Since 1988, the Supercoppa Italiana, or the Italian Super Cup, serves as the curtain raiser of every Serie A season. Here, the Serie A champions from the previous season meet the Coppa Italia holders and the winners go home with a trophy. It's less prestigious than a Scudetto or Coppa, but an official trophy nonetheless.
In the 28th edition on Saturday, the Serie A champs Juventus won their seventh Suppercoppa Italiana, now the most in Italy, by beating Lazio 2-0 at the Shanghai Stadium. Juve were the actual Coppa Italia winners, but since they are also the Serie A winners, they played the Coppa runners-up Lazio. The two new strikers, Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala, were on the scoresheet, with assists provided by Stefano Sturaro and Paul Pogba, respectively.
It makes it the 21st title for the Serie A winners, compared to the seven titles that belong to the Coppa champs/representatives.
Winning seven titles in the competition deserves seven fun facts. So what are the seven fun facts of the Supercoppa Italiana?
1. Juventus have won the most titles and made the most appearances
Juve's seven titles are the most in Italy. The complete list:
- Juventus: 7 (1995, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2012, 2013, 2015)
- Milan: 6 (1988, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2004, 2011)
- Inter Milan: 5 (1989, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010)
- Lazio: 3 (1998, 2000, 2009)
- Roma: 2 (2001, 2007)
- Napoli: 2 (1990, 2014)
- Sampdoria: 1 (1991)
- Parma: 1 (1999)
- Fiorentina: 1 (1996)
Along with Inter Milan and Roma, Juve is also the team who has lost it the most (four times). Torino (1993) and Vicenza (1997) are the only teams who have made an appearance but never won it, losing to Milan and Juventus, respectively.
Juve has also made the most appearances at 11. Ten were as the Serie A champs, one as the Coppa winner (1990). Here are as follows (with the goalscorers in brackets):
- 1990: Napoli 5-1 Juventus (Roberto Baggio)
- 1995: Juve 1-0 Parma (Gianluca Vialli)
- 1997: Juve 3-1 Vicenza (Pippo Inzaghi (2), Antonio Conte)
- 1998: Juve 1-2 Lazio (Alessandro Del Piero)
- 2002: Juve 2-1 Parma (Del Piero (2))
- 2003: Juve 1(5)-1(3) Milan (David Trezeguet)
- 2005: Juve 0-1 Inter Milan
- 2012: Juve 4-2 Napoli (Kwadwo Asamoah, Arturo Vidal, Christian Maggio (og), Mirko Vucinic)
- 2013: Juve 4-0 Lazio (Pogba, Giorgio Chiellini, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Carlos Tevez)
- 2014: Juve 2(5)-2(6) Napoli (Tevez (2))
- 2015: Juve 2-0 Lazio (Mandzukic, Dybala)
Milan and Inter Milan are second with nine appearances. However, each of them do hold a record:
- Longest appearance streak: Inter Milan, 7 (2005-2011)
- Longest winning streak: Milan, 3 (1992-1994)
Oh, there is one oddity. Napoli has always met with the same opponent. They went to the Supercoppa Italiana three times and all were against Juventus, winning two (1990, 2014) and losing one (2012).
2. The Coppa Italia runners-up have never won it
In five separate occasions, the Coppa runners-up made appearances but they have never won it. They are:
- 1995: Parma (lost 0-1 to Juventus)
- 2000: Inter Milan (lost 3-4 to Lazio)
- 2006: Roma (lost 3-4 to Inter Milan)
- 2010: Roma (lost 1-3 to Inter Milan)
- 2015: Lazio (lost 0-2 to Juventus)
3. Alessandro Del Piero and Carlos Tevez are among the top goalscorers
With three goals each, Juventus strikers Del Piero and Tevez are among the top goalscorers. The complete list:
- Del Piero, Juventus (1998, 2002)
- Andriy Shevchenko, Milan (2004)
- Samuel Eto'o, Inter Milan (2009, 2010)
- Tevez, Juventus (2013, 2014)
In the history of the Super Cup, Shevchenko is the only one who has ever scored a hat trick.
4. Mario Mandzukic, the only three-time winner and scorer in three top leagues
Interestingly for Juve's new forward Mandzukic, this is his third Super Cup from THREE different top leagues and he scored in each of those contests:
- 2012: Germany, scored one goal for Bayern
- 2014: Spain, scored one goal for Atletico Madrid in the second leg
- 2015: Italy, scored one goal for Juventus
I haven't done a complete round of research about it, but I'm pretty sure he's the only one who has played, scored and won it in three different top leagues. The closest ones to Mandzukic are:
- Eto'o: He won it three times, two with Barcelona (2005, 2006) and once with Inter Milan (2010)m but only in two top leagues and didn't score in the 2006 edition. He has a great tally, though, scoring four times in five games (Supercopa de Espana plays home and away) in those wins.
