Giovanni Trapattoni celebrates his 80th birthday today and all lovers of Calcio should salute a true Italian football icon.
Il Trap spent practically his entire playing career at Milan, making 274 appearances for the Rossoneri from 1957 to 1971, before seeing out his time at Varese for one more season.
He also started management at Milan in caretaker roles, but only really began to flourish once he moved on to Juventus in 1976.
Over a decade in Turin, Trapattoni won six Serie A titles, the European Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup, UEFA Cup, European Supercup, Intercontinental Cup and two editions of the Coppa Italia.
There was another period of success back at San Siro with Inter from 1986 to 1994, dominating the 1988-99 Serie A season with 58 points from a possible 68.
He brought the Nerazzurri the UEFA Cup and Italian Supercup, before returning to Juventus for another UEFA Cup in 1993.
Trap became a hero for Bayern Munich fans during his time there from 1994-98, mainly for his rather unique grasp of the German language, culminating in an iconic speech shouting about the poor work ethic of Basler, Scholl and Strunz.
There were spells with Fiorentina, where he was challenging for the Scudetto until Gabriel Batistuta’s injury and achieved some memorable Champions League results against Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Inevitably, Trapattoni took the Italy job in the summer of 2000, but it was ill-fated, crashing out early in the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004.
It was then that he started globetrotting in search of new experiences at Benfica, Stuttgart, RB Salzburg and most recently the Republic of Ireland team.
He even tried to translate his legendary catchphrase: ‘Non dire gatto se non ce l’hai nel sacco’.
It literally means “don’t say cat unless you have it in your sack,” but in reality is a more bizarre version of “don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched.”