World Cup-winning coach turned down Tottenham job due to language barrier

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World Cup-winning coach turned down Tottenham job due to language barrier
Photo: Shaun Botterill/GETTY IMAGES

Italian World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi has revealed he once turned down a job offer from Tottenham Hotspur because he couldn't speak much English.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy approached Lippi on several occasions, most recently in 2012 prior to André Villas-Boas' appointment.

The Juventus legend was tempted by the offer, particularly due to Tottenham's potential and ambition.

However, Lippi eventually declined Spurs' offer because he wasn't confident in his English, which he deemed crucial for effective communication and leadership.

Speaking to the Daily Mail in 2019, Lippi said:

I was very close to Tottenham when I was coaching Juventus. They were very nice to me by contacting my son Davide.

But I didn't feel like leaving Turin and Juventus. For me, Juve was like Manchester United for [Sir Alex] Ferguson: a unique club that I loved to bits.

I didn't speak English well and that was also a reason I declined. Someone told me that Ferguson also didn't speak English well because he was Scottish!

Lippi is one of the most successful coaches in football history. He won 13 major honours with Juventus, including five Serie A titles and the Champions League, and led Italy to World Cup glory in 2006.

The 75-year-old is no longer actively coaching after stepping down as China's national team coach in 2019.

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