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Arrigo Sacchi
Personal information
Full name Arrigo Sacchi
Date of birth (1946-04-01) 1 April 1946 (age 78)
Place of birth Fusignano, Italy
Height 1.70 m
Teams managed
Years Team
1973–1976 Fusignano
1976–1977 Alfonsine
1977–1978 Bellaria
1978–1982 Cesena (youth)
1982–1983 Rimini
1983–1984 Fiorentina (youth)
1984–1985 Rimini
1985–1987 Parma
1987–1991 AC Milan
1991–1996 Italy
1996–1997 AC Milan
1998–1999 Atlético Madrid
2001 Parma
Men's football
Representing  Italy (as manager)
FIFA World Cup
Runner-up 1994

Arrigo Sacchi (born 1 April 1946) is an Italian former professional football coach. He has twice managed AC Milan (1987–1991, 1996–1997), with great success. He won the Serie A title in his 1987–88 debut season and then dominated European football by winning back to back European Cups in 1989 and 1990. From 1991 to 1996, he was head coach of the Italy national team and led them to the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final, where they lost to Brazil in a penalty shoot-out.

Sacchi is regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time and his Milan side (1987–1991) is widely regarded to be one of the greatest club sides to ever play the game, and by some to be the greatest of all time.

Sacchi was never a professional football player and for many years worked as a shoe salesman. This led to his famous quote directed at those who questioned his qualifications: "I never realised that in order to become a jockey you have to have been a horse first." Another famous Sacchi quote is that "football is the most important of the least important things in life."


Early career

Sacchi had grown up watching attacking sides, such as Budapest Honvéd, Real Madrid, Brazil and the Netherlands. He started his career managing his local club, Baracca Lugo, because he was not good enough to play for them. Of the challenge he faced, Sacchi said, "I was twenty-six, my goalkeeper was thirty-nine and my centre-forward was thirty-two. I had to win them over." He next coached at Bellaria before joining Cesena, who were in the Serie B, as a youth team coach. He then took over at Rimini who were playing in the Serie C1, and almost led them to a title.

He received his breakthrough when he moved to Fiorentina as a youth coach. His achievements with the youth team earned interest from Parma, who were then playing in Serie C1. He led Parma to promotion in his first season, and in the following season took them to within 3 points of promotion to Serie A. Of greater importance to his time at Parma, however, was the team's performance in the Coppa Italia; they beat AC Milan 1–0 in the group stages, and beat them again 1–0 on aggregate in the first knockout round. This was enough to attract interest from Milan club owner Silvio Berlusconi, who promptly appointed Sacchi as manager.

AC Milan

At Milan, Sacchi again faced problems of credibility. The press argued that such an inadequate player could never go on to be a successful coach, and that even Berlusconi – who had played football at amateur level – was probably a better player. Sacchi wittily replied "I never realised that in order to become a jockey you have to have been a horse first." Sacchi was an instant success at the San Siro, leading Milan to its first Serie A title in nine years in his debut season, following up the league title with a Supercoppa Italiana in 1988.

Sacchi's success at Milan gained him two back-to-back European Cups. The success he gained was largely attributed to the Dutch trio he had purchased: Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard. However, other great players such as Roberto Donadoni, as well as the defensive back four of Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Mauro Tassotti and Paolo Maldini, were also a key to his success.

The first European Cup final in 1989 was against Steaua București, who were beaten 4–0. Gullit and Van Basten scored two goals each and Milan lifted the European Cup for the first time in over 20 years. En route to the final, Milan had dispatched Real Madrid 6–1 on aggregate in the semi-final. The quarter-final against Werder Bremen was a tight affair; Milan only went through 1–0 on aggregate thanks to a Van Basten penalty. The second round was shrouded in controversy. Donadoni had his life saved only through the quick-thinking of the Red Star Belgrade physio, who broke his jaw to make a passage for oxygen to reach his lungs after he had suffered a bad foul and lay unconscious. The first leg ended in a 1–1 draw and the second leg got called off in 64th minute and rescheduled to be replayed the next day due to the thick fog (Milan was losing 0–1 at the moment). Milan eventually progressed following a penalty shoot-out.

Although the team was not as strong as they had been in the previous season, they were victorious again in 1990. After victories against HJK Helsinki, Real Madrid and KV Mechelen, Milan defeated German Bayern Munich in the semi-final, thanks to an away goal. In the final Frank Rijkaard scored the only goal of the game through a Van Basten assist to conquer Sven-Göran Eriksson's Benfica. By winning the final, Milan became the first team which retained the title since 1980, and the last team to do so until Real Madrid would manage to achieve this feat 27 years later. Sacchi would also capture back to back European Super Cups and Intercontinental Cups in 1989 and 1990, and would lead Milan to the final of the 1989–90 Coppa Italia, where they were defeated by Juventus. The following season saw them defeated by eventual runners-up Marseille in the quarter-final, and finish second in Serie A behind Sampdoria, while they were eliminated in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia by eventual champions Roma. This was Sacchi's last season with i Rossoneri.

Italy national team

In November 1991, Sacchi was appointed manager of the Italy national team, replacing Azeglio Vicini. Sacchi based his Italian selection predominantly on Milan players, especially in the defensive line which featured Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi; the attacking line was led by 1993 Ballon d'or winner Roberto Baggio of Juventus. Exclusions from Sacchi's Azzurri selections included Gianluca Vialli, Roberto Mancini, Giuseppe Bergomi and Walter Zenga.

