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Pietro Vierchowod

Personal information
Date of birthApril 6, 1959(age 58)
Place of birthCalcinate, Italy
Playing positionCentre-back (Retired)

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Pietro Vierchowod (born April 6, 1959 in Calcinate) is an Italian former footballer turned coach.

Vierchowod was nicknamed the zar because he was the son of a Ukrainian Red Army soldier. Vierchowod was a man-marker (stopper).

Vierchowod started his professional football career for Como, before moving to Fiorentina. However, his first successes came when he moved to AS Roma, winning a Serie A scudetto in 1983. Then he moved to Sampdoria, with whom he won four Italian Cups, one Cup Winners' Cup and another scudetto, in 1991.

In 1995 he signed for Juventus, where he acted as an experienced defender and won his only UEFA Champions League in 1996 at the age of 37. He played the final in Rome against Ajax Amsterdam which Juve won on penalties. He then moved on to AC Milan and Piacenza Calcio, for whom he continued to play regularly despite being 41 years of age. He eventually retired in 2000.

Vierchowod played 562 Serie A matches, being fourth only to Paolo Maldini, Gianluca Pagliuca and Dino Zoff. He was also capped 45 times with the Italian national football team, and scored 2 goals. He was one of the players in the Italian squad, although he did not play, that won the 1982 FIFA World Cup. He is also the oldest goalscorer in the history of the Italian national team: he scored in a qualification match against Malta on March 24, 1993 which ended in a 6 1 win for the Azzurri.

Vierchowod competed for Italy at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

After his playing career, Vierchowod coached Catania of Serie C1, Florentia Viola (now Fiorentina) of Serie C2 and Triestina of Serie B. In all these cases, he was fired before the end of the season.

During an interview for football magazine FourFourTwo, English player Gary Lineker named Vierchowod as the hardest defender he ever faced: "He was absolutely brutal and lightning quick. He gave me one or two digs." Talking to Argentine magazine El Gráfico, Argentine footballer Diego Maradona also dubbed Vierchowod his toughest opponent, stating that "[Vierchowod] Was an animal, he had muscles to the eyelashes. It was easy to pass by him, but then when I raised my head, he was in front of me again. I would have to pass him more two or three times and then I would pass the ball because I couldn't stand him anymore".

In September 2009, Vierchowod was cited by Bulgarian Football Union president Borislav Mihaylov as the most likely candidate to be appointed manager of Bulgaria's national under-21 team. Vierchowod also confirmed he is in talks with the Bulgarian Football Union.

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