MERCATO – Igor Tudor agrees with OM: what you need to know about the future coach of Marseille


A solid former defender who spent most of his career at Juve

The oldest remember him with a few hairs and the Juventus or Croatia shirt on his back. Since then, Igor Tudor has been cut short. But before embarking on a career on the benches, it was as a player that he made a name for himself. International with 57 selections, the former defender was notably part of the Croatian adventure in 1998 when his country failed against the Blues in the semi-finals of the World Cup, even if he was content with ends of matches.

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If he also played in the 2006 World Cup, it was with Juventus that he however signed his main feats of arms. Italian champion twice (2002, 2003), he had reached the final of the Champions League in 2003 with Lilian Thuram or David Trezeguet against AC Milan. From the end of the 90s and the first half of the 2000s, he played 174 matches under the colors of the Old Lady.

A young coach who has already traveled a lot

At 44, Igor Tudor is no novice in the coaching costume. Far from there. He has even already traveled well since the start of his career on a bench in 2013 at Hadjuk Split. Since then, he has accumulated experience through Greece (PAOK Salonika), Turkey (Karabükspor and Galatasaray) and Italy. In the Boot, he coached Udinese between April 2018 and November 2019 before being Andrea Pirlo’s assistant at Juventus (2020-2021) and bouncing back at Hellas Verona this season, where he seduced Serie A. And if he has a good reputation in the industry, his record does not really reflect this: it boils down to a Croatian Cup won with Hajduk Split in 2013. never coached a Champions League team in the number 1 suit.

His experience as Pirlo’s assistant stuck in his throat

The passage of Andrea Pirlo on the bench of Juve was not a great success, and that’s a mild understatement. Assistant to the former maestro of the Bianconeri, Igor Tudor did not really taste that season. And it’s not only related to the results of Juve. The former defender actually didn’t particularly like the role he was given, when he had a past as a head coach. Annoyed in particular not to see his voice being taken into account more. « I received a call from Pirlo. He offered me the job and I accepted because it was Juventus. Then (Roberto) baroni (the former midfielder to whom Pirlo is very close, editor’s note) and an analyst also arrived. And we were all on the same level. It wasn’t fair, I’m a trainerr », he confided after his departure to « Sportske Novosti » in comments taken up by BeSoccer. Now the deal is clear: he wants to be number 1. One point, that’s all.

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Free after a seductive season in Serie A

Arrived on the bench of Verona after three inaugural defeats under the thumb of Eusebio Di Francesco, Igor Tudor quickly found the strings to revive his group during the last season. And surprise Serie A which has been amazed by its miracles for many months. If his defense was not an impregnable wall (59 goals conceded), his team’s ability to hinder opposing formations made the success of Hellas, who finished in ninth place in the championship thanks to the efficiency of their trio of attackers made up of Giovanni Simeone, Antonin Barak and Gianluca Caprari and despite their last three missed outings.

To the point that in April, Maurizio Setti, the president of the club, had praised the work of Tudor. « He is extraordinary« , he had slipped to the Gazzetta dello Sport. « This season is the most beautiful under my direction. In terms of game organization, spectacle and results, this is definitely the best team I’ve seen« . However, Igor Tudor did not finally extend the adventure a few weeks later in Verona. He did not find common ground with his president to continue in Veneto. « We both understood that the conditions were not reunited for us to continue together », then explained the 44-year-old Croatian technician, who perhaps wanted to aim higher. Aware that his exercise at the head of the Italian club had been noticed. In particular by Pablo Longoria.

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The style of his teams? Aggressiveness and pressing in a three behind pattern

From that side, the OM players will not be lost. If his attacking style is not necessarily very marked, even if Verona has impressed this season with his ability to score, Igor Tudor has two points on which he does not compromise with his proteges: pressing and aggressiveness at the loss of the ball. His team thus imposes a physical fight as soon as it is necessary to recover the leather, generally plays high and aims for verticality.

Small flat however, this state of mind does not help in terms of balance. Verona was thus able to leave space in defense during this exercise, but posed some problems for the big teams with its intensity and tactical work. This season, Tudor has also changed his formation to three behind in a 3-4-2-1, as he had done with Udinese. But in the past, he also happened to favor a defense at 4. No matter, the guiding idea remains the same anyway: to put intensity.

A coach close to his players and who makes them progress: « With him, we have all become stronger »

Known for having a strong personality and being direct when he has something to say, Igor Tudor is generally quite close to his group. And to sum up his personality and his way of managing his team, just read the description of his former protege in Verona, Adrien Tameze: « He is a sharp coach, like all coaches in Italy. He is very close to his playershad slipped the former Nice midfielder during an interview with our colleague Guillaume Maillard-Pacini. Me, what I like is what he brought me on the mental aspect. With him, we all became stronger. Even when we slow down a bit, he always manages to find the trick so that we still draw on our resources. I think it’s exceptional to be able to do that. He has a voice that carries on the bench, he always tells you: ‘But yes, you can do it, go!’. If I think back to the goals I scored, it was often at the end of the match… It’s not trivial. This strength, it comes from him.« A pretty portrait that can make some Marseillais salivate.

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