- Shevchenko: He has also won three Super Cups for three different leagues: Supercoppa Italiana (2004), the English Super Cup (2009, or known as the Community Shield) and the Ukrainian Super Cup (2011) but he's only scored in the Supercoppa Italiana.
- Tevez: He won the Super Cups three times with three different teams (2008 with Manchester United, 2012 with Manchester City and 2013 with Juventus), but only in two top leagues and scored in two games. He was the man of the match in the other game he didn't score, though.
5. Antonio Conte is the ultimate Supercoppa Italiana winner
Conte is the only Juve player who has won the Supercoppa Italiana as a player and a manager. He won it four times (1995, 1997, 2002, 2003) as a player and twice (2012, 2013) as a manager. All when he was a Juve player or manager. He also scored one goal when Juve beat Vicenza 3-1 in 1997.
Two other individuals make this player-manager list:
- Roberto Mancini: He won it as a player in 1991, where he scored the only goal of the game, with Sampdoria and in 1998 with Lazio. As a manager, he won it in 2005 and 2006 with Inter Milan. Outside of Italy, he has also won a Community Shield, the English Super Cup, in 2012 with Manchester City.
- Carlo Ancelotti: As a player, Ancelotti won it once in 1988 with Milan. He also won it once as a Milan manager in 2004. Like Mancini, Ancelotti has also won Super Cups outside of the peninsula. He won won the 2009 Community Shield with Chelsea and the 2014 UEFA Super Cup with Real Madrid.
Gianluca Vialli is another ex-Juventus player who has won a Super Cup both as player and manager but he won them for different teams and in different leagues. As a player, he won the 1991 Supercoppa Italiana with Sampdoria and 1995 edition with Juve. As a manager, he won the 1998 UEFA Super Cup with Chelsea.
6. Fabio Capello and Marcelo Lippi are the kings of Supercoppa Italiana
As managers, Fabio Capello and Marcelo Lippi each won the Supercoppa Italiana four times. Lippi won them all with Juve (1995, 1997, 2002, 2003) while Capello won them three times in a row with Milan (1992, 1993, 1994) and one with Roma (2001).
In total, Lippi leads with six appearances, winning four. Interestingly, both of his losses (one when he was at Juve and one at Inter) came from Sven-Goran Eriksson (Lazio). Capello is in the second place with five appearances, with the only loss came when he managed Juve (2005). Roberto Mancini is in the third place with four appearances, winning two (2005 and 2006 with Inter) and losing two (2001 with Fiorentina, 2007 with Inter).
Only three managers have won it with multiple clubs:
- Capello: Milan (1992-1994), Roma (2001)
- Rafael Benitez: Inter (2010), Napoli (2014)
- Massimiliano Allegri: Milan (2011), Juve (2015)
The longest streak of appearances, stands at three, belongs to Capello (Milan, 1992-1994) and Luciano Spaletti (Roma, 2006-2008). Capello won them all while Spaletti won one and lost twice.
7. Seeing is believing
The venue is probably the most interesting fact today. Until 2008, the Scudetto winners have almost always acted as the hosts. The only exceptions were in 1993 (Washington D.C.), 2002 (Tripoli, Libya) and 2003 (New Jersey).
It is understandable that teams prefer to play within Italy as the Supercoppa Italiana is usually played two weeks before the new Serie A season starts. Long-distance travel to outside of Europe means less time for preparation and fatigue.
However, football is a business today. You either grow or die. You have to sacrifice something to gain something else and an experiment in 2009 was proven useful. It was held in Beijing, China, the most populated country in the world. Their strong economy had also made it possible. As the result, the attendance and sponsorships received a huge boost and in the last seven years, the Supercoppa Italiana had been held in Asia five times: Four times in China and once in Qatar.
For us non-European fans, especially in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region, it's not impossible anymore to see our beloved team play a competitive match directly in front of us. It's not impossible anymore to see our legends mesmerize us in a competitive match directly in front of us. Supercoppa Italiana has served as a spring board for us to get closer to our team and who knows, maybe someday Juventus will play a Supercoppa Italiana match in your country.
Seeing is believing.