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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Luigi Di Biagio

Luigi Di Biagio was born in Rome, on June 3, 1971. He has always been known as Gigi.

Source Lazio Wiki

He started playing football as a kid with Lazio. He went through all the youth sector age groups and joined the first team in the 1988-89 season.


The manager was Giuseppe Materazzi and Di Biagio made his Serie A debut on June 11, 1989 in a 2-4 away defeat to Juventus. It would remain his one and only game for Lazio.


In 1989-90 he joined Monza in Serie B. He played 7 league games under Pierluigi Frosio but the Brianzoli were relegated.


In 1990-91 he played 12 league games and 1 in Coppa Italia. Monza finished 7th and won the Serie Coppa Italia. The manager was first Franco Varella and then Giovanni Trainini. One of his teammates was former Lazio Paolo Mandelli.


The 1991-92 season was his last in Brianza. The Biancorossi finished 2nd and won promotion to Serie B under Trainini. Di Biagio played 27 league games with 1 goal (Alessandria).


In 1992 he signed for Foggia in Serie A. The manager was Zdenek Zeman and these were still the Foggiani's best years. The Rossoneri finished 12th and Di Biagio played 30 league games with 5 goals (Genoa, Torino, Inter, Cagliari, Fiorentina) and 4 games in Coppa Italia.  Foggia beat Parma, Lazio, Juventus and Fiorentina amongst others.


In 1993-94 Foggia finished 9th and Di Biagio played 28 league games with 3 goals (Inter home and away, Lazio) and 5 games in Coppa Italia with 1 goal (Triestina). Foggia's wins included a 4-1 home win over Lazio. His teammates included, former Lazio, Giovanni Stroppa and, future Lazio, José Antonio Chamot.


In 1994-95 Zeman left for Lazio but Di Biagio stayed one more year. The "Satanelli" were relegated under Enrico Catuzzi and Di Biagio played 29 league games with 4 goals (Sampdoria, Bari, Milan, Bari) and 6 games in Coppa Italia with 2 goals (Torino, Parma). Foggia reached the semi-finals of the domestic cup but lost to Parma 2-4 on aggregate.


In 1995-96 Di Biagio came back to Rome but joined Roma. He stayed four seasons. Roma finished 5th (UC), 12th, 4th (UC) and 5th (UC). His managers were Carlo Mazzone the first year, Carlos Bianchi and then Nils Liedholm the second and Zeman for the last two. Di Biagio played 114 league games with 15 goals (Cremonese, Inter, Cagliari, Verona, Atalanta, Lecce home and away, Napoli, Brescia x2, Milan x2, Salernitana, Venezia, Bari), 9 in Coppa Italia with 2 goals (Verona home and away) and 17 in the UEFA Cup with 1 goal (Atlético Madrid). In his time with Roma he played 10 derbies against his boyhood club Lazio, winning 1, drawing 4 and losing 5.


In 1999 he left Roma and joined Inter. He stayed four seasons. In the first under Marcello Lippi Inter finished 4th (in CL after playoff with Parma). They reached the final of Coppa Italia but lost 1-2 on aggregate to Lazio who won the double. Di Biagio played 29 league games with 1 goal (Lazio…in 2-2 draw) and 7 games in Coppa Italia.


In 2000-01 Lippi was sacked after one league game and Marco Tardelli took over. Inter finished 5th (UC). They lost the Italian Supercoppa final 3-4 to Lazio. Di Biagio played 32 league games with 4 goals (Napoli, Juventus, Milan, Bologna), 3 games in Coppa with 1 goal (Lecce) and 9 in Europe (1 CL + 8 UC). His teammates included, former Lazio, Christian Vieri and Vladimir Jugovic, future Lazio Cristian Brocchi plus past and future Marco Ballotta.


