Tottenham announce sudden death of fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone
Written by Training Ground Guru — October 6, 2022
TOTTENHAM fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone has died suddenly at the age of 61, the club have announced.
The Italian arrived at Spurs with manager Antonio Conte in November 2021. The pair had been friends since they worked together at Juventus in 1994/5, when Conte was a player and Ventrone the fitness coach.
According to reputable reports in Italy, Ventrone was admitted to the Fatebenefratelli Hospital in Naples on Tuesday evening (October 4th) and put on ventilation because he was in a coma.
He died this morning at 6.45am following a cerebral haemorrhage. Just a few days earlier he had discovered he had acute myeloid leukaemia. Tottenham released a statement this morning at 10am confirming that Ventrone had died and paying tribute to him.
It read: "We are devastated to announce that fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone has passed away. As loveable off the pitch as he was demanding on it, Gian Piero quickly became a hugely popular figure with players and staff.
"He will be greatly missed by everyone at the club and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this impossibly sad time.”
Ventrone worked for Juventus for a decade from 1994, helping them to win the Champions League in 1996. He gained the nickname ‘The Marine’ because of his tough training sessions.
After Juve he worked for Ajaccio and Catania in Italy, as well as for JS Suning and GZ Evergrande in China. Then the call came from Conte. Ventrone had not actually worked under the Tottenham manager before, but had remained friends with him since their time together at Juve.
Ventrone's intense training methods gained prominence in the summer, when several Tottenham players collapsed on the pitch and others were sick during pre-season sessions in South Korea.
Son Heung-min shared a long embrace with the trainer after scoring a hat-trick in the 6-2 win against Leicester last month. Afterwards the South Korean revealed he was “really comfortable and really grateful” following chats that the duo had had in recent weeks.
UPDATE (10.10.22) Tottenham's players wore tribute shirts to Ventrone before their 1-0 win against Brighton on Saturday, with captain Hugo Lloris holding up a shirt with 'Gian Piero' on the back in front of the travelling fans at the end of the game.
Conte was visibly emotional after a minute's applause for Ventrone moments before kick-off on the south coast. Afterwards he revealed he would be attending his friend and colleague's funeral on Sunday and that the players were "devastated" by the news of Ventrone's passing.
"Tomorrow is the funeral. We are going with the staff," said Conte. "I want to give big hugs to them [the family], to tell his son and daughter that they need to be strong because Gian Piero was strong, a strong character. He doesn't want to see us unhappy. It's difficult to make him happy because we are really devastated by the pain.
"I have to be honest, it was really, really difficult for us to be here and to focus on the game because what happened in the last three days was incredible. I knew that the situation was really problematic after the game against Frankfurt [on Wednesday] but no one could have expected this situation because no one knew.
"It was an illness but under control and then it is very difficult because the situation hit me a lot in the emotional aspect. When it happens, it is very difficult to cover your feeling with the players and with the people that work in Tottenham. At the same time, I have seen a lot of solidarity.
"The players were really devastated by the pain and the whole Tottenham environment, the feeling was really bad because in only 10 months I think Gian Piero got through the heart of everybody."