‘We are devastated’: Tottenham fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone dies aged 61 | Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham are preventing to return to phrases with the loss of life of Gian Piero Ventrone, their fitness coach. The 61-year-old Neopolitan, nicknamed ‘The Marine’ due to his powerful periods, had leukemia.

“We are devastated to announce that Gian Piero Ventrone has handed away,” Tottenham mentioned on Thursday morning. “As lovable off the pitch as he was demanding on it, Gian Piero rapidly grew to become a massively in style determine with gamers and employees. He might be vastly missed by everybody on the membership and our ideas are along with his household and pals at this impossibly unhappy time.”

Ventrone joined Spurs final November as a part of (*61*) Conte’s teaching group and he was credited with serving to to drive a radical enchancment within the gamers’ fitness. His most well-known second on the membership got here in the course of the pre-season tour of Seoul when he pushed the squad by means of a brutal session in 30C warmth, leaving lots of them collapsed on the turf and a few – together with Harry Kane – throwing up.

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    The gamers might see the significance of his work, their respect for him was big and it was evident when Son Heung-min celebrated with him after scoring a hat-trick towards Leicester on September 17. That Ventrone was within the dugout so just lately illustrates how out of the blue he was taken away.

    “I’ve a very, actually good relationship with Gian Piero,” Son mentioned. “His English shouldn’t be good, typically he’s coming along with his telephone and translating into English from Italian. It means quite a bit. Not as football-wise, I feel life-wise he provides me a lot recommendation, which I’m actually grateful for. He has been so useful, giving me at all times an enormous hug in powerful instances and even nice instances he has at all times been subsequent to me and each employees.”

    Gian Piero Ventrone with Son Heung-min final month. Photograph: Tottenham Hotspur FC/Getty Images

    Conte canceled his Thursday afternoon press convention to preview Saturday’s recreation at Brighton as a mark of respect. He has recognized Ventrone for a few years, having labored with him as a participant at Juventus; Ventrone was introduced in by the then supervisor, Marcello Lippi, in 1994 and was instrumental in shaping the group that gained the Champions League in 1996. Conte performed for Juventus between 1991 and 2004.

    Ventrone left Juventus in 2004, having additionally served beneath Carlo Ancelotti, and he went on to work as an assistant supervisor at Ajaccio in France. He returned to fitness teaching at Catania in Italy and Jiangsu Suning and Guangzhou Evergrande in China earlier than his transfer to Spurs.

    Ventrone received his ‘Marine’ nickname at Juventus, the place he would play Ride of the Valkyries out of loudspeakers as his gamers ran. He put in a bell of disgrace to be tolled by the primary to drop out. He would recite motivational phrases corresponding to “successful belongs to the robust” and “work immediately to run tomorrow”.

    The affection with which Ventrone was held at Spurs was additionally captured by the defender Matt Doherty in Seoul. “It’s the toughest pre-season I’ve had, not like something I’ve carried out earlier than,” he mentioned. “It’s humorous as a result of usually when you might have a fitness coach like that who’s working you ragged you begin to not like him – however all of us completely love him. We’ve received a lot respect for him that we do no matter he tells us to.”

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