Tottenham fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone dies aged 61

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The experienced Italian coach was one of the most respectable names when it comes to improving football players' fitness and strength.

As a member of Antonio Conte's coaching staff since last November, Gian Piero Ventrone is credited with driving a significant increase in the players' fitness.

Gian Piero Ventrone's rigorous physical workout

His most well-known performance at the club occurred during the club's pre-season tour of Seoul as he put the team through a grueling workout in 30C heat that left many of them on the ground and some of them, notably Harry Kane and Son Heung Min, puking.

Tottenham fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone dies aged 61 Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

The veteran coach has passed away aged 61, as confirmed by the club's official Twitter account. The reason for his death is leukemia, a disease that the 61-year-old coach, whose nickname was ‘The Marine’ given his difficult training sessions had.

Tributes have been paid to the late coach

Tottenham stated on Thursday morning:

‘We are devastated to announce that Gian Piero Ventrone has passed away’.

With grief, they added:

‘As lovable off the pitch as he was demanding on it, Gian Piero quickly became a hugely popular figure with players and staff. He will be greatly missed by everyone at the club and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this impossibly sad time.’
Tottenham fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone dies aged 61

It was clear that the players respected him greatly and understood the significance of his work when Son Heung-min joined him in the celebration after hitting a hat-trick against Leicester on September 17. The Korean striker shared:

‘I have a really, really good relationship with Gian Piero. His English is not perfect, sometimes he is coming with his phone and translating into English from Italian. It means a lot. Not football-wise, I think life-wise he gives me so much advice, which I am really grateful for. He has been so helpful, always giving me a big hug in tough times and even great times he has always been next to me and every staff member.’

Gian Piero Ventrone's career

As a way to show respect, Conte stopped his press meeting on Thursday afternoon that should have previewed Saturday’s game at Brighton. Ventrone, who was brought in by the then-manager Marcello Lippi in 1994 and played a key role in forming the side that won the Champions League in 1996, is someone he has known for many years from their time together as teammates at Juventus.

Ventrone served Juventus for two separate periods, from 1994 to 1999 and 2001 to 2004. He was a part of Lippi's team in 2006 when Italy won the World Cup. He then came back to fitness training in Catania in Italy, Jiangsu Suning, and Guangzhou Evergrande in China after serving as an assistant manager at Ajaccio in France. He then switched to the Spurs.

Tottenham fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone dies aged 61 Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

At Juventus, Ventrone earned the title ‘Marine’. He set up a shame bell that would be rung by the first person to leave. Motivational sayings like ‘winning belongs to the strong’ and ‘work today to run tomorrow’ were repeatedly said by him.

According to Matt Doherty, people can see the adoration that Ventrone received at Spurs. The defender explained:

‘It’s the hardest pre-season I’ve had, not like anything I’ve done before. It’s funny because normally when you have a fitness coach like that who is running you ragged you start to not like him, but we all absolutely love him. We’ve got so much respect for him that we do whatever he tells us to.’

The amazing coach was described as ‘one of the historic names at the club at the turn of the century’ by Juventus. In addition, they said:

‘He employed innovative methods in physical conditioning inspired by modern criteria, which led the way in Italy and abroad.’

The club paid tribute to Ventrone:

‘We will always remember his attention to detail, his work philosophy and perhaps his greatest talent – the understanding that football and especially the fundamental components of conditioning and athleticism was gradually entering a new era. A new era that, in part, he helped write. Ciao, Gian Piero’.

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© Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

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