Nereo Rocco

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Nereo Rocco
Personal information
Date of birth (1912-05-20)20 May 1912
Place of birth Trieste, Austria-Hungary
Date of death 20 February 1979(1979-02-20) (aged 66)
Place of death Trieste, Italy
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1927-1930 Triestina
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1930–1937 Triestina 232 (66)
1937–1940 Napoli 52 (7)
1940–1942 Padova 47 (14)
1942–1943 94° Reparto Distretto Trieste - (-)
1943–1944 Libertas Trieste 14 (1)
1944–1945 Padova - (-)
National team
1934 Italy 1 (0)
Teams managed
1947–1950 Triestina
1950–1953 Treviso
1953–1954 Triestina
1954–1961 Padova
1961–1963 A.C. Milan
1963–1967 Torino
1967–1973 A.C. Milan
1974–1975 Fiorentina
1977 A.C. Milan
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Nereo Rocco (20 May 1912, Trieste – 20 February 1979, Trieste) was an Italian football player and manager. He is famous for having been one of the most successful head coaches in Italy, and the first proponent of catenaccio in the country.

Playing career[edit]

Rocco played as a wing, had a modest playing career, spent mainly with Triestina, Napoli and Padova. He played 287 Serie A matches within 11 seasons, scoring 69 goals. Rocco was also capped one time for the Italy national football team.[1]

Coaching career[edit]


Rocco made his coaching debut for Triestina in 1947. He obtained a surprising second place in the Serie A, which is still the highest result ever reached by the team. He left Triestina a few years later because of disagreements with the club chairmanship. In 1951 he briefly coached Treviso, then returning to Triestina.


In 1953 Rocco signed as coach of Serie B team Padova, being able to avoid a relegation and obtaining promotion into Serie A the following season. The Serie A period of Rocco's Padova is still remembered as the team's most successful in their history, despite having a small team, they were able to score a third place during the 1957/58 season.

A.C. Milan[edit]

In 1961, Rocco was appointed as new AC Milan coach, starting one of the most successful periods for the rossoneri, winning the Italian league and the European Cup in 1963. After a good stint at Torino, where he obtained the best results since the disappearance of the Grande Torino, in 1967 Rocco returned to AC Milan, where he immediately won another scudetto and the Cup Winners' Cup.

He left AC Milan in 1973, after having won also another European Cup in 1969, an Intercontinental Cup, an Italian Cup and another Cup Winners' Cup. After one year in Fiorentina, Rocco decided to end his coaching career in 1974. In 1977 he was appointed by AC Milan as Technical Director and Assistant of coach Nils Liedholm. Rocco is Milan's longest-serving manager, managing the club for 459 matches (323 as head coach and 136 as technical director).

Rocco died in 1979, aged 66, in Trieste.


On 18 October 1992, a new stadium in Trieste, named after Rocco, was inaugurated.

Rocco, popularly known as El Paròn (Triestin for The Master), was popular also for his strong use of the Triestine dialect.


A.C. Milan


Preceded by
Bela Guttmann
European Cup Winning Coach
Succeeded by
Helenio Herrera
Preceded by
Zlatko Čajkovski
Cup Winners' Cup Winning Coach
Succeeded by
Michal Vičan
Preceded by
Matt Busby
European Cup Winning Coach
Succeeded by
Ernst Happel
Preceded by
Willie Waddell
Cup Winners' Cup Winning Coach
Succeeded by
Heinz Krügel