TOTTENHAM fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone has died aged 62 after a brief battle with acute leukaemia.
The popular Italian joined Spurs in November 2021 alongside Antonio Conte and has been a trusted ally of the former Chelsea boss.
Ventrone have earned a reputation for being extremely hard working players but have still managed to develop an incredible relationship with them.
In a tragic turn of events, Tottenham confirmed: “We are devastated to announce that fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone has passed away.
“The (then) 61-year-old joined the club in November 2021 as part of Antonio Conte’s backroom team, having previously held roles at Juventus, Catania, JS Suning, GZ Evergrande and AC Ajaccio.
“Gian Piero was as endearing as he was demanding off the field, and quickly became a hugely popular character among players and staff alike.
“He will be greatly missed by everyone at the club and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”
During his time at Spurs, Ventrone developed a particularly close relationship with South Korean superstar Son Heung-min – who explicitly hugged him after his hat-trick against Leicester last month.
After the touching moment, Son said: “Yes, he is a killer. He’s a killer, but I have a really, really good relationship with Gian Piero.
“Obviously his English is not perfect, sometimes he comes with his phone and translates from Italian to English.
“It means a lot. Not so football-wise, I think in life he gives me so much advice, which I’m really grateful for.
“He was so helpful and always gave me a big hug during difficult times and even during great times he was always next to me and all the staff.
“Even today, before we left the training ground, the hotel, we had a nice few minutes chatting that made me very comfortable and really grateful.”
Tottenham’s fitness improved remarkably following the arrival of expert Ventrone, which would have come as no surprise to Conte.
Known locally as “The Marine”, the 53-year-old first met the man when he was playing for Juventus under Marcello Lippi in the 1990s.
Ventrone played a role in Juve’s memorable 1996 Champions League win and put Conte and company in incredible form.
Besides Lippi and Conte, Ventrone also worked with another Italian legend in Fabio Cannavaro while the former defender was in charge of Guangzhou Evergrande.
Ventrone has played a particularly important role in Spurs’ pre-season this year – putting the players through their paces with brutal sessions during their tour of South Korea.
Harry Kane threw up during the session while Son collapsed to the ground from fatigue – but both knew the grueling workout would benefit them in the long run.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6379500/gian-piero-ventrone-tottenham-dies/ Gian Piero Ventrone dead at 62: Tottenham’s fitness trainer dies after battling leukemia