Gianluca Zambrotta pictured in 2006
|Full name||Gianluca Zambrotta|
|Date of birth||19 February 1977|
|Place of birth||Como, Italy|
|Height||1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13 May 2012.
† Appearances (Goals).
He won 98 caps for the Italy national football team, playing at three World Cups, three European Championships and the 2000 Olympics. He was part of their side that reached the Euro 2000 final, and he was also selected in the Euro 2004 Team of the Tournament. He was most notably a key member of the starting lineup of the Italian squad that won the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and he was selected in the Team of the Tournament for his performances.
- 1 Club career
- 2 International career
- 3 Style of play
- 4 Career statistics
- 5 Managerial statistics
- 6 Honours
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Zambrotta began his professional career with his hometown club, Como Calcio at the age of 17 in 1994, and remained with the club for three seasns. In his first season in Serie B, he played only one match. In 1995, however, Como were demoted to Serie C1 and Zambrotta started to play more regularly for the first team, as a winger or as a wide-midfielder. In the 1995–96 and 1996–97 seasons, he made 47 appearances and scored 6 goals, playing in Serie B and Serie C1.
In 1997, Zambrotta's Serie A career began when his great potential was spotted by Bari boss, Eugenio Fascetti. Zambrotta was snapped up by Fascetti after Bari had won promotion to Serie A. Zambrotta made his Serie A debut on 31 August 1997, in a 2-0 home defeat to Parma, and in his first year in the top flight, Zambrotta played on the left wing and scored two goals in 27 appearances. In the 1998–99 season, following the departure of Nicola Ventola, Zambrotta exploded on to the scene. In week 1, he scored the only goal of the game against Venezia after just 9 minutes into the first half. Zambrotta continued to shine and was the key figure for Bari's surprise start to the campaign, demonstrating his technical attributes and tactical intelligence and versatility. In week 7, he scored the opening goal at San Siro and helped Bari to win the game 3–2 against Internazionale. On 10 February 1999, at the age of 22, the Italian Under-21 International was rewarded by the coach of Italy, Dino Zoff, for his displays. He earned his first cap in a 0-0 friendly against Norway in Pisa. He became the first player of Bari to play for the national side in 50 years. Throughout the 1998–99 season, he made 32 appearances and scored four goals. Halfway through this season, he was brought to the most successful club in Italy, Juventus, by Carlo Ancelotti for reported 30 billion Italian lire (€15,493,707, but 3 billion lire paid via Simone Perrotta's 50% rights) and would play in the black-and-white jersey starting the season after.
After the transfer to Juventus on 1 July 1999, Zambrotta continued his upward momentum under manager Carlo Ancelotti. He made 32 league appearances with one goal in the first season he played for Juventus. On 14 May 2000, the last match day of the season, Juventus missed out on the 1999-2000 Scudetto, as they were defeated 1–0 away at Perugia in the heavy rain, while Lazio got the three points at home by beating Reggina 3–0, and overcame Juventus by a single point. Zambrotta was brought on in the second half in that game and was later given a red card by the referee, Pierluigi Collina. In his second season for Juventus, 2000–01, Zambrotta made 29 league appearances and scored three goals, but Juventus finished once again in second place in Serie A, behind Roma. Zambrotta won his first Scudetto in the 2001–02 season, while he made 32 league appearances and scored one goal during the season, also reaching the 2002 Coppa Italia final with the club. After Zambrotta suffered an injury in the game against South Korea during the 2002 World Cup, he missed the beginning of the 2002–03 Serie A campaign. During his absence, the new signing of Juventus Mauro Camoranesi took his place on the right wing and was in superb form. This prompted then coach, Marcello Lippi, to switch Zambrotta to the left-back when he returned to action. Zambrotta adapted to his new position very quickly and performed particularly well, demonstrating his pace, stamina, work-rate, technical ability, his tactical intelligence and versatility, as well as his ability to contribute both offensively and defensively. He remained a regular first team player as Juventus won their second consecutive scudetto and reached the Champions