Who’s Calzona? Former assistant to Sarri in line to interchange Mazzarri at Napoli

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Napoli look set to terminate their working relationship with coach Walter Mazzarri forward of Wednesday’s Champions League Spherical of 16 conflict with Barcelona, and are as a substitute in line to rent Maurizio Sarri’s former assistant Francesco Calzona on a short-term deal till the tip of the season.

Calzona has held only one skilled teaching place throughout his profession in administration, with Slovakia, the place he’s nonetheless presently serving as head coach, however has nicely over a decade’s expertise within the Italian soccer pyramid by his quite a few collaborations with Sarri.

Calzona started his teaching profession as an novice within the Nineteen Nineties, arriving at Tegoleto within the 1999-2000 season. It was on his recommendation that the Tuscan facet determined to rent then-up-and-coming coach Sarri. Calzona stayed on as his assistant.

From there on in, Calzona and Sarri labored collectively at each membership for over 18 years till 2018.

The duo’s first skilled alternative got here in Serie B with Pescara in 2005. That they had additionally labored collectively at Arezzo, Avelino, Hellas Verona, Perugia, Grosseto, Alessandria and Sorrento within the years as much as 2012.

Calzona was Sarri’s assistant at Empoli from the start of the 2012-13 season, incomes promotion from Serie B to Serie A the next marketing campaign. That will be each Calzona and Sarri’s first job within the prime flight since their temporary spell with Verona.

Underneath Sarri and Calzona’s steering, Empoli averted relegation of their first season again in Serie A after a six-year hiatus with a Fifteenth-place end.

In the summertime of 2015, Sarri was appointed as coach of Napoli, changing Rafa Benitez. The Partenopei had been the thirteenth completely different membership the place Sarri and Calzona had labored collectively.

Napoli had been topped Winter Champions for the primary time in 26 years throughout Sarri and Calzona’s first season in cost, They ended the marketing campaign as runners as much as Juventus, whereas Gonzalo Higuain equalled the all-time Serie A document for objectives in a single season with 36.

It was the same story the next season, as Napoli regained their Winter Champions standing and once more completed in second place, this time simply 4 factors behind eventual Scudetto winners Juventus.

On the finish of the 2017-18, Carlo Ancelotti changed Sarri as Napoli head coach.

Just a few months later, Sarri was appointed because the successor to compatriot Antonio Conte at Chelsea. This was the primary time for the reason that 1999-00 marketing campaign that Sarri didn’t appoint Calzona as his assistant.

Calzona took a sabbatical after Napoli, returning to a Serie A dugout simply shy of two years later. He went on to function assistant to Eusebio Di Francesco at Cagliari for the 2020-21 season.

He would return to Napoli in 2021, working as a technical coach beneath Luciano Spalletti. Calzona left the Stadio Maradona the summer season earlier than Napoli’s title successful marketing campaign in 2022-23.

Since then, Calzona has been working as head coach of Slovakia. Up to now, he has overseen 14 matches with a 50% win document, securing qualification to EURO 2024 with a second place end behind Portugal in Group J.

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