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Former Inter coach Simoni dies at 81

Last updated 1 month ago | By Reuters

Luigi Simoni: Former Inter Milan coach dies aged 81

Former Inter Milan coach Gigi Simoni, winner of the UEFA Cup with a side which included the Brazilian Ronaldo, has died at the age of 81, the club said on Friday.

In all, Simoni coached a dozen sides in Italy, some of them more than once, plus Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia in a coaching career that spanned more than 30 years.

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He joined Inter before the start of the 1997-98 season at the same time they signed Ronaldo from Barcelona and led them to second place in Serie A behind Juventus and to the UEFA Cup final, where they beat Lazio 3-0.

"I learned more from Ronaldo than he did from me that season," said Simoni, who had been ill since suffering a stroke last June.

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However, he was sacked by Inter the following November after a poor run of results, on the same day that he was awarded the Panchina d'Oro award for the coach of the year.

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"His way of living, both in life and football, was never over the top. His football reflected that: it was humble, functional and capable of making the most of what he had on offer," said Inter in a statement.

"This is how we remember him: with his white hair, in our dugout, while he enjoyed the magic of Ronaldo with a smile on his face, enveloped by the fans' affection."

A midfielder in his playing days, he had three stints at Genoa, two at Napoli and Pisa also coached Lazio, among others. 

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