Mauro Tassotti

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Mauro Tassotti
Mauro Tassotti (cropped).jpg
Tassotti in 2012
Personal information
Date of birth (1960-01-19) 19 January 1960 (age 55)
Place of birth Rome, Italy
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 9 12 in)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Milan (assistant)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1978–1980 Lazio 41 (0)
1980–1997 Milan 429 (8)
Total 470 (8)
National team
1978–1982 Italy U21 10 (1)
1979 Italy U23 1 (0)
1992–1994 Italy 7 (0)
Teams managed
1997–2001 Milan (youth)
2001 Milan
2001– Milan (assistant)
2014 Milan (caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Mauro Tassotti (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmauro tasˈsɔtti]; born in Rome, 19 January 1960) is an Italian former footballer. After making his Serie A debut with Lazio, he went on to play with A.C. Milan for 17 years. He won 17 major titles for the club, namely five Serie A championships and three UEFA Champions League tournaments, reaching five finals in total. He is mostly remembered for his role alongside Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta in the legendary Milan backline under Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello.

An Italian international in the early 1990s, Tassotti only came into the national side under Sacchi, when he was already in his 30s, helping Italy to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. Tassotti would go on to represent his nation at the 1994 World Cup, winning a Runners-up medal. Prior to his Italy senior career, he had previously represented Italy at under-21 level, and participated for the under-23 team in the 1988 Olympics, finishing in fourth place. After retiring in 1997 he remained connected to his main club, Milan, as an assistant manager.[1]

Football career[edit]

Club career[edit]

Born in Rome, Tassotti played his first professional season with local S.S. Lazio in 1978-79, where he soon became a first team member the following season. Following Lazio's and Milan's relegation to Serie B due to their involvement in the 1980 match-fixing scandal, he was called upon by the Milanese squad and transferred to the side, becoming a first team member alongside captain and defender Franco Baresi, during a dark period in Milan's footballing history. Milan won Serie B the following season to return to Serie A. Despite winning the Mitropa Cup the following season, Milan were unable to remain in Serie A, finishing third last, and were relegated once again to Serie B. Milan were able to win Serie B again the following season to return to Serie A. Although this was a fairly bleak period in the club's history, as they failed to dominate in the league or capture a trophy, the squad did reach the Coppa Italia final during the 1984-85 season, and were able to regularly qualify for the European competitions, frequently finishing in the top half of the table.

Tassotti became a central figure in the legendary A.C. Milan team of the late 1980s and early 1990s under Arrigo Sacchi, and subsequently Fabio Capello. Tassotti was a key component of an almost insurmountable defence alongside Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta, playing predominantly as a right back, and on occasion as a centreback. The back four of the Milan side of this period is regarded as one of the greatest of all time. Under Sacchi, he was named vice-captain after Baresi, and he won the 1987-88 Serie A title, followed by the Italian Supercup and back to back European Cups with the side, in 1989, 1990. In addition to these titles, Tassotti won two Intercontinental Cups (1989, 1990) and two UEFA Super Cups (1989, 1990), also reaching the 1989-90 Coppa Italia Final. During the 1987-88 season, Tassotti helped Milan to only concede 14 goals in Serie A, finishing the year with the best defence.

Under Capello, Tassotti would go on to reach three consecutive Champions League finals with Milan, winning the Champions League in 1994, and also reaching the final in 1993 and 1995.[2] He also won three consecutive Serie A titles with the club in the 1991-92, 1992-93 and the 1993-94 seasons, adding another during the 1995-96 season, in addition to the 1994 UEFA Super Cup and three consecutive Italian Supercup titles between 1992 and 1994. In the 1991-92 season, Milan won the title unbeaten, scoring a record 74 goals, and remained undefeated for a record 58 matches in Serie A. In the 1993-94 season, Tassotti once again helped Milan finish the league with the best defence, only conceding a meagre 15 goals. In his last few seasons at Milan under Capello, he began to be used less frequently, due to his advancing age, as well as due to the emerging Christian Panucci in his position, although he still continued to play a fundamental role for the club. Along with his team mate Baresi, Tassotti retired from the club at the conclusion of the 1996-97 season.

