HALL OF FAME
Pantofola d’Oro and the history of football: a love affair
For 50 years Pantofola d’Oro was not only the football boot of the great stars but also of many footballers in general who knew how to appreciate a boot of extraordinary quality, a quality also recognised by leading coaches worldwide. Not only John Charles, the first player to come up with the word pantofola (slipper) to describe the work of Emidio Lazzarini, but all the world stars contributing to the history of the the most beautiful game chose the craft of Lazzarini.
FOLLOWING ON FROM THIS IMPACT, A HOST OF PERSONALITIES IN THE GAME MADE THE SAME CHOICE, A CHOICE NOT ONLY OF CONVENIENCE BUT AN APPRECIATION OF WHAT IS THE GREATEST FOOTBALL BOOT TO EVER HAVE BEEN CREATED.
To younger ones he is known for his mythical shout of golasso when commentating games on TV, but Altafini was also one of the great attackers to play the game. In Brazil they called him Mazola, because of his vague likeness to another great champion, Valentino Mazzola, unfortunately he dying together with other members of the great Torino team in the Superga tragedy.
AS WELL AS WINNING ALL THERE WAS TO WIN IN THE GAME ALTAFINI WAS ALSO MEMBER OF A WORLD CUP WINNING TEAM.
Antonio Valentín Angelillo, known as ‘the angel with the dirty face’, he was an Argentinian forward who became Italian to all intents and purposes.
His 33 goal total in a season is still a record in an 18 team league. He was a rebellious character and was considered «el mas grande centreforward del mundo» and also was attractive to women, this causing jealousy on the behalf of Herrera, who moved him on from Inter.
Di origini giamaicane, John Barnes è un trequartista che non disdice giocare all’ala ed è capace di grandi assist e grandi gol. Se passate da Liverpool, tutti vi dicono che ha giocato con i reds 407 partite segnando 108 reti. Veste la maglia nazionale inglese per dodici anni e la sua popolarità porta la softwarehouse Krisalis a pubblicare nel 1992 un videogioco a lui dedicato dal nome John Barnes European Football, ispirato al Campionato europeo tenutosi proprio quell’anno.
Nicknamed ‘Bobby goal’, Roberto had the face of a polite child but was always ready to punish the opposition, and often he kept that happy smile on his face after scoring. He is without doubt one of the best and most prolific of Italian forwards ever to play the game. He was strong in the air, elegant in his movements and had a strong winning determination. He was much liked by fans and much feared by opposition.
As a player he formed part of the so-called Magic Trio with John Charles and Omar Sívori, they forming one of the best-loved attacks in Italian football history. He was a Juventus man through and through, and once he hung up his boots he became part of the boardroom team and won trophy after trophy.
HIS CAREER BOTH AS A PLAYER AND AS A DIRECTOR MADE HIM ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSONALITIES IN THE WORLD OF ITALIAN FOOTBALL.
His most famous and decisive goal was certainly the one which enabled Italy to win for the first time against England away from home at Wembley in 1973.
A midfield player, slow but composed, he was tough and could spread the ball around well. He started his career in the youth team of Spal and then played for Rome, Juventus and Milan. However, his most important successes were as a manager. His motto was: ‘There are players who make the difference and there are others who just make up the numbers.’
His nickname was Toninho, and he had a great understanding of his position on the pitch and great vision and ball control. He started off playing for the mythical Atletico Mineiro team in Brazil and then moved to Roma and later on to Sampdoria. His football was all about happiness and the joy of living – a bit like having rice with your beans! With Roma he won two Coppa Italia finals but finished on the losing side in a European Cup final. He has always remained in the hearts of Roma fans.
One of the great forwards of all time. He was Welsh and was nicknamed King John. He was a gentle giant and was never booked or sent off in all his career. In five years playing for Juventus he scored 105 goals in 182 games and won three league titles and two Coppa Italia finals.
IF THE BOOTS OF LAZZARINI ARE CALLED PANTOFOLA D’ORO, IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE INSPIRED BY THIS GREAT PLAYER.
World Cup winner with Italy in 1982, Bruno Conti spent his career with Roma, and with them he won the 1982-1983 league title, but lost in the European Cup final the year after. He was predominantly a right winger, a master of dribbling and good at getting to the goal-line and putting in perfect crosses.
Roberto Pruzzo, centre forward in that great Roma team, still thanks him till this day for all the goals he laid on for him.
One of the great players and managers of all time. He was something of a footballing prophet and in his time and under his influence football changed totally and indeed it was in the seventies with the great Dutch team of those years that total football became the most innovative of concepts. The ‘Cruijff turn’ became immortalised and even though players at times knew it was coming there was little they could do about it. Three European Cups won with Ajax and three consecutive ‘palloni d’oro’ awards were proof of his mastery. As a manager and director of Barcelona he laid the basis for the club’s success and we are still seeing the fruits of such endeavour to this very day.
