Football News

World Cup-winning coach Marcelo Lippi reveals he came “very close” to joining Spurs

By CJ Smith

Published: 18:22, 9 September 2019

Former Italy boss Marcelo Lippi has revealed he came came “very close” to managing Tottenham Hotspur during his time with Juventus.

The 71-year-old – who led the Azzurri to World Cup glory in 2006 – won five Serie A titles and a Champions League crown during two spells with the Old Lady.

How close was Lippi to joining Spurs? Five things to know…

  • Lippi was in charge of Juve from 1994-99 and 2001-04.
  • The Italian admitted Spurs contacted his son while he was in Turin.
  • But his love for Juve and lack of fluency in English persuaded him to stay put.
  • Lippi is the last manager to win the Champions League with Juve, guiding them to success in 1995/96.
  • He also guided Italy to the 2006 World Cup.

But during his time in Turin, Lippi admits he came close to joining Spurs after an approach from the north London club, only to turn it down due to his love for Juventus and his lack of understanding of the English language at the time.

“Yes, I was very close to Tottenham when I was coaching Juventus,” he said.

“They were very nice to me by contacting my son, Davide. But I didn’t feel like leaving Turin and Juventus. For me, Juve was like Manchester United for [Sir Alex] Ferguson: a unique club that I loved to bits.

“I didn’t speak English well and that was also a reason I declined. Someone told me that Ferguson also didn’t speak English well because he was Scottish!”

Lippi had a famously close relationship with former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson but has admitted he came close to signing his iconic captain, Roy Keane, only for the Irishman to cut negotiations short.

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“I loved Keane,’ he added. “He was very close to moving to Juventus but then failed to negotiate. I also loved [Paul] Scholes: he would have liked it anywhere and always played.

“[Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer was very good as a player and I hope he will do very well as a coach: he deserves it.”

Lippi is currently enjoying his second spell in charge of the Chinese national team, winning all three of his games since returning to replace Fabio Cannavaro in May.