Luigi De Canio
De Canio

Luigi De Canio first came to people's attention when he was named boss of Queens Park Rangers at the end of October 2007. As you would expect he has masses of experiences as a manager, this is his 28th season within the game, but he has exclusively operated within the Italian game. His greatest managerial feat was to keep unfashionable Siena in Serie A for two seasons before he left in the summer of 2007.

His playing career, as a winger, was in the lower reaches of the Italian leagues, for little known clubs such as Matera and Chieti. His final club was Pisticci in series - the club which he began his coaching career. He won the league in his opening season, meaning the club were promoted to Serie D. After 4 years with the club he left in 1993 to take over Savoia who were in Serie C2. It took him a season to gain promotion, albeit via the play-off's, Serie C1 - not a bad start for a 36 year old coach making his way.

A switch to Serie C1 side Siena followed in 1995/96, with De Canio achieving an eighth place finish in his first season in charge of the Robur.

He then took over Carpi and led them to a surprising promotion play-off place, before moving up a league to take over Lucchese in 1997 - a club he led the club to 5th place. It was at Pescara that De Canio showed his undoubted managerial credentials as he led the Club to the brink of promotion to Serie A. This led to a queue of clubs looking at him with admiring eyes, but it was Udinese, who secured his services in 1999/2000.

It didn't take him too long to adjust to life in the top-flight as he guided the club to an eighth place finish and a place in the UEFA Intertoto Cup. UEFA Cup football followed after a successful Intertoto campaign, but despite an encouraging start to the new season, a dreadful run of form, which culminated with a home defeat to Parma, resulted in his departure in March 2001.

Next stop was Napoli, with the brief to lead them back into the top flight, but a fifth place finish in Serie B was not enough to keep him in a job and he left the club joining Reggina, who were a club in crisis. Coming towards the backend of the season they were staring relegation straight in the face, following the departure of the legendary Roberto Donadoni, but he managed to steer the club past relegation (via a playoff with Atalanta), but was sacked on the eve of the 2004/05 campaign.

After six months out of the game he re-joined Siena - keeping them in Serie A for two seasons. In a competitive league such as Italy, this was great testament to his managerial abilities before he left to make way for Mario Beretta for the start of the 2006/07 season.

Now it was time to branch out and aged 50, he took over at Loftus Road as manager of Queens Park Rangers (John Gregory had been sacked four weeks earlier) and signed a 3 year contract until the end of the 2009-10 season. The Italian connection comes from the new owners of QPR, one Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone (of F1 fame) who courted several Italian managers before settling on Luigi. When he took over Luigi De Canio for his part told the club's official website that he was:

"I am very excited at this fantastic opportunity to join Queens Park Rangers as their first-team coach. For me it will be an honour to work for QPR, a club which is backed by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, two businessmen with an incredible track record of success in sport and other fields. I would like to thank them and I will not disappoint their expectations. I am fully committed to the project and I am looking forward to getting to work with the players in preparation for our forthcoming home fixture against Hull City on Saturday."

Rangers chairman Gianni Paladini said at the time that:

"De Canio is a highly-motivated professional whose dynamic and aggressive approach fits perfectly with the image and philosophy of the new management."

With good backing, and a thirst to succeed it could be the start of a long and fruitful career in the English game, time will tell.

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