Filippo and Simone Inzaghi, a Tale of Two Coaching Brothers

Italian football has had it’s a fair share of footballing families, with the Maldini, the Baresi, the Cannavaro, and the Inzaghi being some of the most famous.

All of the above-mentioned managed to make a name for themselves during their playing careers but only the latter made Italian football history by becoming the first two coaches from the same family to sit atop both the Serie A and B concurrently.

The Inzaghi brothers – who are currently coaching Lazio and Benevento – can’t stop winning, neither of them having dropped a single point since the end of November.

Filippo and Simone Inzaghi were born in Piacenza three years apart from each other and both started their footballing careers at their hometown club. They both chose to be strikers and both had a very similar style of play, but Filippo had a much more remarkable career. The two siblings’ trophy cabinet is incomparable, with Pippo racking up a lot more silverware than his younger brother.

Filippo Inzaghi was one of the best strikers of his era, scoring goals for fun in his spells at Juventus, Milan, and the Italian national team. Often underrated or considered lucky, Pippo made up for his lack of skill or power with his footballing intelligence and an incredible eye for goal.

Arsene Wenger once called Francis Jeffers a “fox in the box.” This description remained iconic but for the wrong reasons as the English wunderkind never fulfilled his potential and the expression has ever since been used ironically. But this would be the perfect way to describe Filippo Inzaghi, a poacher in the purest sense of the word who – as many said – literally lived on the offside line.

Constantly swarming in the penalty box, he often seemed out of touch with the game and defenders neglected him. That’s when Pippo popped out of nowhere and did what he knew best, score goals. He was often blamed for diving and his style of play was not everybody’s cup of tea, but hate him or love him you can’t deny his efficiency and winning mentality.

With a World Cup, two Champions Leagues and every domestic trophy to his name Pippo is also Milan’s top goalscorer in the European competitions. Now, that’s a career to remember.

Simone, on the other hand, didn’t shine as much as his older brother but was no stranger to success either. He managed to win the Coppa Italia on three occasions, the Italian Supercoppa two times and the Serie A once. All of the trophies were won during his time at Lazio, a club which the young Inzaghi dedicated almost all of his playing career to.

He played for the Biancocelesti for 11 years and ever since his retirement has remained in the capital city coaching every Primavera (youth club) side until his appointment as senior team manager in April 2016. Except for a brief stint in which Marcelo Bielsa took over the team but left after only a few days, Simone has been in charge of Lazio’s destiny ever since and this seems to be the key to their success.

Every season has built on the last with Lazio reaching the domestic cup final in 2017 and finishing runners up to Juventus. After that, Lazio won the Supercup and finally managed to win the Coppa Italia last season, adding another Supercup shortly after.

It all looks like uphill for Simone and his men with this season being one of the most exciting ever since their last Scudetto triumph way back in the 1999-2000 season under Sven Goran Eriksson. Aside from the very similar kit, there is another common element between the two campaigns and that’s exactly Simone Inzaghi, who two decades ago lifted Lazio’s only second Seria A trophy as a player.

With a squad consisting of very much the same players ever since his appointment and a system which they know inside out, Lazio are on their longest unbeaten streak in the league ever and don’t seem to be slowing down. With Ciro Immobile being Italy and Europe’s top scorer, Angel Correa a trusted sidekick and Felipe Caicedo having turned into something of a super-sub, Lazio’s attacking force is lethal and the defense seems on point also.

Simone’s men management has been a crucial part in this year’s performances as he turned the squad into one big family. Everybody knows his role in the team and is happy with it. Every player fights until the final whistle and, even though Juve can climb back up to the top spot if they win the postponed Derby d’Italia, there’s no reason to believe that Lazio can’t overtake them again.

Further down in the South, the Streghe from Benevento are having a dream season under the helm of Filippo Inzaghi, topping the Serie B with 17 points ahead of second-placed Frosinone. After failing to be promoted during the last season, Benevento trusted Inzaghi to guide them back to the top-flight.

This was a risky decision as Filippo’s managerial career had been fairly inconsistent up to the point and his last job as coach of Bologna was disastrous with just 2 wins in 21 games. But the Milan legend proved to be the best choice as he is bossing the league and looks well set to win it well before it is over.

Pippo’s career as a manager started in the 2012-13 season when he signed a two-year deal with Milan being named coach of the Primavera side. After two years in charge, the Milan bosses turned their heads towards him for the senior team job after sacking his former teammate Clarence Seedorf. His dream job came early but lasted only for a year as he saw himself dismissed in June 2015.

After a one-year break, he took over Venezia in the Serie C, where he revamped the side and won the championship in the first season earning them a promotion while also winning the Coppa Italia Serie C.

The next season saw Inzaghi just missing out on another promotion as Venezia were defeated by Palermo in the Serie B playoff Semi-finals. This impressive spell earned him a job as manager of Bologna in Serie A and the rest is history.

Filippo Inzaghi has resurrected his career now and seems more in love with his new profession than ever. Let’s see if he will be able to prove himself on the main stage of Italian football. Perhaps, in a few years, we may be witnessing the two siblings battling for Serie A supremacy.

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