League final, in which they were defeated by Milan in a penalty shoot-out after a goalless draw. The following season, Juventus avenged the defeat by beating Milan to the 2003 Supercoppa Italiana on penalties, although they failed to retain their league title or progress in Europe. Zambrotta won four Scudetti with Juventus, making a total of 217 league appearances and scoring seven goals in six seasons. In the 2005–06 season, following the injury of Jonathan Zebina, as well as the arrival of Giorgio Chiellini and his successful switch with the national team, Zambrotta was again switched to the right-back. Since then, Zambrotta switched between right and left-fullback or wingback positions frequently throughout the season. In 2005, Zambrotta extended his contract to 2010 but, following Juventus' relegation to Serie B due to Calciopoli, as well as the revocation of their 2004-05 and 2005-06 Serie A titles under Fabio Capello, he decided to leave the club in summer 2006 with Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona widely tipped to sign him. He was eventually transferred to Barcelona for €14 million. He signed a four-year contract with Barcelona, where he joined fellow Juventus defender Lilian Thuram, who also left the club. During his 7-year tenure with Juve, Zambrotta formed one of the best teams in the world at the time, as well as one of the world's most feared defenses. He formed defensive partnerships with the likes of Mark Iuliano, Paolo Montero, Ciro Ferrara, Lilian Thuram, Jonathan Zebina, Nicola Legrottaglie, Alessandro Birindelli, Fabio Cannavaro, and Giorgio Chiellini. Overall he made 297 appearances for Juventus, scoring 10 goals.
On 4 August 2006, after his holiday following the World Cup, Zambrotta reported to his new club for the first time in Los Angeles, United States where FC Barcelona stayed for their pre-season tour in U.S. He trained with his new teammates and made his debut in the final match of the tour, on 12 August against the New York Red Bulls. Zambrotta's official debut in Barça shirt was on 17 August against local rivals Espanyol in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup. On 17 March 2007, he scored his first goal in the league game against Recreativo. He also netted goals in matches against Atlético Madrid at Vicente Calderón Stadium (Atlético record home loss – 0–6) and Tarragona. By his own admission, his performance at Barcelona had been below-par. He is well remembered by his performance against Manchester United in the semifinal return clash: he marked perfectly the future Ballon D'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo all along the game, but made a poor clearance in midfield that ultimately led to Paul Scholes long range effort which decided the match and the clash itself. In two seasons with the club, Zambrotta made 58 league appearances, scoring three goals, before his return to Italy. He was heavily tipped to join Milan, or return to former club Juventus.
On 31 May 2008, Zambrotta signed a 3-year contract with Milan. The club paid €9 million to FC Barcelona, with a potential €2million added on depending on Milan's performance in the Champions League, for his services. Zambrotta would reportedly be earning €4 million per year. His move forced Milan right-back Massimo Oddo to be loaned out to Bayern Munich for more chance to play regularly.
On 21 September 2008 he scored his first goal for Milan, from 31 metres in the league game against Lazio. In the 2008 and 2009 season Zambrotta played more games than any other Milan player. In the 2009–10 season, Zambrotta mainly played at left back, competing with Luca Antonini for a starting spot, while the emerged star Ignazio Abate consolidated the right back position as his own.
For the 2010–11 season, Zambrotta was more versatile than before and often used as a utility. New coach Massimiliano Allegri also preferred Abate for the right back position while Zambrotta alternated between starting at left back and covering for Abate at right back. Nevertheless, he made 20 appearances in all competitions playing an important role in Milan's 18th Scudetto win. Later that year he won the Serie A title with Milan, and the Super Cup.
He renewed his expiring contract for another year, keeping him a Milan player until at least the summer of 2012.
Milan decided not to renew the contracts of several of their veteran players and Zambrotta was one of those along with Filippo Inzaghi, Mark van Bommel, Alessandro Nesta and Gennaro Gattuso. He played his final game for Milan against Novara on 13 May 2012.
