Bio
Pierluigi Collina
Born: 1960-02-13
Intl. since: 1995-01-01
Hometown: Viareggio
Country: Italy
Speaks: Italian
Occupation: Financial advisor
Hobbies: basketball, gardening, family

Often regarded as (one of) the best referee(s) of the 20th century, Pierluigi Collina took charge of many great matches, one of them was the 2002 World Cup final in Yokohama between Germany and Brazil. And there were finals of the Champions League, the UEFA Cup and the Olympic Tournament.

opels

Apart from being a very good ref, Collina also wrote at least one book about it and managed to use his popularity - and his famous bald head - to make some money by selling Opels on tv. And why not? But Opel was also the Milan sponsor, a fact that may have prompted Collina to retire a year early.

book

In his book Le mie regole del gioco ("my rules", not "the rules") Collina writes a little bit about his life, he mentions some matches and tells us a lot about his thoughts on how to be a good referee. Because he was such a good referee all other referees should take notice (not because he is such an interesting writer, which he isn't). Collina turns out to be a stickler to routines. When he arrives before a match, how he gets there, what he eats and drinks, when he does his training, how long he sits concentrating, everything had to go according to his rules. The Italian sounds a bit autistic in the way he really needs to do all those things in the exactly right way (Collina sometimes sounds like the character Sheldon Cooper, in the American sitcom The big bang theory). Collina writes about how he hates dining alone in a town the night before the match. And how he hates sitting at a table longer than necessary even when his assistants join him.

A large part of the book is about his preparations before a match. Collina always tried to find out as much as possible about the teams, the players, the style of playing, the history between players. He knew beforehand what a coach would do when his team was a goal behind, he wanted to know which leg players preferred to use (a lefty on the right side is more likely to cross into the midfield, and when a lefty on the left side was on his way to the goal line, Collina knew he could start watching the players standing in the box.)
All these facts he taught his assistants on a white board.

Did you know
COLLINA

  • Pierluigi was widely regarded as one of the world's best officials. After his retirement in August 2005 he concentrated on his own business in financial advise.
  • Around 1988 Collina contracted a disease (alopecia), that made him lose all his facial hair. You could say that this worked out to be a small bonus for him as his bald head made him stand out. Everybody instantly recognized him.
  • This is from Graham Poll's book "seeing red", Poll describes a briefing by Collina during the 2002 World Cup:
    In the hotel room in which he told the assistants what he wanted from them there was a white board and he drew a pitch on it. I expected him to explain something straigthforward - such as which areas of the field he wanted the assistants to make decisions. But on that white board he wrote the names of both teams in their correct formations. He used the names he was going to call them if he needed to speak to them, rather than their formal names. Then he went on to explain, in fastidious detail, what would happen if Japan went a goal up or if Turkey took the lead. He explained how the losing side would change their tactics, or formation, or whether they would make a substitution. He detailed how the other team would probably respond. The he indicated who might get involved in incidents behind his back. He told the assistants who and what to look for in what circumstances.
  • Collina told Graham Poll to look at a player's hands when he elbows another player. If his hands are in a fist, it is deliberate, if the fingers are spread it isn't.
  • Collina reached such celebrity status that he made his own rules. The Italian Football Federation (IFF) went as far as to change the referee's retirement age in their regulations from 45 to 46, just to make it possible for Collina to continue for an other year.
    When Pierluigi started a number of commercial activities on the side (most notably with General Motors) the instinctive, but foolish reaction of the IFF was to ban him from major games. Collina reacted by offering them his resignation, which they tried to refuse, but to no avail.
  • Luciano Moggi - yes the one from the 2006 match-fixing scandal - absolutely hated Collina. There was just no way to bribe this referee.
  • His favourite team is a basketball club, called Fortitudo Bologna.
  • Only after retirement did he confess that he's always been a supporter of Lazio.
  • Collina did things we would like to see every referee do, for instance coming back on his decision and explain it to the team managers during a match (1977).
  • Collina used to collect players' shirts. Before a match he often already decided about whose shirt he was going to get.
  • In 2003, he published his autobiography, The Rules of the Game (Le Mie Regole del Gioco).
Statistics
Statistics for PIERLUIGI COLLINA
Totals Home Away Total
Penalties 16 12 28
Fouls 0 0 0
Yellow 118 128 246
YellowRed 0 0 0
Red 4 10 14
Averages Home Away Total
Penalties 0.16 0.12 0.14
Fouls 0 0 0
Yellow 1.18 1.28 1.23
YellowRed 0 0 0
Red 0.04 0.1 0.07

