- Birthplace: San Vincenzo, Tuscany, Italy
- Previous Clubs: Acireale, Pistoiese, Livorno, Reggina, Sampdoria, Napoli
- Honours: Coppa Italia: 2012
2013/14 Italian Serie A Record
Walter Mazzarri began his journey in football as a product of Fiorentina's youth system. He became a journeyman, playing for 11 different teams through his 14-year career.
After a similarly indifferent start to his career as a coach, Mazzarri eventually found his breakthrough to play on the biggest stage with Napoli. Stepping in at Internazionale in the summer of 2013, Mazzarri has a tough job of lifting the Nerazzurri to be title challengers once again.
Mazzarri didn't actually start his professional football career at Fiorentina. Before he was deemed good enough to play for the first-team he was taken away by Pescara , who gave him his professional debut in 1981. He had a good season with the club, but moved onto Cagliari for the briefest of spells before Reggiana took him in.
A year at Reggiana was followed by a return to Fiorentina. He never played for his old club though, and the midfielder then spent five seasons at Empoli, where he showed his talents and notched a handful of goals. After his time at Empoli came to an end he fluttered around between Licata, Modena, Nola, and Viareggio, before settling in at Acireale for two seasons. Mazzarri then ended his career with a year at S.E.F. Torres in the 1994-1995 season, having never left Italy.
In 1998, Mazzarri was beginning his managerial journey as assistant at Napoli under Renzo Ulivieri. He got his first taste of management in Itay's Serie C2 with Acireale, where he had spent two seasons as a player. A short stay was followed by a move back to Tuscany with Pistoiese, and later Livorno -- who he managed to guide to promotion to Serie A.
Mazzarri had now developed a reputation, and Reggina were quick to recruit him, it proved to be an excellent decision. He kept Reggina in Serie A for three consecutive seasons, the last of those after overcoming an 11-point deduction.
His incredible three years at Reggina landed him the job at Sampdoria, where he enjoyed moderate success. He led Samp to UEFA Cup qualification in his first season, and the Coppa Italia final in his second. However, he left the club by mutual consent at the end of the 2008-2009 campaign as results had begun to fail him slightly.
On October 6, 2009 he replaced Roberto Donadoni at Napoli, and found himself in the perfect surroundings to flourish with a new style of football and some exciting players in his squad. Mazzarri adopted a 3-5-2 formation, with Napoli's quick counter-attacking style making a real impact in Italy. With the signing of Edinson Cavani from Palermo in 2010, he had a devastating attacking trio of the Uruguay international, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik, who blew away a lot of the competition.
His first season at Napoli was spent rebuilding, but he then took the club from strength to strength. In 2010-11, Napoli finished 3rd in Serie A, which was followed up with a 5th-place finish, due to the pressure of balancing domestic and Champions League commitments. But in his final season, Napoli were at their fiery best, finishing runners-up to Juventus and producing some impressive displays in Eruope.
Mazzarri had successfully raised his own profile and helped in the rebirth of Napoli but he left the club on May 19, and five days later he was officially appointed as the new Inter Milan manager, as Andrea Stramaccioni left the Italian giants.
Now Mazzarri has perhaps the toughest job in his career, trying to steady the ship at Inter Milan, who haven't kept a manager for longer than one season since Jose Mourinho's tenure at the club ended in 2010.
Strengths: An authoritative figure, he commands the respect of his players without being dictatorial. Confident in front of the media, Mazzarri is a no-nonsense manager who has no shortage of self-belief.
Weaknesses: Tends to stick to the same 3-5-2 formation and shows little flexibility in his tactical approach, meaning it can be easy to plan for games against his teams.
Career high: In terms of prestige, it is leading Napoli into the Champions League twice, particularly coming second last season. But in terms of achievements, saving Reggina from relegation in 2007 despite having had 11 points docked was an outstanding feat.
Career low: Finishing 13th in Serie A with Sampdoria in 2009, having come sixth the year before, and also suffering defeat to Lazio in the Coppa Italia final that same season.
Tactics: A very rigid 3-5-2 formation that occasionally becomes a 3-4-1-1 -- it is even rarer for him to employ four at the back.
Quotes: "People say I'm unpleasant? That's because I can't fake being friendly. I'm friendly with people who are friendly. People are not used to hearing people say what they actually think. There's too much hypocrisy." Mazzarri on his approach to management, and life.
Trivia: Mazzarri is very superstitious. He took his team out for a meal on the same night of the week in the same restaurant with the very same menu four weeks running as his Napoli side won four games in a row. And he paid the bill each time. He even wore just a thin white shirt on a wet night in winter because, once, he took his jacket off and his side, who were 2-0 down to Juve, won 3-2.
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