In November 2012, in an interview with Rai Radio 1, Zambrotta revealed that, in the summer, he purchased a family holiday home near Dublin, Republic of Ireland and stated that he would be "open to the idea" of playing in Ireland's Airtricity League.
Under-21 and early senior career
Soon after Zambrotta was brought to Serie A, he got the attention of the national side. He was selected to play for the Italy Under-21 national team for the first time on 25 March 1998 against Malta. In his second game for the U21 against Wales on 22 April 1998, he scored the 2nd goal of Italy on the 43rd minute and helped Italy to win the game 2–1. In 1998, he played in all six games of the Italy U21 while they won 5 of them and drew the last one against Spain.
It was on tour with the under-21 team that Zambrotta earned the nickname 'the Mermaid' for his allegedly spending one hour every night in front of the mirror grooming at his now trademark goatee. After some impressive displays for the U21 and the amazing start of the season 1998–99, Zambrotta earned his first cap on 10 February 1999, 9 days before his 22nd birthday, in an 0–0 friendly draw with Norway. He featured in Italy's senior squad at Euro 2000, under manager Dino Zoff, in which they reached the final, with Zambrotta making four appearances throughout the tournament. Zambrotta missed out on Italy's defeat at the hands of the defending World Champions France in the final, however, after being sent off in the semi-final match against co-hosts the Netherlands following a double booking.
Zambrotta played for the U21 side for the 2000 Olympic Games in September. He started in games against Australia and Honduras which Italy won 1–0 and 3–1 respectively. Since they had already qualified for the quarter-finals, the coach put Zambrotta on the bench for the last game against Nigeria and substituted him on at the 80th minute. This would be the last time he played for the U21 national team, with a total of 13 U21-caps. Italy were defeated by Spain, who would go on to win the silver medal, by one goal in the quarter-final. Under new manager Giovanni Trapattoni, Zambrotta also represented the Italy senior side at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, where Italy were controversially eliminated in the round of 16 by co-hosts South Korea, on a golden goal.
In 2003, after the retirement of Paolo Maldini from the national team and a successful switch to left-back with Juventus, Zambrotta became the first choice for this position in the national team. On 30 May 2004, Zambrotta scored his first ever international goal in a warm-up against Tunisia. A Bernardo Corradi header was flapped out for Zambrotta's fierce volley into the roof of the net in the 89th minute while Italy won the game by 4–0. In Euro 2004, although the performance of Italy was largely disappointing and the team was eliminated at the group stage, Zambrotta was one of the few Italian players to be praised for his performances, and was elected to be part of the team of the tournament.
2006 World Cup
New coach Marcello Lippi, who had just resigned as the Juventus manager where he had managed Zambrotta, moved him to right-back. He became a core player in the 2006 World Cup campaign, featuring in eight of the ten qualification matches to help Italy qualify as the group winner. On 15 May 2006, Zambrotta was chosen as one of the 23 players to participate in the finals.
During final preparations for the World Cup, Zambrotta injured his left thigh during a training match at the national team's training base at Coverciano on 28 May 2006. He picked up the injury in a training match against amateur team San Giminiano. This brought certain fears for the Italian squad and Lippi decided to keep Daniele Bonera on stand-by in case Zambrotta could not recover in time.
Having missed the opening victory over Ghana, Zambrotta made his tournament debut in the second group match against the United States in the left-back position, which ended in a 1-1 draw. In their last group match, against the Czech Republic on 22 June, Italy needed only a draw to qualify from the group. Zambrotta was moved to the right-back position as his team won the match 2-0 and advanced as group winners.
