The hugely popular fitness coach and close colleague of Antonio Conte, Gian Piero Ventrone, has died at the age of 61 after Leukaemia diagnosis.
Ventrone was known for his intense training methods and nicknamed ‘The Marine’ for his extraordinarly tough sessions which included his trademark 42 lengths of the pitch exercise.
However, despite the grueling training methods, he was a much beloved figure within the community with Spurs superstar Son Heung-min - who was initially struggling to stand after his first 42 lengths - saying: “Life-wise he gives me so much advice, I am really grateful.”
The Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Thursday that the fitness coach was taken to hospital earlier in the week where it was discovered he had acute myeloid leukaemia.
As a mark of respect, Tottenham’s manager and fellow Italian Antonio Conte cancelled Thursday’s press conference which would have been a preview ahead of Spurs’ Premier League game against Brighton this Saturday 8 October 2022.
Who was Ventrone and what has been said?
What has been said about Ventrone?
On Thursday 6 October, Spurs released a statement saying the club was “devestated” Ventone had passed away.
It read: “The 61-year-old joined the club in November, 2021, as part of Antonio Conte’s backroom staff, having previously held roles at Juventus, Catania, JS Suning, GZ Evergrande and AC Ajaccio.
“As loveable off the pitch as he was demanding on it, Gian Piero quickly became a hugely popular figure with players and staff.
“He will be greatly missed by everyone at the Club and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this impossibly sad time.”
Who was Gian Piero Ventrone?
Before joining Spurs with Antonio Conte last season, the Italian spent 10 years of his career with Juventus from 1994-2004 where he worked under Marcelo Lippi and Carlo Ancelotti.
The Italian also worked from the French side AC Ajaccio, Italian side Catania and spent spells at two Chinese clubs: JS Suning and Guangzhou.
When he joined Spurs in November 2021, he saw a complete overhaul in their fitness programme and Conte’s side has now run more than any other team in the Premier League this season.
As a mark of the standards he expected, Ventrone’s mottos included “Work today to run tomorrow” and “victory belongs to the strong.”
What have people said about Gian Piero Ventrone?
The Spurs full-back Matt Doherty has previously said of his late fitness coach: “It’s all love for Gian Piero, actually. Normally when you have a fitness coach like that who is running you ragged you start to not like him, but that’s not the case.
“We all absolutely love him. We’ve got so much respect for him that we do whatever he tells us to.”
Similarly, the Spurs midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg said: “We love him. He’s a great guy with great experience. They put us through some great work and we know we will improve and it’s fantastic. It’s nice to work hard.”
What is acute myeloid leukaemia?
AML is a cancer which starts in the bone marrow but quickly moves into the blood and can often spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, liver and central nervous system.
It progresses rapidly if left untreated and mostly affects cells that aren’t fully developed and is also a difficult disease to treat.
General symptoms of AML can include a loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, discomfort in bones or joints as well as a fullness or swelling in the abdomen.