Gianluca Zambrotta (Como, 19 February 1977) is a former Italian footballer.
Considered one of the strongest Italian fullbacks ever, he played with the Italian national team that was world champion in 2006 and runner-up in Europe in 2000. Since December 2006, he has also been honorary president of Como, the team in which he grew up.
Married with Valentina Liguori, the couple's eldest son Riccardo was born on 1 August 2012.
He grew up in the youth sector of Como, and in the early years of his career played in attack as an external midfield player or winger.
He debuted in professional football in 1994 in his hometown. Zambrotta remained for three seasons at Como, playing in Serie B and Serie C1.
In 1997, he moved to Bari, where he made his debut in Serie A on 31 August 1997 at the age of 20 in Bari-Parma (0-2) and where he was used as a wildcard attacker or external midfield player.
Zambrotta played two excellent seasons with Bari, which earned him selection for the Italian National team and drew the attention of the major clubs.
In the 1999-2000 season, he moved to Juventus at the age of 22. In 2002, coach Marcello Lippi used him for the first time as a left-back.
In this position, Zambrotta immediately demonstrated his skills at the highest level, becoming one of the best interpreters of his new role. His control of the ball on the run, and his tactical ability, both offensive and defensive, made him a world-class player in this role.
Under Lippi's guidance, he won two league titles (2002 and 2003).
His two years with Fabio Capello at the helm of Juventus from 2004 to 2006 were also very profitable for Zambrotta, who won two league titles (the second revoked following the Italian football scandal known as 'Calciopoli').
On 21 July 2006, at the age of 29, he decided to go and play in Spain, purchased by Barcelona for 14 million euro, together with fellow Juventus player Lilian Thuram.
In Barcelona, he was mostly used by coach Frank Rijkaard mostly as a right-back.
In December 2006, during his career with Barcelona, he was appointed honorary president of Como.
Gianluca left FC Barcelona on 31 May 2008 to join Milan for the sum of 9 million euro.
He made his debut in official games with the 'Red and Blacks' on 31 August 2008 in Milan-Bologna (1-2), on the first day of Serie A 2008-2009.
On 22 July 2010, Zambrotta extended his contract with Milan until 30 June 2012.
On 7 May 2011, he won the league title, his first with the Red and Blacks and the third of his career.
On 6 August 2011, he won the Italian Super Cup with Milan, beating Inter 2-1 in Beijing.
At the end of the 2011-2012 season, he announced his retirement from Milan; in the four seasons he spent with the Red and Blacks, at the end of which he was no longer under contract, he played 107 games and scored 2 goals.
In March 2013, after having received no attractive offers to resume his athletic activities, he decided to attend the UEFA Pro Master's in Coverciano (started in October 2012) to obtain a licence as a First Category coach.
Dal 2013: CHIASSO
On 19 July 2013, he signed a one-year contract with Chiasso, covering the roles of both player and assistant coach of the Swiss team.
He made his debut with the team in Ticino on 11 August 2013. On 27 November 2013, after Ryszard Komornicki was relieved of his duties, he took on the role of player-manager until the end of the season.
Italian National Team
In the 2-year period 1998-2000, Zambrotta had a steady position in the Italian National Under-21 team.
Shortly before turning 22, on 10 February 1999, he made his debut in the senior national team under head coach Dino Zoff. He was selected for Euro 2000 where he was a first-string player, but an expulsion in the semi-final against Netherlands prevented him from taking part in the final, in which Italy was defeated by France.
Under head coach Giovanni Trapattoni he took part, again as a first-string player, in the final phases of the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004, where he was selected as a member of the tournament's ideal team. He scored his first goal for the Italian national team on 30 May 2004, in a Tunisia-Italy (0-4) friendly match.
Italian National Team: 2006 World Cup
He won the 2006 World Cup with the national team. At 29, playing at right-back, he was a major star of the event won by the Azzurri (Italian national team) in Germany. In fact, Zambrotta scored the opening goal in the Italy-Ukraine (3-0) quarter-final and also provided an assist to Luca Toni, who scored twice in that game. FIFA then entered him in the tournament's All-Star Team.
Italian National Team: 2007 - 2010
He retained his first-string role in Euro 2008, under head coach Donadoni, both in the 2009 Confederations Cup and with the return of Marcello Lippi.
On 5 June 2010, he played his first match as captain of Italy on his 94th presence (no Italian player had waited so long), on the occasion of the Switzerland-Italy (1-1) friendly match.
He also took part, still as first-string player, in the 2010 World Cup, where Italy was eliminated in the first round.
After a momentary departure from the national team with the arrival of new head coach Cesare Prandelli, he was called up for the Euro 2012 qualifying matches against Northern Ireland and Serbia on 8 and 12 October 2010. He was deployed as captain in the match against Serbia at the Luigi Ferraris stadium in Genoa. This game, which was suspended after 6 minutes due to misbehaviour by visiting fans with the subsequent awarding of the match to Italy with a 3-0 score, was his last appearance for the national team.
Zambrotta played in 3 editions of the World Cup and 3 editions of the UEFA European Championship.
Eracle Sport Center is the Gianluca Zambrotta’s brainchild and from his will to realize a multi-sport and multi-purpose area suitable for the whole family and for all sport needs.
"I was for many years a professional athlete, this is why sport (especially soccer) has been a big part of my life. It gave me the opportunity to grow as athlete and as man and gave me amazing and unforgettable feelings".
"From personal experience I think sport plays a crucial role in the children's development and education. At the same time, for others it may represent an opportunity to keep in shape, free your mind from every day stress and search for well-being."