Sacchi led Italy through the qualification campaign to reach the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Despite not being among the favourites and losing their first match 1–0 to the Republic of Ireland, Italy reached the final (their first since 1982), where they were defeated by Brazil in a penalty shoot-out, the first ever shootout in a World Cup final. Under Sacchi, Italy qualified for UEFA Euro 1996, but were eliminated from a group which included the eventual finalists, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Later coaching and executive career

After leaving his position with the national team, Sacchi returned to Milan to replace Óscar Tabárez in December 1996. However, the second spell was unsuccessful with Milan finishing 11th in the league and suffering its worst ever Serie A defeat, losing 6–1 at home to eventual champions Juventus.

Sacchi had brief spells in the Spanish La Liga, taking charge of Atlético Madrid in 1998 after his second spell with the Rossoneri, where he left his post in March of that season, with them languishing in the bottom half of the table. He also briefly returned to Parma in 2001, replacing Alberto Malesani, but resigned after only 3 matches (2 draws, 1 victory) for stress reasons, to be replaced by Renzo Ulivieri. He later returned to Madrid, this time at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium as director of football at Real Madrid for the 2004–05 season.

Career statistics

Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Rimini 1982 1983 &&&&&&&&&&&&&043.&&&&&043 &&&&&&&&&&&&&015.&&&&&015 &&&&&&&&&&&&&013.&&&&&013 &&&&&&&&&&&&&015.&&&&&015 &&&&&&&&&&&&&039.&&&&&039 &&&&&&&&&&&&&039.&&&&&039 +0 &&&&&&&&&&&&&034.88000034.88
Rimini 1984 1985 &&&&&&&&&&&&&042.&&&&&042 &&&&&&&&&&&&&015.&&&&&015 &&&&&&&&&&&&&019.&&&&&019 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&08.&&&&&08 &&&&&&&&&&&&&046.&&&&&046 &&&&&&&&&&&&&036.&&&&&036 +10 &&&&&&&&&&&&&035.71000035.71
Parma June 1985 July 1987 &&&&&&&&&&&&&088.&&&&&088 &&&&&&&&&&&&&034.&&&&&034 &&&&&&&&&&&&&038.&&&&&038 &&&&&&&&&&&&&016.&&&&&016 &&&&&&&&&&&&&080.&&&&&080 &&&&&&&&&&&&&046.&&&&&046 +34 &&&&&&&&&&&&&038.64000038.64
AC Milan July 1987 June 1991 &&&&&&&&&&&&0196.&&&&&0196 &&&&&&&&&&&&0109.&&&&&0109 &&&&&&&&&&&&&058.&&&&&058 &&&&&&&&&&&&&029.&&&&&029 &&&&&&&&&&&&0307.&&&&&0307 &&&&&&&&&&&&0114.&&&&&0114 +193 &&&&&&&&&&&&&055.61000055.61
Italy June 1991 November 1996 &&&&&&&&&&&&&053.&&&&&053 &&&&&&&&&&&&&034.&&&&&034 &&&&&&&&&&&&&011.&&&&&011 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&08.&&&&&08 &&&&&&&&&&&&&090.&&&&&090 &&&&&&&&&&&&&035.&&&&&035 +55 &&&&&&&&&&&&&064.15000064.15
Milan December 1996 June 1997 &&&&&&&&&&&&&025.&&&&&025 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&07.&&&&&07 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&07.&&&&&07 &&&&&&&&&&&&&011.&&&&&011 &&&&&&&&&&&&&029.&&&&&029 &&&&&&&&&&&&&036.&&&&&036 −7 &&&&&&&&&&&&&028.&&&&&028.00
Atlético Madrid June 1998 February 1999 &&&&&&&&&&&&&030.&&&&&030 &&&&&&&&&&&&&015.&&&&&015 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&05.&&&&&05 &&&&&&&&&&&&&010.&&&&&010 &&&&&&&&&&&&&052.&&&&&052 &&&&&&&&&&&&&032.&&&&&032 +20 &&&&&&&&&&&&&050.&&&&&050.00
Parma January 2001 January 2001 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&03.&&&&&03 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&01.&&&&&01 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&02.&&&&&02 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&00.&&&&&00 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&04.&&&&&04 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&02.&&&&&02 +2 &&&&&&&&&&&&&033.33000033.33
Total &&&&&&&&&&&&0480.&&&&&0480 &&&&&&&&&&&&0230.&&&&&0230 &&&&&&&&&&&&0153.&&&&&0153 &&&&&&&&&&&&&097.&&&&&097 &&&&&&&&&&&&0647.&&&&&0647 &&&&&&&&&&&&0340.&&&&&0340 +307 &&&&&&&&&&&&&047.92000047.92



  • Serie C1: 1985–86




  • Seminatore d'Oro: 1988, 1989
  • World Soccer Awards Manager of the Year: 1989
  • Greatest Manager of All Time – one of 5 managers ranked top 10 by France Football, World Soccer and ESPN
    • 3rd place (France Football): 2019
    • 6th place (World Soccer): 2013
    • 6th place (ESPN): 2013
  • Sports Illustrated Greatest Manager of All Time: 2nd place(2019)
  • European Coach of the Year—Sepp Herberger Award: 1989
  • European Coach of the Season: 1989–90
  • Italian Football Hall of Fame: 2011
  • UEFA President's Award: 2022

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Arrigo Sacchi para niños

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