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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Simone Inzaghi

Updated: May 2

Simone Inzaghi played for Lazio from 1999 to 2010 and was manager from 2016 to 2021.

Source Wikipedia

Inzaghi was born in Piacenza, on April 5, 1976. He started his career in his hometown where he went through the youth sector. In 1994 he was loaned to nearby Carpi in Serie C1 where he played 15 games with 3 goals. In 1995 he was loaned to Novara in Serie C2 and played 30 games with 5 goals, the "Azzurri" won the league. In 1996 he was loaned to Lumezzane in C2 where he played 26 games with 6 goals and "Lume" also won the league.


Having gained some experience in the lower divisions he returned to Piacenza in Serie A in 1997 but, after one game in Coppa Italia, he was then again loaned this time to Brescello in C1, where he played 23 games with10 goals.


In 1998 he was considered ready to play full-time for Piacenza in Serie A. He had a good season for the "Il Piace". He played 30 league games and scored an impressive 15 goals (including one against Lazio). The manager was former Lazio, Giuseppe Materazzi and the "Lupi" came 13th.


The following year he signed for Lazio. It was the beginning of a long love affair. He stayed a first spell of six years playing 153 games with 53 goals (League 27, Coppa Italia 6, Champions League 15, UEFA Cup 5). He won a Scudetto (2000), 2 Coppa Italias (2000, 2004), an Italian Supercoppa (2000) and a European Super Cup (1999).


In the Scudetto year he played 22 league games and scored 7 goals (Cagliari, Torino, Lecce, Milan, Inter, Venezia and Reggina). His goal against Inter was particularly important as it re-opened a match where Lazio were 2-0 down with 7 minutes to go and eventually drew. He also opened the scoring in the last decisive game against Reggina. Another goal to remember is his goal in a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea and of course his four in the same match in a 5-1 drubbing of Marseille.


In his first six years he played under managers; Sven Goran Eriksson, Dino Zoff, Alberto Zaccheroni, Roberto Mancini, Mimmo Caso and Giuseppe Papadopulo. He played alongside great strikers such as Alen Boksic, Cristian Vieri, Mancini, Marcelo Salas, Hernan Crespo, Bernardo Corradi. As a consequence he was not always first choice but usually got a fair number of games.


In the 2004-05 season Lazio were struggling under Caso and then Papadopulo, and Inzaghi was loaned to Sampdoria for six months. The Blucerchiati had a good season under Walter Novellino and came 5th but Inzaghi only played 5 league games and 2 in Coppa Italia with no goals.


In 2005-06 he was back at Lazio for his second spell. In two years under Delio Rossi he played 14 games with 1 goal (in Coppa Italia versus Cittadella). Lazio had a good season coming 6th but were then docked 30 points for the betting scandal and so missed out on Europe.


The following season was excellent and Lazio came 3rd qualifying for the Champions League. Inzaghi however was not involved as in 2007-08 he went to Atalanta on loan for a season. He played 19 league games with no goals under Luigi Del Neri.


In 2008-09 he was back at Lazio for his third and last spell, as a player anyway. He stayed another two seasons. In the first, under Delio Rossi, he played 9 league games with 1 goal (Lecce) and 1 game in Coppa Italia. Lazio won the Coppa Italia beating Sampdoria on penalties in the final. In his second and last year, first under Davide Ballardini and then Edy Reja, Inzaghi only played 3 league games. Lazio again won silverware, this time the Italian Supercoppa, beating Mourinho's "triplete" Inter 2-1 in Beijing.


At this point at 34 and struggling with back problems Inzaghi retired.


At international level he played 4 games with the U18's and 3 full Italian caps. In one he even played alongside his brother Filippo (against Spain).


He retired as a player but soon opened another chapter as a manager. He went into the Lazio youth sector and did well winning two U19's Coppa Italia and a Supercoppa. In 2015-16 he was promoted to the first team for the last seven matches following Stefano Pioli's sacking.


The following year the new manager was supposed to be charismatic Argentinian Marcelo Bielsa but the "El Loco", living up to his reputation, resigned even before arriving. Plan B came into action and it was Simone Inzaghi.


He stayed five years with two 5th places, 8th, 4th and 6th. In 2020 with 4th place he got Lazio back in the Champions League after a 13 year absence. That year, without the Covid-19 interruption, many pundits think Lazio would have won the Scudetto. In his time in Rome he did however win 3 trophies; a Coppa Italia (2019 vs Atalanta) and two Supercoppe (2017, 2019 both vs Juventus). He is the only person to have won both domestic cups as a player and manager. He also has the longest unbeaten run at Lazio, 21 games. On the down side he received criticism for his inability to read games and make corrective changes in negative situations. His departure from Lazio was also far from transparent. He gave the impression he was staying on and had even planned the transfer market with Igli Tare before he suddenly jetted off to Inter at the last moment. He was obviously playing at two tables all along.


So in 2021 he made his sudden and controversial move to Inter. He has done well in three seasons: Scudetto, Coppa Italia, three Supercoppe and a Champions League final.


As a player Inzaghi was a striker. He is 1.83 for 80 kilos but he was not a strong or physical player. He was not a talent but like his brother Pippo, he was a goal scorer. He had good positioning and was quick over short distances, enough to pounce on loose balls or beat the offside trap. He did not have any particularly strong points but as I said he scored goals and that is certainly not a defect.


Personally I was never a big fan of Inzaghi, the player, as when I went through the abilities of a striker; header, dribbling, shot, strength etc, he did not seem to possess any, apart from opportunism. For me he was most useful in procuring free kicks for Sinisa Mihajlovic to curl in. But it's a personal opinion and to be fair you don't score 55 goals for a team at top level without some skills even if its just opportunism. He is also Lazios's second top scorer in Europe with 20 goals (only behind Immobile).


As a manager he has been successful. He favours the 3-5-2 formation which can transform into a 5-3-2 when not in possession. He is known for his versatility, passion and familiar tactics. They served him well at Lazio in his five years and he has won a scudetto with Inter.


Lazio Career

Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

UEFA Cup

UEFA Super Cup

1999-00

40 (19)

22 (7)

6 (3)

11 (9)

-

1

2000-01

23 (7)

13 (4)

1

9 (3)

-

-

2001-02

28 (6)

20 (5)

2 (1)

6

-

-

2002-03

29 (9)

18 (4)

3 (1)

-

8 (4)

-

2003-04

33 (10)

24 (6)

4 (1)

5 (3)

-

-

2004-Jan 2005

16 (2)

12 (1)

1

-

3 (1)

-

2005-06

9 (1)

7

2 (1)

-

-

-

2006-07

5

5

-

-

-

-

2008-09

10 (1)

9 (1)

1

-

-

-

2009-10

3

3

-

-

-

-

Total

196 (55)

133 (28)

20 (7)

31 (15)

11 (5)

1

Sources


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