MONCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - Sunday, August 1, 2010: Liverpool's Alberto Aquilani and Milan Jovanovic before a preseason friendly match against Borussia Monchengladbach at Borussia-Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Former Liverpool midfielder wins 5th trophy in 3 years as youth manager

Retired after a career that saw him play 468 times for 10 clubs, Alberto Aquilani is now enjoying huge success in his latest coaching job.

To put those numbers into context, Trent Alexander-Arnold, who only turned 24 in October, has already played 252 games for Liverpool.

It is a statistic that paints a telling picture of Aquilani’s promising but injury plagued career, which took in spells with AS Roma, Juventus, AC Milan and Sporting CP, among others.

The Italy midfielder officially retired in 2019, at the age of 34, having gone a year without a club, and a fortnight later he became Fiorentina’s under-18s coach.

After a brief spell as assistant to first-team manager Giuseppe Iachini, Aquilani was then appointed as manager of Fiorentina Primavera, the under-19s side competing at the highest level of Italian youth football.

In charge since the summer of 2020, the now-38-year-old has since led his side to five trophies, including a second Supercoppa Primavera on Wednesday.

A 2-1 victory over league champions Inter Milan made it back-to-back Supercoppa triumphs for Fiorentina, having never previously won the trophy in its 19-year existence.

Clubs qualify for the Supercoppa Primavera final through either winning the Campionato Primavera or the Coppa Italia Primavera, making it the Italian youth equivalent of the Community Shield.

Aquilani’s Fiorentina have won each of the last three Coppa Italia Primaveras, with the former Liverpool midfielder lifting more silverware as a young coach than he did as a player.

While still playing, he won the Coppa Italia twice and the Supercoppa Italiana once with Roma, along with the Under-19 Euros with Italy in 2003.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 25, 2010: Liverpool's Alberto Aquilani in action against Burnley during the Premiership match at Turf Moor. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Aquilani is one of a number of ex-Reds who are making their first forays into management with academy sides, alongside Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid U19s), Javier Mascherano (Argentina U20s) and Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid U19s).

As a player, he was full of potential, and the hope was that he could fill the void left by Xabi Alonso in Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool side.

Unfortunately, injuries hampered his progress, and he only played 28 times for the club, scoring two goals and assisting six before joining Fiorentina in 2012.