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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Manager Series: Giuseppe Materazzi

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Giuseppe Materazzi was manager at Lazio for two seasons 1988-89 and 1989-90 and Lazio came 11th and 9th respectively.

Source Wikipedia

Materazzi was born in Arborea, Sardinia, on January 9, 1946. He had a decent career as a midfielder and played in the Juventus youth teams between 1962 and 1967. After a year at Tempio in Serie D, he played for Lecce in Serie C for seven seasons, appearing in 262 games. He was also skipper for the Giallorossi. In 1975-76 he signed for Reggina, again in Serie C, and the next season moved to Bari. Here he stayed for two years, the second of which played in Serie B. His last season in active football was in 1978-79 in Serie D with Ceretese.

Ceretese is where he started his very long career as a manager. He was their head coach from 1979 to 1981 in Serie C2. After a couple of years as manager of Bari’s Primavera, he became head coach at Rimini in Serie C2 for the 1983-84 season. He got fired after only a few games but then was later called back and managed to avoid relegation.

In 1984 he was at Benevento in C1 and from 1985 to 1987 at Casertana where he just missed out on promotion to Serie B. In 1987 he was surprisingly called to manage Pisa in Serie A. With one game to the end of the season, the Pisani were second from last on 22 points together with Avellino (two teams went down that year). Pisa won their last match and Avellino drew so Pisa stayed in Serie A for another year. The team included Dunga, Brazilian star who would go on to win a World Cup in 1994, and Claudio Sclosa who would join Materazzi at Lazio.

In 1988 Lazio had been promoted to Serie A, after a difficult three years of Serie B hell, but in July President Gianmarco Calleri had a fall out with manager Eugenio Fascetti and sacked him. He chose Materazzi as the next manager.

That Lazio were not particularly competitive.. They had some very good players (Ruben Sosa, Paolo Di Canio), but the team had been built with Fascetti’s idea of football so it was obvious there were going to be problems during the course of the year. Lazio drew loads of games (19!) and did not win many (just 5). They had a good defence but did not score much (only 23 goals in 34 games). With two games to the end of the season Pisa and Como were doomed and the other teams involved in the fight to stay in Serie A were Cesena on 27 points, Lazio 26, Torino and Pescara 25. The penultimate match was Lazio Sampdoria and the Biancocelesti really needed the two points. They won the game thanks to a rare league goal from Abel Dezotti so all that was needed was a point at Ascoli to stay in Serie A. Since the Bianconeri also needed a point to avoid relegation a goalless draw was the inevitable result.

The highlight of the season was undoubtedly winning the derby after ten years with a Di Canio goal, but also the two draws against the mighty AC Milan of Arrigo Sacchi were to be remembered.

For the 1989-90 season Lazio had ambition. A UEFA Cup qualification was a possibility and in the end Lazio did actually go close, missing out by just three points, but 15 draws were too many to have any kind of ambition. Materazzi started being called Mister 0-0 and the fans were not happy with the way the Biancocelesti were playing. There were a couple of highlights that year. Lazio won away against Milan thanks to a Paolo Maldini own goal (Lazio would not win again in the league against Milan until November 2019!!!) and a 3-0 win against Diego Maradona’s Napoli who would become champions at the end of the season.

It was time to move on and Lazio replaced Materazzi with Dino Zoff.

After the Lazio experience Materazzi managed Messina in Serie B (12th place) and in 1991 he went back to Caserta but could not avoid Casertana’s relegation to Serie C1. He then was head coach for Bari for four seasons. He started in Serie B substituting Sebastiao Lazaroni (Brazil manager in the 1990 World Cup) and arriving 10th. In the 1993-94 season Bari got promoted to Serie A and he kept them there the following year too. In the 1995-96 season, Bari started well, even beating Fabio Capello’s Milan, but five consecutive defeats cost him his job. He was replaced by Eugenio Fascetti.

In 1996 he became manager of Padova in Serie B but was sacked in March 1997. In 1997 he managed Brescia in Serie A for ten games and the following season he was at Piacenza. Piacenza managed to stay in Serie A and their star player that year was a very young Simone Inzaghi.

In 1999 he tried a new adventure aboard with Sporting Lisbon but this only lasted a month. Back in Italy he became head coach of Venezia but was sacked after three games. In 2001 he was called up by Cagliari in Serie B but could not help them to promotion. In 2002 he was head coach at Crotone for 13 games but the Calabrian team was relegated to Serie C1. After an experience in China with Tianjin Teda in 2003, Materazzi went back to Bari in March 2007 in Serie B, he was confirmed also for the 2007-08 season but was sacked after 19 games.

He was head coach for Olympiakos Volos in Greece for the 2008-09 season but was fired in March. In 2010 his job at Brasov in Romania’s Liga 1 lasted just three days. In 2016 he became manager for Lazio’s Women Team.

In the last years of his career he was also technical director for a number of minor teams: Atletico Arezzo, Treviso, Olbia, Foggia, Robur Siena, Casertana and Bisceglie.

Materazzi is the father of Marco Materazzi, World Champion 2006, and Monia, wife of Tommaso Maestrelli’s son Maurizio who died in 2011.

Materazzi’s Lazio was very, very defensive. Perhaps the team did not have the quality to do any better but 34 draws in two seasons were really too many. But he was a likeable person, very well prepared and dedicated. Perhaps he was the right man at the right time for a team that was growing and needed initial stability.



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