During Italy's closely fought 1-0 over Australia in the round of 16, Zambrotta received a booking in the 91st minute. In the quarter-final on 30 June, Italy defeated Ukraine 3–0, with Zambrotta scoring the opening goal after 6 minutes with a left-footed long-range shot after a one-two with Francesco Totti. This was his second goal for his country and the first one in a FIFA World Cup match. Zambrotta's outstanding performance continued as he saved his team by a goal-line clearance in the 58th minute. After Lippi made some substitutions, Zambrotta was pushed up to a left midfield position. He immediately showed the effect of this position switch. In the 69th minute, he dribbled down the left flank into the edge of the penalty area and passed the ball across to Luca Toni to score his second goal of the match.
Zambrotta also participated in Italy's semi-final victory over the host nation, Germany, hitting the cross-bar in extra time, and he also played in Italy's victorious World Cup final over France.
Zambrotta's ability to play in multiple positions on either flank contributed to the tactical flexibility of the Italian squad, and earned him a place in the 23-man 2006 World Cup All-Star squad.
Zambrotta was selected by new manager Roberto Donadoni to represent Italy in EURO 2008 tournament held in Austria and Switzerland. Zambrotta was one of team Italy's key players in the tournament and played every single game of the tournament. On the first match, Italy faced the Netherlands. Zambrotta wasn't at his best in a match, that Italy was defeated 3–0. On the next group stage match Italy played against Romania. Zambrotta made one big mistake which was followed by Romania's 1–0 goal, scored by Adrian Mutu. However Christian Panucci scored only minute after to make it tie. Close to the end of the match, Romania was given a penalty, but Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon saved Mutu's shot and the game ended 1–1 draw. In their last group stage match, Italy needed a victory against France and Netherlands had to beat Romania or play at least a draw. Italy won France 2–0, goal scored by Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi and Netherlands beat Romania, so Italy was placed second in group C and managed to proceed on the second round. On the quarter finals Italy faced Spain. Game was event and both teams had their chances to score the winning goal. Especially Italy's keeper Buffon was busy the whole game. Match was at 0–0 after extra time so it was finalized in the penalty shootout. Antonio Di Natale and Daniele De Rossi missed their efforts and Spain won the shootout 4–2 and Italy was eliminated.
2009 Confederations Cup
On late 2008, World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi returned as the coach of Italy. The firs major tournament under Lippi was the 2009 Confederations Cup. Zambrotta was included Italy's squad for the tournament once again, but was unable to help the team to get to the second round. Italy was eliminated from the playoff's by score difference after the team had collected as many points as USA, which made it to the play-offs.
2010 World Cup
Zambrotta was also selected for the 2010 World Cup by Lippi. Zambrotta was key player and played the whole tournament with good performances. Italy tied the first game against Paraguay and then against New Zealand, so after two points collected Italy needed a draw against Slovakia in the last group stage match to proceed the second round. March against Slovakia was very colorful, Italy was taken two goals away and during the match there was many questioned decisions by the referee. Italy lost the match 3–2 and were eliminated in the group stage. Even though the team's performance was a disaster, Zambrotta was praised by his performances.
Last international matches
After the World Cup Lippi resigned and Cesare Prandelli was named the new head coach of Italy. In the first matches under Prandelli, Zambrotta was snubbed but he returned to play for Italy in the EURO 2012 qualifiers. Zambrotta played his last match in Italy colours against Serbia in late 2010. This match was Zambrotta's 98th and last Italy cap. In total, he scored 2 goals for Italy between 1999 and 2010.
Style of play
Zambrotta is regarded by pundits as one of Italy's greatest attacking full-backs/wing-backs. Although naturally right-footed, he was an ambidextrous player who excelled both at offensive and defensive play, which made him tactically versatile, allowing him to be deployed on the left as well as on the right side of the pitch, as a full-back or wing-back in a 4 or 5-man defence, or even as a winger or wide midfielder, a position in which he was often played earlier on in his career. His main attributes were his pace, marking ability, tackling, strength, tenacity, and stamina. He was also gifted with good technique and ball skills, as well as an excellent crossing ability and a powerful shot from outside the area.
