career statistics


Club Performance League
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals
1971/72AronaSerie D00
1972/73VareseSerie B341
1973/74JuventusSerie A130
1984/85FiorentinaSerie A290
1987/88PiacenzaSerie B200
CountryItaly 40710
Total 40710

International career statistics


Italy national team



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