Tito Vilanova''s U16 B team were winners of the Coppa Maestrelli / PHOTO: PREMIO MAESTRELLI

[[DES_1]]The ‘Premio Mastrelli’ is an award that pays tribute to the former Italian player and coach Tommaso Maestrelli and it dates back to 1988. The organisers have now decided to pay tribute to the figure of Tito Vilanova and incorporate his name into the prize that is given to the best coach in Europe for the season. The first to receive the newly named award – Miglior Allenatore Europeo-Tito Vilanova- will be the Atlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone, chosen by the jury as the best coach of the season 2013/14. The award ceremony will be held on the 15th of December in the Italian city of Pisa.

Tito Vilanova’s relation with the award goes back to 2002 when he was in charge of the Barça U-16 B side that lifted the ‘Coppa Maestrelli’, an international youth football tournament that shared the name of the award and that was last played in 2011/12. Tito’s team in 2002 contained such names as Leo Messi, Gerard Piqué and Cesc Fàbregas.

Qualities as a coach and as a human being

Taking advantage of this link the organisers of the prize wanted to recognise Tito Vilanova’s qualities as a human being and at the same time his achievements as a coach. According to the Maestrelli award, “his results confirm his dedication to excellence in football and, like Maestrelli himself, he was a winner but at the same time a humble, loyal person who was close to his players.”

The Award takes the form of two categories: the first began in 1988 and is for the best Italian coach of the season; the second began in 1997 and is for the best coach in Europe. In this latter category former winners include FC Barcelona coaches Louis Van Gaal who won the award in 1997, Frank Rijkaard did so in 2005 and the last blaugrana winner was Pep Guardiola in 2005.

Tommaso Maestrelli

The ‘Premio Maestrelli’ is named after Tommaso Maestrelli, the former player and coach who is best known for leading Lazio as manager to their first ever league title in 1974. Sadly, Maestrelli died in Rome at the age of 54 just two years after his greatest achievement.

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