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Conte and Tudor - friends reunited in the UEFA Champions League

Wed 07 September 2022, 10:35|Tottenham Hotspur

Antonio Conte first met Igor Tudor at Juventus almost 25 years ago, in 1998. Over the next nine years, they became friends, and shared all of football’s highs and lows, including winning Serie A titles and a UEFA Champions League Final defeat.

Now they meet again, back at European football’s top table, friends reunited on the touchline as Tudor brings his Marseille team to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for Matchday One of Champions League Group D this evening (Wednesday, 8pm).

Capped 55 times by Croatia and part of the team that finished third at the 1998 World Cup, Tudor joined Juve from Hadjuk Split that summer. He would stay until 2007, during which time Juve claimed Scudetto and Supercoppa Italiana ‘doubles’ in 2001/02 and 2002/03 before losing out on penalties to Milan in the 2003 Champions League Final at Old Trafford.

Antonio has gone on to be one of the most successful coaches of the modern era across Europe while Tudor has managed in Croatia, Greece, Turkey and Italy, where he followed spells at Udinese and as assistant manager at Juventus with an impressive 2021/22 campaign at Verona, prompting his switch to Ligue 1 and Marseille, who remain unbeaten at the start of this season, joint top with PSG after five wins and a draw in six games.

Previewing our return to the Champions League with SPURSPLAY, Antonio told us: “Marseille are a really good team and they have a really good coach who I know very well… Igor Tudor is a friend, we played together for many years in Juventus. We lifted trophies together, at the same time, we also lost trophies together.

“I’ve known him a long time. He’s a really good guy, a strong person, also, as a player, he was really strong. The last time I saw him was when he was assistant coach at Juventus with Andrea Pirlo. He’s a good friend. Sometimes, we message on the phone.

“Football... the time is going so fast. We’re not so young. It means this, because when you start to see on the bench your old team-mates, players who were in your team, it means you are becoming old!

“I am really happy to see him on the bench in an important club in Europe like Marseille. He did very well last season in Verona and yeah, he’s doing a really good job. I wish for him the best, apart from these two games against us!”