|Full name||Adolfo Baloncieri|
|Date of birth||27 July 1897|
|Place of birth||Alessandria, Italy|
|Date of death||23 July 1986(aged 88)|
|Place of death||Genoa, Italy|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
|Olympic medal record|
|1928 Amsterdam||Team competition|
Critically regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, Gianni Brera considered him one of the great playmakers of all time, along the likes of Giuseppe Meazza and Valentino Mazzola. In 2010, Carlo Felice Chiesa wrote: "If it were possible to rank all-time great "registas" of world football, Adolfo Baloncieri, an athlete from a period so remote from our own, would end up among the first, if not first."
Biography and club career
Baloncieri was born in Castelceriolo in the province of Alessandria, to a family originally from Caselle Torinese. During childhood he lived with his family in Rosario, Argentina for 12 years where he entered the world of football at age nine. Eager to play sport, he did not complete his studies in accountancy.
He returned to Italy in 1913 and joined Alessandria; for which he debuted in 1914 at the age of 17 before World War I suspended league fixtures. During the conflict he was at the front as a gunner. After football resumed he distinguished himself among the most famous footballers of the 1920s with Torino, with whom he won two national titles (one was revoked for the "Allemandi Case"). In 1930 he was knighted by the Crown of Italy on the recommendation of the Italian Football Federation's Leandro Arpinati. Baloncieri retired in 1931; interested in the development of young athletes, he was responsible for the development of the Torino youth system. He later became a manager.
His older brother Mario was an amateur footballer in Alessandria and then a reporter, while his cousin William Brezzi, who died at a young age, was his teammate at Alessandria and the national team. His brother Carlo drowned in Finale Ligure in August 1933, while his son also died at a young age. With his other daughter, Flora, a teacher, and a sister, he lived in Genoa in later years. He died in 1986, days before he turned 89, from pneumonia.
At International level, Baloncieri was the captain of the Italy national football team that won the bronze medal at the 1928 Olympic Games and the winner of the 1930 Coppa Internazionale, alongside Giuseppe Meazza. He earned 47 caps for Italy between 1920 and 1930, and with 25 goals, he is Italy's sixth all-time highest goalscorer. He also played in two other Olympics, 1920 and 1924, making him the 2nd Most All-Time player with Appearances in the Olympic football tournament.
Style of play
- Brera, Gianni; Milano, Baldini & Castoldi (1998). Storia critica del calcio italiano.