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Zidane, Italy, eternal interim… Five things to know about Igor Tudor, OM’s new boss

Igor Tudor, new OM coach Andrea Staccioli / Insidefoto / PANORAMIC

PORTRAIT – Successor to Jorge Sampoli on the OM bench, the former Croatian international is still little known on this side of the Alps. Discovery.

It is related to Italy

Born in the city of Split, on the Dalmatic coast of Croatia which has a rich Italian culture and deep historical ties with Italy, Igor Tudor is a former Croatian international (55 caps) who played in the 1998 World Cup in France , with a third place in the key, and also the 2006 World Cup, which marks the end of his international era with a final cape against Australia, June 22). He was voted Croatian Player of the Year in 2001.

While trained at Hadjuk Split, Tudor has mostly spent most of his career in Serie A where he played seven seasons at Juventus and two at Siena for a total of 159 appearances in the Italian top flight. A former defender, he made a name for himself there in the 2000s by achieving the Italian Championship/Super Cup double in 2002 and 2003.

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He played with Zidane

Lilian Thuram, David Trezeguet, Didier Deschamps… Igor Tudor rubbed shoulders with many French players when he wore the colors of the Bianconeri but Zinédine Zidane remains the tricolor with whom the Croatian gets along the best. As a symbol, he is about to take the reins of the Marseille club, the birthplace of his former teammate.

When Andrea Pirlo, then coach of Juventus in 2020, was in an ejection seat, the Italian media were already campaigning for a return of “Zizou” to Turin as a coach. The idea of ​​forming a duo with the Croatian was felt by many tifosi and journalists from Piedmont, while Tudor was already present in the staff of Pirlo.

Igor Tudor against Ronaldinho at the 2006 World Cup JB Autissier / fep / Panoramic

He never stayed more than two years on a bench

The big black spot on Igor Tudor’s CV remains instability. He never knew how to install his project in the long term. In Italy, the Croatian has long been considered “the duty fireman” Where “the eternal interim” who comes to save the furniture, restore order and maintain a club in Serie A before packing up. His longest experience on a bench? At Hajduk Split, between April 2013 and February 2015.

Eight months at PAOK, seven months at Karabükspor in Turkey, ten months at Galatasaray in 2017, only four small matches at Udinese in 2018 before returning there in 2019 to stay seven months. A return to Split then in 2020, from January to August. In Verona, he stayed nine months before leaving by mutual agreement with his management.

Igor Tudor during a training session in Galatasaray. Seskim / Panoramic

Very attacking football

At Hellas Verona, with his stretched 3-4-3 or 3-4-2-1, Igor Tudor based his philosophy on the attack with a strong block in the axis, notably composed of the former Niçois Adrien Tameze . A system remarkable for its high pressing, its aggressiveness, its intense rhythm on the counter-attack but also its imbalance with a defense that is sometimes too reliable. “As a former defender, I say I try to attack, to be proactive. The difference today as a coach is that you will have an idea and try to transmit it to those who train. I am against throwing long balls, I tend to play. he explained to the Gazetta dello Sport in 2018, citing Gian Piero Gasperini as a role model.

The Croatian coach knows how to get the most out of his attacking players like the trio Gianluca Caprari, Antonin Barak and Giovanni Simeone, one of the most prolific tridents last season with 40 goals. He is a character coach close to his players who focuses his management on the mind, toughness and austerity.

He has never coached in the Champions League

Another concern that could emerge in Marseille, Igor Tudor has never led a single Champions League meeting as a coach. If his experience of major competitions is no longer to be proven as a player (World, Euro, Champions League), the preparation is not the same, sitting on a bench giving instructions to eleven players.

When we know that OM are back in the Champions League this year and that all the people of Marseille are hoping for better results than in 2014 (last in their group with 0 points) and than in 2021 (last in their group with 3 points ), the arrival of Tudor on the Marseille bench will not erase – a priori – the ghosts of past failures on the Olympian club side.

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