The Italian Football Federation has announced that Marcello Lippi will replace Giovanni Trapattoni as coach when the veteran's contract expires in July.
The Italian Football Federation has announced that Marcello Lippi will replace Giovanni Trapattoni as coach when the veteran's contract expires on 15 July.
Although Italy were eliminated at the first hurdle at UEFA EURO 2004™ - becoming the first team ever to be knocked out with five points - the 65-year-old did not want to stand down with the end of his contract so close. Trapattoni will be succeeded by Lippi the day after his contract ends.
Happy and excited
The former Juventus FC coach signed a two-year deal which will take him up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Speaking today, Lippi said: "I am happy and when you are happy you are also excited. The national team is the dream of every coach, and therefore also mine."
He added: "I don't want a revolution. This group must be kept together, with an injection of youth. I want to bring my experience to the national team which is the true expression of Italian football, unlike club sides who have foreign players and sometimes coaches from other sides. I want a group made up of some young Under-21 players who will need experience and the pick of the players we saw at the EURO."
Lippi revealed in April that he would retire from club football at the end of the 2003/04 season, a campaign in which Juventus failed to win a trophy. He said at the time: "It is the right moment for me to step aside. I will not sign for any other club. The club tried to convince me to stay but I refused. They even offered me the job of technical director, but I believe it is time for a wonderful story to end."
Success at Juve
Lippi enjoyed a wonderful first spell in charge of Juventus between 1994 and 1999, winning the Scudetto three times as well as the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup, the European/South American Cup and the Coppa Italia. An unsuccessful period with FC Internazionale followed before a return to Turin in 2001. Two more league titles were won and Juve reached another Champions League final, losing to AC Milan.