Goal.com’s Adrian Del Monte looks at the life of the new coach of Juventus, who will be keen to take his former club back to the top, as he prepares for his first coaching adventure next season.
Name: Ciro Ferrara
Date Of Birth: February 11, 1967 (age 42)
Place Of Birth: Naples, Italy
Playing Position: Centre-Back
Clubs: Napoli (1985-1994), Juventus (1994-2005)
International: Italy (1987-2000)
Coaching: Juventus (2009-?)
The Underrated Talent
Ciro Ferrara will always be remembered as one of the most underrated defenders in the history of the Italian game. For a man who made 272 appearances for Napoli from 1985-1994, and then 307 for Juventus from 1994-2005, Ferrara never had the opportunity to fully prove himself on the international stage.
As a native of Naples, he made his debut for the Partenopei at the tender age of just 18, in a match against Juve that ended 0-0 in May 1985. After managing to hold down a spot in the first team soon after that, Ferrara became an integral part of the squad that would go on to win two Scudetti in 1986/87 and 1989/90.
He earned his first international cap for the Azzurri in June 1987, however his career at the highest level was always going to be a difficult one, with the likes of Franco Baresi, Riccardo Ferri, Pietro Vierchowod, Giuseppe Bergomi, Alessandro Costacurta, Paolo Maldini, Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Nesta all around at some stage throughout his career.
After failing to play a game at Euro 1988, he made his first appearance for the national team at a major tournament at the 1990 World Cup, when he took part in the third place match against England, which Italy won 2-1. Following that and the appointment of Arrigo Sacchi, the promising defender was not taken into consideration, which led to him being snubbed for the 1994 World Cup.
In the summer of 94, he opted to follow his club coach, close friend and mentor Marcello Lippi to Turin, and it wouldn’t take him long to become an immediate success with the Bianconeri. After being handed the captaincy soon after joining the club, Ferrara would go on to win three Scudetti in his first four seasons.
He consequently was given a number of opportunities with the national team, and after being called up by Sacchi regularly for the Euro '96 qualifiers, he unfortunately was ruled out of the tournament because of injury. At the age 29 his international future was at the crossroads, however to his credit he fought back well, and performed consistently in the lead up to the 1998 World Cup. Incredibly he succumbed to yet another injury, which saw him miss another major competition.
Ferrara was included in the Italian squad for Euro 2000, and after making one appearance against Sweden in the group stage; his international career was officially over. From this point, his performances and consistency slowly began to drop, and he decided to hang up his boots with Juventus following the 2004/05 season.
Since the completion of his playing days, Ferrara joined Lippi as part of the technical staff of the national team. Despite not playing, he was a deserved member of Italy’s successful World Cup winning group of 2006, as he was in charge of a defence that conceded just two goals in seven games - those being a freak own goal and a disputed penalty.
Following the triumph though, Lippi resigned, which meant that Ferrara was yet again out of a job. It was at this point that he rejoined Juventus as the director of the club’s youth program, before crossing back to the Azzurri in 2008 to reunite with Lippi as an assistant coach, following Italy’s failure to perform at the Euros.
On May 18, 2009, Ferrara was appointed as the interim coach of the Bianconeri, following the sacking of Claudio Ranieri. With just two rounds remaining, he made no mistake by leading his side to convincing victories over both Siena (3-0) and Lazio (2-0) respectively.
At the conclusion of the 2008/09 Serie A season, a number of experienced heads were being linked with the top job at Juventus. These included Luciano Spalletti and Antonio Conte, both of whom seem destined to move to a top Italian club at some stage in the future. On June 5 at 19:00 CET though, Juventus formally announced the appointment of Ciro Ferrara as the permanent head coach for the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons.
The Old Lady were thrilled with their decision to employ the inexperienced, yet extremely knowledgeable former star of the club. The general manager Jean-Claude Blanc, who spoke about his appointment following the announcement, echoed these thoughts in an interview:
“We met with various candidates, and then we made our decision. The decision was based on Ciro's qualities, from his character, availability and his heart, he was the right man for the job,” Blanc said.
The 42-year-old coach will do all he can to ensure that the club return to their glories of previous years, which sees them with the most Scudetti to their name after 77 seasons of Italian football. With Fabio Cannavaro returning from Real Madrid, Diego signed from Werder Bremen and Udinese’s Gaetano D’Agostino seemingly on his way, the future is bright for Ferrara and for Juventus.
Did You Know?
- Ferrara lived next door to Diego Maradona during his time at Napoli.
- He is renowned for having an excellent singing voice. This can be heard on the Juventus squad's recording of Lucio Battisti’s classic 'Il Mio Canto Libero'.
- Italian Scudetti (7): 1986/7, 1989/90, 1994/95, 1996/97, 1997/98, 2001/02, 2002/03
- Italian Super Cups (5): 1990, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2003
- Coppa Italia (2): 1986/87, 1994/95
- Champions League (1): 1996
- European Super Cup (1): 1996
- Intercontinental Cup (1): 1996
- UEFA Cup (1): 1988/89
- Intertoto Cup (1): 1999
Adrian Del Monte, Goal.com