International career[edit]

Tassotti did not win his first cap for Italy until the age of 32, under Arrigo Sacchi – this was partly because of an abundance of other world class Italian defenders, as he was constantly overlooked by Sacchi's predecessor Azeglio Vicini, despite the player's excellent club performances. He had previously played for Italy at under-21 level, and he represented the nation at the 1988 Summer Olympics, alongside Maldini, where Italy reached the semi-finals, finishing in fourth place.[3]

Tassotti and Massimiliano Allegri during the game MilanReal Madrid at the Yankee Stadium in New York

After featuring in Italy's 1994 World Cup qualifying matches and international friendlies under Sacchi, Tassotti played in the 1994 edition in the United States, where Italy went on to reach the final, losing out to Brazil on penalties. This would be the only tournament that he would play in with Italy. In the group stage, Tassotti helped Italy keep a clean sheet in the match against Norway, and started at right back in all three group matches, the round of 16 match against Nigeria, and the quarter-final match against Spain. In the quarter-final match, however, Tassotti elbowed Spanish midfielder Luis Enrique in the face during stoppage time in the second half, breaking the Spaniard's nose. The gesture was not seen by the referee, and Tassotti was not called for a foul or cautioned at the time, and Italy won the match 2-1. However, after reviewing the game, FIFA officials banned Tassotti for eight matches - the longest-such ban in World Cup history at the time. Tassotti never played internationally again.[4] Tassotti later stated that he had instantly, deeply regretted his actions, describing them as "stupid", although, he would also state that the gesture had not been premeditated, but purely instinctive. Several years after the incident, he personally apologised to Luis Enrique.[5]

After retirement[edit]

In the 2001–02 season Tassotti joined Milan's coaching staff under former teammate Carlo Ancelotti, and retained his post after the latter's departure.[6][7] In January 2014 he acted as caretaker manager for one game, a 3–1 home win over Spezia Calcio for the campaign's Coppa Italia following Massimiliano Allegri's dismissal and before Clarence Seedorf's appointment.[8][9]

Style of play[edit]

Tassotti was mostly used as a right-back, but he could also fill in as central defender when necessary, due to his defensive skills, and often played in this role earlier on in his career. One of Italy's greatest defenders, he is mostly remembered for his role alongside Maldini, Baresi and Costacurta in the legendary and almost impenetrable Milan backline of the late 80s and early 90s, under Sacchi and Capello. Tassotti was primarily a cautious, composed, yet hard tackling and aggressive, defensive minded fullback, due to the presence of Paolo Maldini on the left, who was more offensive minded, and Baresi, who would often carry the ball into midfield to begin plays as a sweeper. As a defender, Tassotti was known for his strength, anticipation, his defensive awareness, marking ability and tactical versatility, which he developed further under Sacchi's revolutionary high pressing zonal marking system, as a right back. Although he primarily excelled defensively, he was also capable of making offensive runs up the right flank, providing an attacking threat, due to his pace, stamina, ball distribution, and technical ability, which he was able to improve extensively under the tutelage of Nils Liedholm, during his time as Milan's coach.[10] His adeptness at more modern, attacking wing play as a full-back under Sacchi and Capello, as well as his ball control and crossing ability, later led his team mates to give him the nickname the new "Djalma Santos" in training sessions.[11] He was also called "the professor" during his time at Milan and in the national side, due to his defensive tenacity, his careful, consistent style of play, and his tactical intelligence.[12]


Tassotti assisting for Milan









Club Season League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Lazio 1978–79 14 0 1 0 15 0
1979–80 27 0 5 0 32 0
Total 41 0 6 0 47 0
Milan 1980–81 33 0 3 0 36 0
1981–82 24 0 4 0 5 0 33 0
1982–83 32 0 9 1 41 1
1983–84 30 1 7 0 37 1
1984–85 24 1 10 0 34 1
1985–86 28 0 6 0 6 0 2 0 42 0
1986–87 25 1 4 0 29 1
1987–88 28 0 7 0 4 0 39 0
1988–89 32 2 3 0 9 0 1 0 43 2
1989–90 29 3 2 0 9 0 1 0 41 3
1990–91 28 0 2 0 6 0 1 0 37 0
1991–92 33 0 5 0 38 0
1992–93 27 0 5 0 9 1 1 0 42 1
1993–94 21 0 1 0 10 0 2 0 34 0
1994–95 12 0 4 0 7 0 2 0 25 0
1995–96 15 0 2 0 3 0 20 0
1996–97 10 0 1 0 1 0 12 0
Total 429 8 75 1 64 1 15 0 583 10
Career total 470 8 81 1 64 1 15 0 630 10

European competitions include UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup.


External links[edit]