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Gentile lining up for Italy
|Date of birth||27 September 1953|
|Place of birth||Tripoli, Kingdom of Libya|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Playing position||Central defender, Full back|
|South Korea (advisor)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Claudio Gentile (Italian pronunciation: [ˈklaudjo dʒenˈtile]; born in Libya, 27 September 1953) is an Italian footballer manager and former defender of the 1970s and 1980s. Gentile appeared for Italy in two World Cup tournaments, and played for the winning Italian team in the 1982 final. His club career was notably spent with Juventus for whom he made almost 300 league appearances, winning six national titles and two major European trophies. A tough, strong, tenacious, aggressive, ruthless, and uncompromising defender, Gentile was regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation, one of the toughest ever players in his position, and as one of the greatest Italian defenders of all time.
He was particularly known for his tight, heavy marking as well as his hard challenges. Alongside Juventus and Italy team-mates Dino Zoff, Cabrini, and Scirea, he formed one of the most formidable defensive lines in football history. In 2007, The Times placed Gentile at number 8 in their list of the 50 hardest footballers in history.
He then moved to Juventus and first played for them in a Coppa Italia match against Ascoli Calcio on 29 August 1973, with his Serie A debut following on 2 December 1973 against Verona. In all he played 414 senior matches for Juventus, including 283 in Serie A. In over a decade with Juventus, Gentile won two major European club competitions (1976–77 UEFA Cup and 1983–84 European Cup Winners' Cup), six Serie A championships, and two Coppa Italias. He also reached the final of the 1982–83 European Cup with the Turin club, only to suffer a 1–0 defeat against Hamburg in Athens.
In 1984 he moved to rivals Fiorentina where he spent three further seasons in Serie A, making over 60 appearances for the club. He then played a final season with Piacenza, in Serie B, retiring at the end of the 1987–88 season.
Gentile was capped on 71 occasions by Italy between 1975 and 1984, scoring a single goal during his international career. He played in all of Italy's matches at the 1978 World Cup, where Italy finished in fourth place, after reaching the semi-finals of the tournament. Gentile also played in the 1980 European Championship, and he was named in the team of the tournament.
In the 1982 World Cup, Gentile was once again a permanent member of the starting line-up as Italy went on to win the World Cup that year. He gained notoriety for his aggressive man-marking of Diego Maradona in a second-round match against Argentina at the 1982 World Cup, where he fouled the Argentine star 11 times in the first half, after which Gentile famously quipped, "Football is not for ballerinas!" Italy ending up defeated the defending champions Argentina 2–1. Italy then faced tournament favorites Brazil in the next second-round group match and won 3–2, as their defence neutralized the latter's attacking style, while Paolo Rossi had a hat trick, though Gentile earned a yellow card and a suspension for the semi-final due to his assignment marking Brazilian star Zico. Italy defeated Poland 2–0 in the semi-final, and Gentile returned for the final against West Germany where Italy won 3–1. Gentile was once again in the team of the tournament for his performances during the 1982 World Cup.
Gentile later coached the Italy national under-21 football team which won the 2004 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, and the under-23 team which won a bronze at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
- Serie A: 1974–75, 1976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1983–84
- Coppa Italia: 1978–79, 1982–83
- UEFA Cup: 1976–77
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1983–84
- Italy under-21
- "Claudio Gentile". Statistics by season. myjuve.it. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
- "Claudio Gentile". soccer-europe.com. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- "Italy's greatest defenders". Sky Sports. 31 May 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- "Lessons in Calcio - Claudio Gentile". Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "GENTILE, Claudio" (in Italian). Treccani: Enciclopedia dello Sport (2002). Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "Top 50 Hardest Footballers". empireonline.com. The Times. 13 August 2007. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "Legend of Calcio: Claudio Gentile". forzaitalianfootball.com. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
- "Coppa dei Campioni 1982/83: Amburgo" [1982/83 European Cup: Hamburg] (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
- Claudio Gentile at National-Football-Teams.com
- "1980 UEFA European Championship". UEFA. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- "Claudio Gentile: Spain 1982". Classic Football. FIFA. Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- "Claudio Gentile". Soccer Quotes: Italian. ExpertFootball. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- "FIFA World Cup Awards: All-Star Team". Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- "2004: Italy save best for last". UEFA.com. 1 June 2004. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
- "Italy end Iraq medal hopes". BBC. 27 August 2004. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Italy great Gentile to coach Swiss club Sion". SI.com. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- "Claudio Gentile". Eurosport. Retrieved 29 December 2015.