In 2001-02 Argentine Héctor Cúper arrived as manager. Inter threw away the Scudetto, in the last game of the season, losing 2-4 away to Lazio on the infamous May 5. Di Biagio played 31 league games with 3 goals (Lecce, Atalanta, Lazio), 2 games in Coppa Italia and 9 in the UEFA Cup with 1 goal (Braşov). Inter reached the semis in Europe but lost 2-3 on aggregate to Feyenoord. His teammates included former Lazio Sérgio Conceição.


The 2002-03 season would be his last with the Nerazzurri. Cuper stayed on and Inter finished 2nd (CL). They also arrived in the semi-final of the current competition but lost to city rivals Milan on away goals. Di Biagio played 25 league games with 4 goals (Piacenza x2, Parma, Como) and 16 in the Champions League with 3 goals (Sporting Lisbon, Bayer Leverkusen x2). He played alongside past Lazio connections Matías Almeyda, Hernan Crespo plus Vieri and Conceição.


In the summer of 2003, he joined Brescia in Serie A. The manager was Gianni De Biasi and the "Rondinelle" (The Little Swallows) finished 11th. Di Biagio played 31 games with 7 goals (Reggina, Parma, Empoli, Perugia, Lazio, Parma, Udinese). His teammates included, future Lazio, Francelino Matuzalem, Marius Stankevicius, Simone Del Nero and Antonio Filippini plus the great Roberto Baggio.


In 2004-05 De Biasi started but was then replaced by Antonio Cavasin. The Leonessa was relegated. Di Biagio played 34 league games with 9 goals (Parma, Brescia, Bologna, Parma, Siena, Atalanta, Palermo, Reggina, Messina) plus 2 games in Coppa Italia with 2 goals (Fiorentina home and away). His most prolific season yet but ending badly at team level. His teammates included Matias Almeyda and future Lazio Giuseppe Sculli.


The 2005-06 would be his last at Brescia. The Biancazzurri first under Rolando Maran (1-31) and then Zdenek Zeman (32-42) finished 10th. Di Biagio played 19 league games and 2 in Coppa Italia with 1 goal (Milan).


In January 2007 he signed for Ascoli in Serie B. The manager was Nedo Sonetti but the "Picchio" was relegated. Di Biagio played 7 league games with 2 goals.


He then called it a day and retired at 36.


Di Biagio had a good international career. He represented Italy at all the age group levels. He won 31 full Italy caps and scored 2 goals (Cameroon, Sweden). He played in the 1998 World Cup (unfortunately missing the decisive penalty in shootout with France in the last 16), the 2002 World Cup and in the 2000 European Championship (Italy again lost to France, this time in the final to a Trezeguet golden goal in extra-time).


After retiring he started a career as a manager. He started at youth level with local Roman clubs La Storta and Atletico Roma before taking on the Italy U20 job in 2011. In 2013 he was promoted to the U21's where he stayed six years, winning a European Championship bronze medal in 2017. In 2018 he was even Italy manager for two friendlies, between Gianpiero Ventura and Roberto Mancini's tenures.


In February 2020 he took over from Leonardo Semplici at SPAL in Serie A. He was unable to save the Estensi who were relegated. His assistant was former Lazio Massimo Mutarelli and his players included Lazio connections Sergio Floccari, Alessandro Murgia, Mohamed Fares and Etrit Berisha.


In August 2023 Di Biagio became manager of Dinamo Tirana in the Albanian top league but resigned in October.


In between jobs he has also worked in punditry for the main networks showing football.


Di Biagio was a midfielder. He usually had more defensive tasks but was also dangerous on free kicks and a good penalty taker. He could also be employed as a playmaker and even as a central defender. He had a powerful long range shot and despite his height (1.75) was good in the air. He was a tough player, as his 12 red cards and 100 yellow confirm. He played 391 games in Serie A with 58 goals. He was not lucky with trophies, only winning a promotion to Serie B with Monza.


At Lazio he was one that got away. After grooming him Lazio let him go and it would later be a regret especially seeing him go to rivals Roma. He was never hated as much as many Roma players however, maybe because of his roots, more of an errant child, or maybe for his affable, gentle character. It also helped that he never said a bad word against Lazio.

Lazio Career


Serie A Appearances





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