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Tottenham's fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone dies aged 61

Gian Piero Ventrone, nicknamed 'The Marine' because of his rigorous training regimes, arrived at Spurs with Antonio Conte in November 2021; Spurs statement read: "We are devastated to announce that fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone has passed away. He will be greatly missed by everyone"

Tottenham Hotspur fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone
Image: Gian Piero Ventrone has died aged 61

Tottenham's fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone has died aged 61.

Ventrone, nicknamed 'The Marine' in Italy because of his rigorous training regimes, arrived at Spurs with Antonio Conte in November 2021.

Spurs confirmed his passing on Thursday and said "he will be greatly missed by everyone".

Ventrone, the club statement reads, was "as loveable off the pitch as he was demanding on it" and "quickly became a hugely popular figure with the players and staff".

Spurs cancelled Thursday's news conference ahead of Saturday's game against Brighton.

Ventrone's popularity among the first-team squad has been demonstrated in the hours since the news was announced as Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son both paid tribute to the Italian.

England captain Kane said on Twitter: "A truly remarkable man. I'm devastated by the passing of our coach Gian Piero.

"My love and strength is with his family at this time. His words and wisdom will live on with me for the rest of my life and I'm just grateful I had the opportunity to spend time with him. RIP Prof."

Son, who had credited Ventrone for being the inspiration behind his hat-trick against Leicester last month, joined Kane in hailing the impact of the experienced coach.

"The world has lost a truly special person," Son wrote on Instagram.

"Gian, you helped me get through the hardest times, and together we celebrated some some incredible memories. I cannot put in enough words my gratitude to you, and how much I owe to you.

"We will miss you so, so much. Thank you for everything my friend. I am sending all of my love to you and all of your family."

Ventrone was at Juventus from 1994 to 2004 - during which time Conte played for Juventus - working under Marcelo Lippi and Carlo Ancelotti.

He has also worked for French club AC Ajaccio, Italian side Catania and in China for JS Suning and Guangzhou.

The Italian oversaw a complete overhaul of Tottenham's fitness, with Conte's side having ran more than any other team in the Premier League this season.

Last month, Son had spoken about the impact Ventrone has had on him off the pitch.

Son had a close relationship with Ventrone
Image: Heung-Min Son had a close relationship with Ventrone

"I have a really, really good relationship with Gian Piero," said the Spurs forward, who went to hug Ventrone after that win over the Foxes.

"He has been so helpful, giving me always a big hug in tough times and even great times he has always been next to me and every staff.

"It means a lot. Not as football-wise, I think life-wise he gives me so much advice, which I am really grateful."

Son was among the Spurs players who struggled after one of Ventrone's intense, two-hour long pre-season workouts in South Korea over the summer, which caused Harry Kane to throw up.

Even though he worked the Spurs players to the limit, he was still adored by the squad.

"It's all love for Gian Piero, actually," said Spurs full-back Matt Doherty in the summer. "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."

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, the Spurs midfielder, added: "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."

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