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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Giuseppe Viani

Giuseppe Viani is one of the most famous Italian managers of all time. He is the fifth all time coach as far as appearances are concerned (639). He was also a well-known player.

Giuseppe Viani is second from left. Source Wikipedia

Viani was born in Nervesa della Battaglia, near Treviso, on September 13, 1909. He started his career with Olympia Treviso in  the third division and then with Treviso in the first division. In 1928 he signed for Ambrosiana Inter and debuted in the new Serie A on October 6, 1929 in the game won against Livorno in Milan. That year Ambrosiana won the scudetto and he made 31 appearances with one goal.


He stayed in Milan for six seasons before moving to Lazio in 1934. He remained until 1938 playing 125 games (114 in Serie A, 5 in Coppa Italia and six in the Mitropa Cup) with one goal. After Lazio he played for Livorno and Juventus and ended his career with Salernitana in 1943.


As he was finishing his active football, the secretary of the Italian Federation advised him to start a  career as a manager and he did so, becoming player manager for Siracusa in 1940-41 and then for Salernitana in 1941-43, in both stints he won the Serie C championship. After, he was head coach at Benevento in 1945 and then BDP Colleferro a year later. He had a very long managerial career with various teams: Salernitana (winning a Serie B championship), Lucchese, Palermo, Roma (in Serie B, winning the Serie B championship), Bologna, Milan, Genoa, Bologna and Udinese. With Milan he won the scudetto three times (1956-57, 1958-59, 1961-62) and the European Cup in 1962-63, beating Benfica in the final at Wembley. In 1958 he lost the final to Real Madrid.


He was also head coach for Italy in 1958 and in 1960 and was Technical Director for the Olympic team.


He was a great midfield player. He was good at defending and as a playmaker, was able to use both feet and was also tall, so good on high balls. Together with Attilio Ferraris IV and Octavio Fantoni II, he was part of  a great midfield in his years at Lazio.


As a manager he was a pioneer. Some consider him the inventor of the libero. His teams played differently to the others. The style of the usual classic big centre forward, with the wingers sending balls into the box was changed and he used his midfielders a lot more, creating confusion in the opposing defences. This new system of play was called Vianema in his name.


He died in Ferrara on January 6, 1969, from a heart attack just as he was negotiating a job at Lazio. President Umberto Lenzini had chosen him as Sports Director. Alas it never happened.

Lazio Career


Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Mitropa Cup












32 (1)

27 (1)









125 (1)

114 (1)





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