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Sad news :(

Simoni has died at the age of 81
Football Italia

Former Lazio, Napoli and Inter coach Luigi Simoni died today at the age of 81.

The famous coach and former midfielder, who had been hospitalised after suffering a stroke in 2019, has died today on May 22, 2020.

Football has lost another hero in Gigi, who won the UEFA Cup with Inter in 1997-98 and experienced spells in the dugout of Napoli, Torino, Genoa, Lazio and Siena.

Born in Crevalcore on January 22, 1939, he went on to play for Napoli, Torino and Juventus among others, before starting as a coach at Genoa and ending his career in football as President at Cremonese in 2015, leaving a club he had brought back to Serie A as coach in 1993.
 

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70455
 

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RIP Gigi
 

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Oh :(

I knew he wasn't well so it is hardly a surprise. A gentleman, a perfect professional. Not exactly good-tempered. If you like true people, no matter whether they tell you their opinion in your face, then you would have liked Gigi Simoni.
 

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Simoni: Ronaldo's greatest coach
Football Italia

Luigi Simoni may have only won one major trophy as a coach, but his greatest achievement was getting the best out of Ronaldo at Inter.

Simoni, who died earlier today at the age of 81, will go down as a legendary figure in Italian football.
He won seven promotions to Serie A with five different clubs – Genoa, Pisa, Brescia, Cremonese and Ancona.

His work with smaller sides caught the attentions of Inter, who hired him in the summer of 1997.

It was on the blue half of San Siro that Gigi enjoyed his greatest success in management, finishing second in Serie A, winning the UEFA Cup and being named Italy’s coach of the season in 1997-98.
Simoni’s arrival coincided with that of Ronaldo, who signed from Barcelona for a then-world record €28m.

The Brazilian was given the freedom to strike fear into Serie A defences, scoring 25 goals in just 32 appearances.

Whereas tactical innovations have helped Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo flourish, none were needed for the Nerazzurri’s No 9.
“Ronaldo was our leader and we treated him as he deserved to be treated,” Simoni explained to Planet Football in January 2019.
“He was not a primadonna, but everybody knew he was special and that he could bring us to the top, so everybody supported him.
“There was not any kind of envy among the other players towards Ronaldo, also because he was so friendly: I never saw him blaming some teammates for a bad pass, he always was in a positive mood. He was a model for everybody in and outside the pitch.

“I never thought that all players should be managed in the same way if someone is special – and Ronaldo was exceptional.

“I never asked him to run, he just needed to train and play with the ball, someone else would have run for him. And his teammates were glad to do that because they knew to be part of a strong team with a genius on the top.”

Sadly for Inter, Simoni was sacked in November 1998 after a poor start to the season and the 98-99 campaign marked the start of Ronaldo’s physical decline.

Massimo Moratti’s club was also denied the Scudetto just months earlier by the virtue of a controversial 1-0 defeat to eventual champions Juventus.

“That team could’ve won so much and proved it was strong, but I wanted to shake things up in terms of results. It was a mistake, I regret it and I paid for it, changing three Coaches,” Moratti later rued.

“The regret does remain by wondering what would’ve happened if he had remained, but I am convinced we would’ve achieved great things together, as well as less controversy within the club.

“It was a genuine mistake to send him away, but I continue to admire Simoni, as he never made me feel embarrassed about it. There is great reciprocal respect.”

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Promoting 5 different clubs to Serie A, impressive. I didn't know that tbh.
 

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FC INTERNAZIONALE MILANO’S CONDOLENCES FOR THE DEATH OF GIGI SIMONI

The former Nerazzurri Coach leaves us at the age of 81: the Club and all our fans worldwide send an embrace to his family and loved ones

22/05/2020

Today, 22 May, he left us. Not just any date, the most Inter-related date of all.

We remember Gigi Simoni and will miss everything about him. First and foremost, his gentlemanly way of being. His way of living, both in life and football, was never over the top. His football reflected that: it was humble, functional and capable of making the most of what he had on offer.

He arrived in the Nerazzurri dugout in 1997, together with El Fenomeno, Ronaldo. That combination, Simoni-Ronaldo, will remain in everyone's hearts forever, and not just those of Inter fans. That was a father-son relationship, one in which he showed great compassion towards a truly special footballer: Simoni loved to tell us, “I learned more from him than he did from me that season.” A phrase that brilliantly encapsulates what type of person he was.

