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Italian football mourns death of popular coach Carlo Mazzone

Carlo Mazzone (centre) has passed away.

Italian football lost one of its most popular figures on Saturday after Carlo Mazzone died aged 86.

Matches across Italy will begin with a minute’s silence this weekend in honour of the former Roma, Napoli and Brescia manager.

“We say goodbye to a true icon of Italian football,” said Italian football federation president Gabriele Gravina.

After finishing an unglamourous playing career in the late 1960s Mazzone managed a record 792 matches in Serie A over nearly four decades, taking charge of 15 clubs and never winning a single major trophy.

But despite his lack of silverware Mazzone was a well-respected coach who had a larger-than-life presence in the dugout.

He was crucial to Francesco Totti becoming a Roma and Italy icon, guiding him into the first team in the early 1990s and acting as a father figure for the teenage attacker.

Mazzone also had a key role in the career of World Cup winning midfielder Andrea Pirlo.

In charge of Brescia when Pirlo was on loan there from Inter Milan in 2001, Mazzone shifted Pirlo from being a number 10 to being a deep-lying playmaker so as to play both him and Roberto Baggio at the same time.

In September 2001 Mazzone became infamous for charging from the home dugout at Brescia to the away end to launch a volley of abuse at Atalanta supporters.

Mazzone, already in his early 60s, had to put up with insults from the away supporters throughout one of Italy’s keenest-felt derbies.

But after Brescia levelled the match at 3-3 late on — thanks to a typically brilliant Baggio performance — he got his own back, shaking off his own assistants as he raced from the halfway line to the Atalanta fans.

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