Five things you may not know about Walter Zenga

Wolves Manager Walter Zenga

Wolverhampton Wanderers' appointment of Walter Zenga in the summer was met with great interest - here are five reasons why.

Walter Zenga

When Wolverhampton Wanderers sacked Kenny Jackett just one week before the start of the Championship season and then 24 hours later announced Walter Zenga as Jackett's successor, many a Wolves fan could be forgiven for questioning the new owners' decisions.

After all, the legendary Italian goalkeeper has experienced a varied and somewhat transient managerial career to date; including zero experience of the English game, let alone the fiercely competitive EFL Championship.

As a player, Zenga was largely known as Inter Milan's number one throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Indeed, the man voted 'World's Best Goalkeeper' on three occasions played over 320 games for the Nerazzurri. 

Not quite a one-club-man (there were stints at Sampdoria, Padova and New England Revolution), but Zenga's playing career sits in stark contrast to his managerial exploits, which have seen the Italian work in 15 managerial roles in 18 years. 

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Here are five of the most interesting career facts about the Wolves manager.

Zenga was once sacked after requesting a contract extension

Zenga hung up his gloves after a spell in MLS with the New England Revolution - which took in a failed career as an actor and included a stint as player-manager.

This was Zenga's first foray into management and reports from the time suggest that Zenga did very little coaching during his time stateside, oversaw a dismal season and was accused of seeking the spotlight for his own gain.

After failing to make the MLS play-offs at the end of the regular season, Zenga faxed an ultimatum to the club's office asking for a decision on a contract extension. The Massachusetts-based club ultimately deciding not to renew, and rather to terminate, Zenga's contract.

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Zenga is a Romanian citizen

The Italian has managed Romanian clubs FC National Bucharest, Steaua Bucharest and Dinamo Bucharest. His considerable time in the country, combined with his 2005 marriage to Romanian Raluca Rebedea, has culminated in duel Italian/Romanian citizenship. Zenga was reportedly close to securing the Romanian national team manager role prior to joining Wolves. 

He was arrested as part of a drugs raid

Zenga was arrested by Romanian police in 2002 after cocaine was found under his chair in a Bucharest nightclub. The former goalkeeper, nicknamed 'Spiderman', left his role at FC National Bucharest soon after the arrest.

Arise Sir Zenga, the Italian Knight

In 1991 Walter Zenga was bestowed with the honour of 'Fifth Class Knight' of the Republic of Italy. This had zero impact on his playing or managerial career, but is an interesting piece of trivia nonetheless.

Zenga the nomad?

Walter Zenga has managed in the United States, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, Abu Dhabi and Dubai of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and now England.

However, with the exception of his two-year reign at Al-Nasr, Zenga has not resided over more than 50 games for any of his 18 clubs. 

Walter Zenga

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