He embodied the most genuine passion for Inter. And on 6 May 1998 he produced his greatest feat as a coach: he out-manoeuvred a great Lazio side and didn’t give them a sniff. On that magical night at the Parc des Princes, Zamorano, Zanetti and Ronaldo handed Inter their third UEFA Cup.

The world of football has lost a great coach and a wonderful person. During his playing career, he won a Coppa Italia with Napoli as well as Serie B with Genoa. As a coach, in addition to the UEFA Cup with Inter, he lifted the Anglo-Italian Cup with Cremonese and won five Serie B titles (three with Genoa, two with Pisa). In 1998 he received the Panchina d’Oro as the best Italian coach, a much-deserved recognition of his talents.

This is how we remember him: with his white hair, in our dugout, while he enjoyed the magic of Ronaldo with a smile on his face, enveloped by the fans’ affection.
Farewell Gigi, we’ll miss you.

 

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Ronaldo: 'Thank you, Gigi'
Football Italia

Ronaldo has thanked Luigi Simoni for ‘teaching me more than you could ever imagine’ after the former Inter boss passed away on Friday.

Ronaldo enjoyed the best season of his Inter career under Simoni in 1997-98, scoring 34 goals in all competitions and winning the UEFA Cup.

“Gigi Simoni wasn’t just a coach for me,” he wrote on Instagram.
“If I think of him today, I think of him as a wise and good man, who didn’t force you to do things.

Instead, he explained to you why those things were important.

“I think of a teacher, like in this photo we took at Christmas: he was the conductor and we were the orchestra.

“That’s how I remember him, with that smile, his calm voice, his precious advice. We could and should have won more, but we won together, the thing he always preached to us.

“Thank you boss, you taught me more than you could ever imagine.”

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Classy words from Ronaldo :)
 

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JZ 🖤💙
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Sad.

He did extremely well with a very limited team (at least in defense).

His tactics were igenious in the 98 UEFA Cup final when he destroyed what seemed to be a superior Lazio side (they had beaten us comprehensively a few weeks earlier in Serie A).

Granted, he had the best player in the world and IMO greatest striker of all time, but aside from Ronaldo I think it's fair to say he only had a handful of "world class" players - and no world-class defenders at all.

The closest to elite players were probably Djorkaeff, Zamorano and Zanetti.

Simeone was a good player, nothing more. Technically very limited.

As for the other starters in the UEFA Cup final: Ze Elias, an ageing Aaron Winter, Fresi, Colonnese, West were hardly world-beaters....



Anyway, he's part of Inter's history. May he rest in peace.
 

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Speaking of which, an Egyptian sports channel called Nile sports showed that 98 UEFA cup final a few weeks ago, and 3-0 actually flattered Lazio. The goals aside, we hit the goal frame twice (Ronaldo first half and Zamorano in the second), and Marchegiani made 2 saves to deny Winter and Moriero from scoring. Pagliuca had to save/do very little. We basically played with 3 cbs in Fresi, West and Colonnese, JZ left WB and Winter right WB, with Simeone and Ze Elias as anchors so there were more defensive than attacking players for Inter in that match but when we attacked Lazio certainly suffered.

The Egyptian commentator back then was saying that Bergomi missed the final due to injury btw. Must be why Pagliuca was captain on the night.

70470
 

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RIP Gigi.

Wonderful man. He was our Bobby Robson.
 

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Speaking of which, an Egyptian sports channel called Nile sports showed that 98 UEFA cup final a few weeks ago, and 3-0 actually flattered Lazio. The goals aside, we hit the goal frame twice (Ronaldo first half and Zamorano in the second), and Marchegiani made 2 saves to deny Winter and Moriero from scoring. Pagliuca had to save/do very little. We basically played with 3 cbs in Fresi, West and Colonnese, JZ left WB and Winter right WB, with Simeone and Ze Elias as anchors so there were more defensive than attacking players for Inter in that match but when we attacked Lazio certainly suffered.

The Egyptian commentator back then was saying that Bergomi missed the final due to injury btw. Must be why Pagliuca was captain on the night.