A real hot-head if there ever was one. A bright and creative forward, he scored the winning goal for Lazio against Roma in the derby of 15 January 1989 (1-0), and then ran to the Roma supporters and gave them a one finger salute, and this his first derby back after three years away from the top division. He also played for Juventus, Napoli and Milan, and later on in Scotland and England – where the West Ham fans still have a particular regard for him.
Some knew him as the ant, for he was resistant to all, others as the butterfly because he would float around all areas of the pitch. He was a Brazilian from Curitiba, and in Italy played for Verona, Napoli, Ascoli, Como, Avellino and Benevento. Not surprisingly his travels earned him the nickname of the gypsy. He was enormously talented and had a mild and generous nature about him. After the 1978 World Cup he was judged to be one of the three best players in the world, behind Mario Kempes and Ruud Krol.
Enjoys the title of the Eighth King of Rome and was a universal style player in that he possessed great poise and grace and was recognised by all as one of the world’s best. He won the league with Roma in ’83, missed out on a World Cup victory to Italy in 1982 and declined to take a penalty in the European Cup defeat to Liverpool in 1984. Despite this he still remains the Eighth King of Rome.
A Swedish defender, forced to retire at the age of 27 due to a serious injury and he became a coach soon after. In more than thirty years in management he is the only one to have done the league-cup double in three different countries: Sweden, Portugal and Italy. In fact in these three countries he has won a total of 5 championships, 10 cups or supercups. In Italy he managed Roma, Lazio, Sampdoria and Fiorentina. The Roma supporters above all remember him for the defeat suffered at home against Lecce for 2-3 and which meant they lost the league championship to Juventus.
Considered to be one of the best defenders in the eighties and nineties. Ciro Ferrara played for Napoli and Juventus, and won 7 championships, 2 Coppe Italia, 1 UEFA Cup, 5 Supercoppe italiane,1 Champions League, 1 Super Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup, and 1 Coppa Intertoto. Not a bad haul! He played with Maradona, and rumour has it that Ferrara passed by Maradona’s apartment of a morning so as to wake him up and ensure he would not be late for training.
Manoel Francisco dos Santos, better known as Mané Garrincha was a phenomenon and considered the best right winger of all time. He won 2 World Cups with Brazil in 1958 and 1962, and he was a master dribbler. It was a pity that, as often happens, his football genius was accompanied by other vices which led to his downfall. Of course it is a well known fact that he had different length legs, six centimetres of difference between them, and according to some this was due to polio, whereas others considered the cause to be malnutrition. In fact he was declared as an invalid and advised not to play football. His nickname Garrincha was given to him by his sister, because his small stature reminded her of the small birds he used to try and catch when he was young. When Garrincha started his football career his nickname took on a different significance in that it referred to his particular way of running due to his handicap and which was similar to a little bird jumping.
HE WAS ALSO KNOWN AS THE ANGEL WITH ODD LEGS, FOOTBALL’S CHAPLIN AND THE PEOPLE’S JOY.
First a lorry driver, then a footballer. His feet could certainly talk! Helmut Haller was German from Augusta, and played most of all as an inside forward or winger, and is remembered as one of the best in his role in the sixties, as well as one of the best to wear the shirt of Bologna, and with whom he won a league championship. A good dribbler, a good finisher, and full of personality. He moved on to Juventus, with whom he won another two league championships. Not a stereotype German at all, in that he had a real life joy, loved joking, and was a good mover on the dancefloor.
Jürgen Klinsmann was an outright striker. He won a World Cup and the European Championships with Germany and played in Italy for Inter, in Germany for Stoccarda and Bayern Monaco, for Monaco in France, and for Tottenham in England, the latter team’s supporters still holding him in high esteem. He became manager of Germany and the USA and is a real personality of the sport.
Roberto Mancini, called Mancio, was one of those footballers identified as creative, and certainly the description was not misplaced. To see him play was a real pleasure, although fans of Genova and Lazio, two teams he played against in derbies for Sampdoria and Roma might not agree. He formed a great partnership with Vialli and their partnership rightly takes its place in the annals of Italian football. After retiring he switched his attentions to managing and won titles both in Italy and England.
AT PRESENT HE IS MANAGING ITALY. THE BEST OF LUCK TO HIM!