Based on 100 international matches

Matches
MATCHES FOR PIERLUIGI COLLINA
Date Score Yellow Red Penalties Fouls
Champions League 2005-2006
qualifiers 3rd roundVillarrealEverton2005-08-242 - 1 2 (0-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
WC 2006 qualifiers - Europe
PortugalSlovakia2005-06-042 - 0 2 (0-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
GreeceDenmark2005-02-092 - 1 5 (2-3)0 (0-0)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)
CroatiaBulgaria2004-10-092 - 2 6 (3-3)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
Champions League 2004-2005
1/4 finalsLyonPSV2005-04-051 - 1 2 (0-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
1st knockoutChelsea F.C.Barcelona2005-03-084 - 2 5 (3-2)0 (0-0)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)
group stageLeverkusenDynamo Kyiv2004-12-083 - 0 4 (3-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stagePSGPorto2004-10-202 - 0 5 (1-4)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stageOlympiakosLiverpool2004-09-281 - 0 7 (5-2)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
qualifiers 3rd roundCrvena ZvezdaPSV2004-08-113 - 2 3 (2-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
friendly
AustriaGermany2004-08-181 - 3 2 (1-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
IsraelNorway1999-01-200 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)
ChinaEngland1996-05-230 - 3 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
NetherlandsGermany1996-04-240 - 1 1 (0-1)0 (0-0)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)
Euro 2004
1/2 finalsGreeceCzech Republic2004-07-011 - 0 6 (3-3)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stageCroatiaEngland2004-06-212 - 4 1 (1-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stagePortugalGreece2004-06-121 - 2 4 (2-2)0 (0-0)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)
UEFA Cup 2003 - 2004
finalValenciaMarseille2004-05-192 - 0 4 (2-2)1 (0-1)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)
Champions League 2003-2004
1/2 finalsDeportivo La CorunaPorto2004-05-040 - 1 5 (3-2)1 (1-0)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)
1/4 finalsMonacoReal Madrid2004-04-063 - 1 3 (1-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
1st knockoutArsenalCelta de Vigo2004-03-102 - 0 2 (0-2)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stagePSVDeportivo La Coruna2003-12-103 - 2 1 (1-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stageManchester UnitedGlasgow Rangers2003-11-043 - 0 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stagePortoReal Madrid2003-10-011 - 3 3 (1-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
qualifiers 3rd roundClub BruggeDortmund2003-08-132 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
Euro 2004 qualifiers
play-offsNorwaySpain2003-11-190 - 3 2 (1-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
TurkeyEngland2003-10-110 - 0 4 (3-1)0 (0-0)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)
RussiaSwitzerland2003-09-104 - 1 4 (2-2)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
BulgariaBelgium2003-06-072 - 2 2 (1-1)0 (0-0)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)
AustriaNetherlands2002-10-160 - 3 4 (2-2)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
Champions League 2002-2003
1/4 finalsManchester UnitedReal Madrid2003-04-234 - 3 3 (2-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stageOlympiakosManchester United2002-10-232 - 3 3 (2-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stagePSVDortmund2002-10-021 - 3 2 (2-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
qualifiers 3rd roundAuxerreBoavista FC2002-08-280 - 0 5 (2-3)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
UEFA Cup 2002 - 2003
1/4 finalsMalagaBoavista FC2003-03-131 - 0 5 (2-3)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
4th roundCelticVfB Stuttgart2003-02-203 - 1 2 (0-2)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
3rd roundFulhamHertha BSC2002-12-120 - 0 5 (2-3)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
WC 2002
finalGermanyBrazil2002-06-300 - 2 2 (1-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
round of 16JapanTurkey2002-06-180 - 1 4 (1-3)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stageArgentinaEngland2002-06-070 - 1 3 (1-2)0 (0-0)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)
Champions League 2001-2002
1/2 finalsReal MadridBarcelona2002-05-011 - 1 3 (2-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
2nd group stagePortoReal Madrid2002-02-271 - 2 5 (3-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
2nd group stageNantesBayern Munich2001-12-050 - 1 4 (1-3)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stageBarcelonaLeverkusen2001-10-172 - 1 5 (3-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stageLiverpoolDynamo Kyiv2001-09-261 - 0 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
qualifiers 3rd roundFenerbahce SKGlasgow Rangers2001-08-222 - 1 5 (2-3)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
UEFA Cup 2001 - 2002
1/4 finalsPSVFeyenoord2002-03-141 - 1 2 (1-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
WC 2002 qualifiers - Europe
play-offsTurkeyAustria2001-11-145 - 0 2 (0-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
GermanyEngland2001-09-011 - 5 2 (1-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
GreeceFinland2000-10-071 - 0 2 (1-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
