Tassotti in 2012
|Date of birth||19 January 1960|
|Place of birth||Rome, Italy|
|Height||1.77 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in)|
|* 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, Alessandro Costacurta, Filippo Galli, and Christian Panucci 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.
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, making his Serie A debut on 5 November 1978. During his two seasons with Lazio, he made 41 appearances in Serie A and 47 in all competitions.
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, as well as Filippo Galli, during a dark period in Milan's footballing history, under manager Nils Liedholm. He made his Milan debut on 24 August 1980, in Serie B, in a 1-0 home win over Catania; Milan won the Serie B title that 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, in front of goalkeepers Giovanni Galli, and subsequently Sebastiano Rossi. 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 consecutive European Cup titles, in 1989, and 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. 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 15 goals. In his last few seasons at Milan under Capello, he began to be used less frequently, due to his advancing age, and the emerging Christian Panucci in his position. Along with his team mate Baresi, Tassotti retired from the club at the conclusion of the 1996-97 season. In total, he made 429 Serie A appearances with Milan, scoring 8 goals, and 583 total club appearances, scoring 10 goals.
Tassotti did not win his first cap for Italy until the age of 32, under Arrigo Sacchi, in a 2–2 home draw against Switzerland on 14 October 1992; 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.
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 in which he would participate 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, as well as 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, whilst Lis Enrique was sent off for protesting to the referee; Italy won the match 2-1. 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. 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, as Luis Enrique had been pulling his shirt. He later personally apologised to Luis Enrique. In total, Tassotti made 7 appearances for Italy between 1992 and 1994.
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. 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.
Style of play
Tassotti was mostly used as a right-back, but he could also play as central defender when necessary, 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, Galli, and Costacurta in the legendary Milan backline of the late 80s and early 90s, under Sacchi and Capello. Tassotti was a defensive minded fullback, who was known for his strength, anticipation, defensive awareness, marking ability, and tactical intelligence, which allowed him to excel in Milan's zonal marking system. While at Lazio, he earned a reputation for being a tenacious, hard tackling, and aggressive player; at Milan, he developed into a more cautious, composed, and consistent player, which led to him being nicknamed "the professor".
Although he primarily excelled defensively, Tassotti was a modern and versatile full-back, who also capable of being an attacking threat on the wing, due to his pace, stamina, ball distribution, and technical ability, which he was able to improve extensively under the tutelage of Nils Liedholm; this later led his team mates to give him the nickname the new "Djalma Santos".
- Serie A: 1987–88, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96
- Serie B: 1980-81, 1982-83
- Supercoppa Italiana: 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994
- UEFA Champions League: 1988–89, 1989–90, 1993–94
- UEFA Super Cup: 1989, 1990, 1994
- Intercontinental Cup: 1989, 1990
- "A.C. Milan Hall of Fame: Mauro Tassotti". Retrieved 25 July 2014.
- "Mauro Tassotti". http://www.treccani.it (in Italian). Treccani: Enciclopedia dello Soort. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
- "Mauro TASSOTTI: "Il Tasso"". http://www.magliarossonera.it (in Italian). Retrieved 9 April 2015.
- Mauro Tassotti; UEFA.com, 10 July 2003
- "Mauro Tassotti". Sports Reference. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
- Luis Enrique full of respect; BBC Sport, 20 June 2002
- "Quella gomitata a Luis Enrique "Ero pentito dopo un minuto"". Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Tassotti, Mauro". http://www.figc.it/. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
- All change in Milan; BBC Sport, 17 June 2001
- Maldini enjoying the moment; UEFA.com, 23 February 2007
- Tassotti, due novità Milan: "Matri alla Fiorentina, spero che Seedorf riporti vecchi valori" (Tassotti, two Milan news: "Matri to Fiorentina, i hope Seedorf brings back old values"); Goal.com, 14 January 2014 (Italian)
- Coppa Italia, Milan-Spezia 3–1: primo gol rossonero di Honda davanti a Seedorf (Italian Cup, Milan-Spezia 3–1: first rossonero goal from Honda in front of Seedorf); La Repubblica, 15 January 2014 (Italian)
- "Nonno Tassotti al ballo del debutante" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- "Premio Nazionale Carriera Esemplare Gaetano Scirea: Alba d'Oro". Retrieved 21 January 2015.
- Stats at Tutto Calciatori (Italian)
- National team data (Italian)
- Mauro Tassotti at National-Football-Teams.com
- Mauro Tassotti – FIFA competition record