Mario Zatelli, the wire of OM

Mario Zatelli has been the darling of the Velodrome for many years. Both as a player and as a coach, Zatelli is the one who has most identified with OM. Born 21 December, 1912 in Setif, Algeria, he played football in the US Moroccan Casablanca and is spotted by Charles El-Kabbach, the recruiter club for Marseille in Africa. He joined Olympique de Marseille in 1935. Loved by the public and Nicknamed the "Beautiful Mario", Zatelli was a very good center-forward, scoring 90 goals during his Olympien career in the league, which in made the sixth-leading scorer in club history.


French international at one time, he played at OM between 1935 and 1938 and between 1943 and 1948. He enjoyed great success with the club by winning the championship in 1937 and 1948 and the Coupe de France in 1938. When he hung up his boots, he became a coach and knew even more success.




He won the Coupe-Championnat double with OGC Nice in 1952, is vice-champion of France of D2 ten years later with Nantesin 1962, year during which he also leads the Nancéiens in the final of the Coupe de France. He started on the bench of OM in 1964 and knew highs but also several lows. He led the Provencal club to a sad fourteenth place in the first division in the 1964-1965 season, a season marked by history. OM was taken over by Marcel Leclerc and the club found promotion with Zatelli at the end of the following season.


Mario Zatelli
Mario Zatelli


The love story between OM and Zatelli was eternal. A connoisseur and renowned for his humanitarianism and good sense, Zatelli coached the club between 1964 and 1966 and between November 1968 and December 1970. He then returned to the head of the team from March 1972 until the end of the season. He took over the team a year later in March 1973 but left the club early in the following season.




Zatelli is a legend because he has won everything with OM or almost. He won the Coupe de France in 1969, champion of France 1971 and the first double Cup-Championship of the club in 1972. He also participated in the arrival of Olympien legends like Josip Skoblar or Roger Magnusson. Zatelli is the man who formed the extraordinary duo composed of the Swede and Croatian. One of his many successes.


He died on 7 January, 2004 at the age of 91 at Sainte-Maxime. Zatelli will have written one of the most beautiful pages in the history of Olympique de Marseille.