View attachment 70470
It could have been 5 or 6, yeah...

And could have been one of the most comprehensive batterings in a Euro final.

But on the other hand, JZ's wonder goal was a 1 in 1,000 hit (prob my 2nd favourite Inter goal of all time after Milito's 2nd against Bayern) and Ronaldo's goal was offside and would have been disallowed by VAR nowadays.

But 3 things are for sure: Lazio created next to nothing, it was a tactical masterstroke by Simoni and it was a stunning team performance. For me an even better performance than the 2010 CL final. Totally dominant.

Recently saw some idiot on Facebook comment on how 'amazing' that Inter team - and the team that came the year after - was compared to today's comparatively weak line-up 🙄

Honestly, Godin, De Vrij, Skriniar and Bastoni are so much better than the Colonnese-West-Fresi-Galante circus it is not even funny.....

And as for Simeone-Winter-Ze-Elias-Cauet-Djorkaeff vs. Eriksen-Barella-Sensi-Brozovic-Vecino - I definitely take the current crop any day of the week. Barella is better than all of those players and Sensi, when fit, is too. I liked DJ (Fird-burglar's fave player if I remember correctly) but he was inconsistent.

Obviously Zanetti and Ronaldo are unimpeachable and would stroll into today's team. But I would take Lautaro and Lukaku over Zamorano, Recoba and an ageing Baggio any day of the week - and twice on Sundays.

Pirlo is his own topic....

But yeah, for me Simoni did well with an insanely imbalanced squad. Firing him turned out to be suicidal.
 

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And honestly, just on the 98 title and the Iuliano rugby-league tackle:

While I still think that game was an absolute disgrace, it has to be said: Some of the results Inter got at the start of '98 were shockingly awful. I'm not blaming Simoni for that (even though I probbably did at the time), rather it was the god-awful defense and how limited and uncreative our midfield was. When you are relying on Cauet and Simeone for assists you know you have a problem.

Then there was drawing 0-0 at home to Piacenza in the game after Juve 🙄 ... that would have actually resurrected our chances since Juve drew with Vicenza that weekend. Scandalous result.

Going into the Juve game, Merda were on 66 points, we were on 65. Juve opened up a 4-point lead. We could have cut that to 2 points if we had beaten Piacenza in the 3rd last game of the season. If we had beaten Bari in the next match (2nd last round), we would have gone into the final round of the season (at home to Empoli) 2 points behind Juventus. Guess what Juve's last result of the season was? 1-1 with Atalanta.

We could have finished level on points. Ok, we would have probably never won a playoff, but there was a lot of silly petulance that cost the team a serious shot at the title even after the Iuliano debacle.

And, going back a bit, the team had had the traditional Inter "New Year Collapse": Ronaldo went on a 7-week goal drought (Dec 6th - Feb 1st), and there were losses to Bari (home), Bologna (home) and Udinese (away).
 

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The UEFA Cup Final goal was Zanetti's best, yeah. It's not something that's alien to him...he scored that beautifully worked goal vs England (another banana kick...of sorts...but with his left foot) in the WC. And he scored a long range blaster (again hit with the outside of his foot) against Salernitana the next season.

I'll agree that the current midfield is miles better than that of 97/98. Djorkaeff was incredible in 96/97, patchy but with moments of brilliance in 97/98 and much more patchy in 98/99. He was slowing down and he needed a much more disciplined set-up to function. We didn't have that then and wouldn't have it for many more years.

Regarding Simoni, he did a wonderful job in 97/98 but I see him as a manager for a different team and from a different era. He is much more of a motivator, mentor and father figure than the chess-playing tactician in the vein of Mourinho and Guardiola. This isn't a knock; his qualities as a motivator are extremely rare and form the stuff of movies. I can see the old school players like Mazzola and Facchetti thriving with him at the helm. With big money and possibly even bigger egos becoming the norm in the late 90's, the romanticism was moving out of football, leaving less room for managers like Simoni and Sir Bobby Robson. It's interesting to note that as the big money and egos have shifted much further since then, there is now less room for even managers like Mourinho and Ferguson who needed full control to succeed. At this stage, it's much less common for managers to be the boss. They need to tread carefully around the marquee players.
 
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