In recent days, Olympique de Marseille has experienced twists and turns as only he knows how to do. After the official departure of Jorge Sampaoli on July 1, due to differences over the transfer window, OM and its president Pablo Longoria chose Igor Tudor to take over from the Argentinian. Former renowned international defender, the 44-year-old coach arrives in France with a rather atypical coaching curriculum. From Galatasaray to Udinese via the role of assistant to Andrea Pirlo at Juventus, a look back at the new strongman of the Marseille club.
Trained at Hadjuk Split, Igor Tudor made a name for himself on the European scene when he arrived at Juventus in 1999. A teammate of Zinédine Zidane and David Trezeguet, he experienced epic moments alongside the Old Lady, with two titles won in Serie A. Despite his club’s relegation in 2006 following Calciopoli, he still decided to stay at Juve to help them move up to the first division. In selection, he has 55 caps with Croatia and notably participated in two World Cups, in 1998 and 2006. He came full circle by ending his career at home, on the side of Split.
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In the space of ten years, the new Marseille coach has had many benches. First deputy of the Croatian selection, he began as head coach within his training club, Hadjuk Split. After stints in Greece (PAOK Salonika) and Turkey (Karabuksport, Galatasaray), he returned to Italy where he twice led Udinese. After a comeback at the Hadjuk and an assistant role at Juventus, Igor Tudor settled last season on the bench of Hellas Verona. The Croatian technician never stayed more than two seasons in post. It remains to be seen whether OM’s experience will be different.
What does Igor Tudor offer on the pitch? While waiting to see more during the summer preparation, before the resumption of the L1, some clues can emerge on what the Croatian asks of his players. Guest on RMC Sport, Adrien Tameze, his former player in Verona, explained his touch. “He is a coach who asks a lot of his players, he wants all-terrain and constant pressing. We won a lot of games against the big [clubs] last season, and I think his system of play helped us a lot. I told people from Marseille who called me, and I didn’t lie to them. I told them it was going to be difficult and intense in training, but it helps us at the weekend when we’re on the pitch… He’s bloodthirsty, someone who is hungry, who always wants more. Like Sampaoli, he really lives football to the fullest. “A flame that corresponds well on paper to the DNA of Marseille.
Straight to the point, as the OM slogan indicates, Igor Tudor can rightly try to become its embodiment. With 65 goals scored in his 36 games for Hellas Verona, the Croatian clearly advocates attacking play, even if it means causing a certain imbalance: 56 goals conceded, the flip side of this assumed risk-taking. His 3-4-2-1 tactical scheme won over observers in Italy. “As a former defender, I say I try to attack, to be proactive, explained the former defender to La Gazetta in 2018. The difference today as a coach is that you will have an idea and try to pass it on to those who train. I am against throwing long balls, I tend to play. »
This is undoubtedly where the main mystery lies for the Marseille adventure of Igor Tudor. For the moment, his experience on the European scene as a coach is limited to the Europa League: 24 games played between qualifying and the final phase. His record is seven wins, nine draws and eight defeats. He has never tasted the Champions League, where OM will be present next season, after their second place in Ligue 1 last season. To compensate, the 44-year-old coach knows the big-eared cut well, with more than 30 appearances as a Juventus player. Will this past be enough to be competitive? OM’s last stint in C1 was a bitter failure in 2020-2021. Tudor will be expected at the turn during major European evenings.