Son of Valentino, he became the symbol of the great Inter team of Moratti and Herrera which conquered Europe and the world. There was a great dual with Rivera of Milan as to whom should be in the national team and both in the press and on the field both were always the centre of attention due to their prowess. They were both memorable players and memorable too was the goal Mazzola scored for the national team after a series of flicks and interchanges had cut the opposition’s midfield and defence wide apart.
The father and protector of the Cameroon lions, he was one of the first African players to become famous in the whole world.
A classy forward, graceful of movement, and holds the record as the oldest player to have scored in the final phases of the World Cup – he was 42 when he scored in the 1994 World Cup. He was voted in 58th position of the best players of the 20th Century by the World Soccer publication.
HIS TOTAL NUMBER OF CLUB AND INTERNATIONAL GAMES AMOUNTED TO 846 WITH 431 GOALS SCORED, AN AVERAGE OF 0,51 GOALS PER GAME. A GREAT OF THE GAME.
Ferenc Puskás is remembered as the greatest Hungarian player ever and amongst the most skilful of any country in any period. He is the third leading goalscorer of all-time, having scored more than a hundred goals for club and country. He played off a main striker and was a great header of the ball and with a high leap, notwithstanding his small stature, had a fine close control of the ball, and packed an extremely powerful shot. His teammate and friend Alfredo Di Stéfano, he himself a wonderful player, described him as the best ever. To his credit, and in addition to various championship titles won in Hungary and Spain, are an Olympic gold won with Hungary in 1952, three European Cups won in 1959, 1960 and 1966, as well as an Intercontinental Cup in 1960 – all of these trophies with Real Madrid.
Gigi Riva, known as Rombo di tuono, is the best striker Italy has ever produced. Notwithstanding two serious injuries limited him considerably, he is still the country’s leading scorer with 35 goals. He won an incredible league championship with Cagliari and despite the overtures of Agnelli and Moratti, he never moved from his island team. An amazing left foot, tenacious as a lion, and with an amazing leap for powerful headers, he won the European Championships with Italy in ’68 and two years later got to the World Cup final with Italy in Mexico. Unfortunately for him and for Italy there was a legend called Pelè playing for the opposition.
Known as ‘the priest’ for his erect and direct posture and movement, Gianni Rivera is without a doubt one of the best midfield players Italy ever produced and among the top ten in the world. He made his club debut at 15 years of age and in his career won all there is to win, including the Pallone d’oro in ’69, becoming the first Italian to do so. He won the European Championships with Italy in ’68, and reached the World Cup final in ’70 in Mexico against Brazil.
HIS PARTNERSHIP WITH MAZZOLA RIGHTLY REMAINS IN THE ANNALS OF ITALIAN FOOTBALL.
Enrique Omar Sívori was the first Argentinian ‘pibe de oro’, long before Maradona arrived on the scene. He played with his socks around his ankles and loved to nutmeg players and by so doing infuriate defenders. Classy and elegant he played on the edge of the possible and in 61 he won the Pallone d’oro, the world recognising him as a great attacking star. From River Plate he moved to Juventus and then to Napoli. Anarchic and clever too, he did as he wished on the pitch – too much so for the liking of certain managers.
HOWEVER, MANAGERS COULD NEVER TAME HIS INSTINCTS AND HE SCORED A SACKFUL OF GOALS. A REAL NATURAL TALENT WAS HE.
Another winner of the Pallone d’oro, he winning it in 196. Luisito Suarez was one of those midfielders managers love to have. He always kept possession of the ball and could pass in the most accurate of ways, always able to read the development of the game two or three moves in advance.
WITH BARCELONA HE WON ALL THE HONOURS AND THEN AFTER MOVING TO INTER HE DID THE SAME FOR THEM. A PHENOMENON LIKE NO OTHER.
A player before he became a manager, Ferruccio Valcareggi was the first Italian manger to win a trophy after WW2. In fact he won the European Championships in Rome in ’68 in a replay final with Yugoslavia. Two years later he reached the World Cup final but lost to Brazil in the final. It was he who introduced the sharing of roles between Mazzola and Rivera, and the decision to play Rivera just for the final 6 minutes in the final was discussed for years following. He was, notwithstanding all the discussion, a real gentleman.
Dino Zoff is the greatest goalkeeper Italy has ever had, he enjoying an impressively long career. He won the European Championships with Italy in 1968 and the World Cup in 1982. He later became manager of the national team and reached the final of the European Championships in 2000 but lost to France. He was the backbone of Juventus in the seventies and eighties.
TACITURN, INTROVERT, REFUSING TO STATE THE OBVIOUS, HE WAS A KEEPER IN THE TRUE SENSE OF THE WORD, KEEPING HIS DEFENCE IN ORDER AND TRANSMITTING A SENSE OF INVINCIBILITY.