When Italy won the World Cup in Germany in 2006, Fabio Grosso and Alberto Gilardino were there. Both great former footballers turned to coaching after their careers and now both are celebrating great success.
Grosso has made a sensational rise
Fabio Grosso used to be a quality left-back. During his playing career he wore the jerseys of clubs like Olympique Lyon, Inter Milan and Juventus. He became a French champion, celebrated winning the title twice in Italy and helped to win the World Cup in a national jersey.
In 2006, Grosso was one of the key figures in Italy’s journey to the World Champions trophy. With the exception of one game in which he was absent, he spent maximum minutes on the pitch and scored a goal in the semi-final against Germany and also notched an assist.
In December 2012, however, he retired as a player and began preparing for his role as a coach. Until 2017 he led Juventus’ youth teams, followed by stints at Bari, Hellas Verona, Brescia and Sion.
Since March 2021, Grosso has been in charge of Frosinone and helped the club to finish in the middle of the second league table at the end of the 2020/21 season. Although his first full season was not entirely dreamlike, he missed out on qualification for the play-offs due to the balance of fixtures against Perugia.
This season, however, has already worked out well for Gross and his charges and Frosinone won promotion to the elite with three rounds still to go. The team is currently in first place with a four-point lead over Genoa, with two rounds left to play.
However, the 45-year-old Grosso is only under contract until the end of the season and the question is what happens next. While a contract extension is likely, it is by no means a certainty.
Gilardino returns a traditional brand to the elite
Alberto Gilardino has been a highly respected striker for a change. He is five years younger than his former national teammate Grosso. He used to play for clubs like Fiorentina and AC Milan. He won the Champions League and the Club World Cup in a Rossoneri jersey, and was voted the best Italian footballer in 2005.
At the World Cup, although he was slightly less busy than Grosso, he started almost all the matches except the final and the quarter-finals, and like Grosso he scored a goal and an assist. He finished his career in 2018.
He started his coaching career in smaller teams, specifically managing Rezzato, Pro Vercelli and less than a year coaching Siena. In the summer of 2022, he took over the youth team of Genoa, whose A-team was relegated to the second league. Incidentally, he was already a player at Genoa.
However, the traditional club did not start the second league season well at all and in December a change was made. The coach was dismissed and Gilardino was given the chance. Under his leadership, the team immediately picked up and lost only twice out of 22 competitive matches.
Gilardino took over Genoa when the team was in fifth place. Although he failed to reach the top spot even once, second place guarantees direct promotion and this is crucial for the club.
What’s next? Like Grosso, Gilardino is only under contract until the end of the season. However, he has definitely asked for a chance among the top flight. It’s worth noting that Genoa have an eight-point lead with two rounds to go in the competition. He secured promotion during this weekend.
Source: Serie B, Transfermarkt
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