WC 2002 qualifiers - S. America
UruguayColombia2001-10-071 - 1 6 (3-3)0 (0-0)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)
Champions League 2000-2001
1/2 finalsLeeds UnitedValencia2001-05-020 - 0 2 (0-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
1/4 finalsGalatasarayReal Madrid2001-04-033 - 2 3 (2-1)0 (0-0)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)
2nd group stageSpartak MoskvaArsenal2000-11-224 - 1 5 (3-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
1st group stagePSVAnderlecht2000-11-082 - 3 0 (0-0)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
1st group stageGalatasarayGlasgow Rangers2000-09-273 - 2 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
UEFA Cup 2000 - 2001
1/4 finalsPortoLiverpool2001-03-080 - 0 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
round of 16Celta de VigoVfB Stuttgart2001-02-222 - 1 5 (3-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
Euro 2000
1/4 finalsSpainFrance2000-06-251 - 2 5 (4-1)0 (0-0)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)
group stageEnglandGermany2000-06-171 - 0 2 (1-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stageNetherlandsCzech Republic2000-06-111 - 0 5 (2-3)0 (0-0)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)
Champions League 1999-2000
1/4 finalsManchester UnitedReal Madrid2000-04-192 - 3 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)
2nd group stageHertha BSCPorto2000-03-210 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
2nd group stageBarcelonaSparta Prague1999-12-085 - 0 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
1st group stageMarseilleCroatia Zagreb1999-11-022 - 2 2 (1-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
1st group stageGlasgow RangersPSV1999-10-204 - 1 1 (0-1)0 (0-0)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)
1st group stageReal MadridPorto1999-09-283 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)
qualifiers 3rd roundGalatasarayRapid Wien1999-08-251 - 0 3 (2-1)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
UEFA Cup 1999 - 2000
round of 16MallorcaMonaco2000-03-024 - 1 0 (0-0)1 (0-1)2 (2-0)0 (0-0)
Euro 2000 qualifiers
play-offsEnglandScotland1999-11-170 - 1 4 (2-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
GermanyTurkey1999-10-090 - 0 5 (2-3)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
IrelandYugolsavia1999-09-012 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
play-offsEnglandScotland1998-11-170 - 1 4 (2-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
SwedenEngland1998-09-052 - 1 3 (1-2)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
Champions League 1998-1999
finalManchester UnitedBayern Munich1999-05-262 - 1 1 (0-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stagePortoAjax1998-12-093 - 0 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stageBarcelonaBayern Munich1998-11-041 - 2 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)
group stageKaiserslauternBenfica1998-09-161 - 0 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
UEFA Cup 1998 - 1999
1/4 finalsCelta de VigoMarseille1999-03-160 - 0 4 (2-2)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
WC 1998
group stageFranceDenmark1998-06-242 - 1 4 (2-2)0 (0-0)2 (1-1)0 (0-0)
group stageNetherlandsBelgium1998-06-130 - 0 2 (0-2)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
Champions League 1997-1998
1/4 finalsBayern MunichDortmund1998-03-040 - 0 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stageLeverkusenMonaco1997-12-102 - 2 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stageReal MadridOlympiakos1997-10-225 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
group stageNewcastle UnitedBarcelona1997-09-173 - 2 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)
WC 1998 qualifiers - Am/Caribbean
final stageUSAEl Salvador1997-11-164 - 2 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
UEFA Cup 1997 - 1998
qualifiers 1st roundPrincipatDundee United1997-07-230 - 8 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
WC 1998 qualifiers - Europe
SwedenScotland1997-04-302 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
ArmeniaGermany1996-10-091 - 5 4 (1-3)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
UEFA Cup 1996 - 1997
1/4 finalsTenerifeBrøndby1997-03-040 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
1st roundCelticHamburger SV1996-09-100 - 2 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
Champions League 1996-1997
group stageGrasshopperAjax1996-12-040 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
European Cup2 1996 - 1997
2nd roundGalatasarayPSG1996-10-174 - 2 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
Olympic Games 1996
finalNigeria OTArgentina OT1996-08-033 - 2 4 (3-1)0 (0-0)1 (0-1)0 (0-0)
1/4 finalsPortugal OTFrance OT1996-07-272 - 1 11 (6-5)2 (0-2)3 (1-2)0 (0-0)
group stageNigeria OTJapan OT1996-07-232 - 0 5 (2-3)0 (0-0)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)
group stageSpain OTSaudi Arabia OT1996-07-201 - 0 3 (2-1)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
UEFA Cup 1995 - 1996
2nd roundAuxerreNottingham Forest1995-10-170 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
1st roundBotevSevilla FC1995-09-261 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
qualifiersSliema WanderersOmonia1995-08-221 - 2 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)