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Europe||Total|
|Italy national team|
- As of 14 February 2015
|Chiasso||27 November 2013||6 April 2015||Swiss Challenge League||39||11||12||16||43||58||-15||28.21|
- Serie A: 2002, 2003
- Supercoppa Italiana: 2002, 2003
- UEFA Intertoto Cup: 1999
- Coppa Italia Runner-up: 2001-02, 2003-04
- UEFA Champions League Runner-up: 2002-03
- UEFA Euro 2004 Team of the Tournament
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2006
- FIFPro World XI: 2006
- 2006 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team
- Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana: (2006)
- Collare d'Oro al Merito Sportivo: (2006)
- Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana: (2000)
- "FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 – List of Players" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- "Gianluca Zambrotta". AC Milan website. AC Milan. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- Presidenza della Repubblica Italiana – Le Onorificenze: Gianluca Zambrotta.
- "Il Pallone Racconta: Gianluca ZAMBROTTA". http://ilpalloneracconta.blogspot.ca (in Italian). 19 February 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- "Piedone Zambrotta, tra Dylan Dog e Juve". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). 10 January 1999. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
- Agreements with Spanish club FC Barcelona
- First choice for two seasons fcbarcelona.cat 13 June 2006 (Retrieved 13 June 2006)
- "Milan clinch Zambrotta deal". Sky Sports. 31 May 2008. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
- "Zambrotta is Milan's!". acmilan.com. Archived from the original on 10 June 2008. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
- AC Milan agree Zambrotta deal fc.barcelona.cat 13 June 2006 (Retrieved 13 June 2006
- "Official: Zambrotta Signs For Milan". Goal.com. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
- "Zambrotta commits to Milan". Sky Sports. 22 July 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
- "Holland v Italy clockwatch". http://news.bbc.co.uk. BBC. 29 June 2000. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- Massimo Vincenzi (3 June 2002). "Doni stecca il debutto la sorpresa è Zambrotta". http://www.repubblica.it/ (in Italian). La Repubblica. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "Italia, Corea e Byron Moreno: COMPLOTTO?". http://www.storiedicalcio.altervista.org (in Italian). Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "UEFA Euro 2004 All-Star Squad revealed". http://web.archive.org/. UEFA. 5 July 2004. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "Italy vs. Australia (1-0)". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
- "Toni ritrova il gol, l'Italia è in semifinale". http://mondiali2006.tiscali.i (in Italian). Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "GERMANIA 2006: ITALIA - UCRAINA 3 - 0". http://www.pianetaazzurro.it/ (in Italian). 30 June 2006. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "La difesa era perfetta, ora anche l'attacco Doppietta Toni, Ucraina sconfitta". http://www.repubblica.it/ (in Italian). La Repubblica. 30 June 2006. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "Una grande Italia conquista la finale Germania ko dopo 120' di sofferenza". http://www.repubblica.it/ (in Italian). La Repubblica. 4 July 2006. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "L'Italia è Campione del mondo Francia ko dopo i calci di rigore". http://www.repubblica.it (in Italian). La Repubblica. 9 July 2006. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "France, Italy dominate World Cup all-star squad". http://www.cbc.ca. CBC. 7 July 2006. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "Nazionale in cifre: Zambrotta, Gianluca". http://www.figc.it/ (in Italian). FIGC. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "La Juve vince e ricorda l'avvocato". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
- "Euro 2000 Profiles: Italy - Gianluca Zambrotta". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
- "Gli eroi in bianconero: Gianluca ZAMBROTTA". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
- Gianluca Zambrotta International – RSSSF. rsssf.com.
- "Zambrotta Sig. Gianluca - Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana". http://www.quirinale.it/ (in Italian). 12 December 2006. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- "Coni: Consegnati i Collari d’oro e diplomi d’onore ai campionissimi". Coni.it. 23 February 2014.
- "Zambrotta Sig. Gianluca - Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana". http://www.quirinale.it (in Italian). 12 July 2000. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- FC Barcelona profile
- Gianluca Zambrotta's career timeline, photo gallery and detailed statistics
- Goal.com profile