Zoff in 1974
|Date of birth||28 February 1942|
|Place of birth||Mariano del Friuli, Italy|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Dino Zoff (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdino ddzɔf]; born 28 February 1942) is an Italian former football goalkeeper and is the oldest winner ever of the World Cup, which he earned as captain of the Italian team in the 1982 tournament in Spain, at the age of 40 years, 4 months and 13 days, also winning the award for best goalkeeper of the tournament, and being elected to the team of the tournament, for his performances, keeping two clean-sheets, an honour he also received after winning the 1968 European Championship on home soil. Zoff also achieved great club success with Juventus, winning 6 Serie A titles, 2 Coppa Italias, and an UEFA Cup, also reaching two European Champions' Cup finals in 1972-73 and 1982-83 seasons.
Zoff was a goalkeeper of outstanding ability and has a place in the history of the sport among the very best in this role, being named the 3rd greatest goalkeeper of the 20th century by the IFFHS behind Lev Yashin and Gordon Banks. He holds the record for the longest playing time without allowing goals in international tournaments (1142 minutes) set between 1972 and 1974. With 112 caps, he is the fifth most capped player for the Azzurri. In 2004 Pelé named him as one of the 125 greatest living footballers. In the same year, Zoff placed fifth in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll, and was elected as Italy's golden player of the past 50 years.
After retiring as a footballer, Zoff went on to become coach for the Italian national team, with which he reached the Euro 2000 Final, and several other Italian clubs, including his former club Juventus, with which he won an UEFA Cup and a Coppa Italia double during the 1989-90 season, trophies he had also won as a player.
Dino Zoff was born in Mariano del Friuli, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, and was elected in a poll by the IFFHS as the third best goalkeeper of the 20th Century – after Lev Yashin (1st) and Gordon Banks (2nd).
Zoff's career got off to an inauspicious start, when at the age of fourteen he had trials with Inter Milan and Juventus, but was rejected due to a lack of height. Five years later, having grown by 33 centimetres, he made his Serie A debut with Udinese, though Zoff made only four appearances for Udinese before moving to Mantova in 1963.
In 1968, Zoff was transferred to Napoli. In the same year he made his debut for Italy, playing against Bulgaria in the quarter final of the 1968 European Championships. Italy proceeded to win the tournament, Zoff taking home a winners' medal after only his fourth international appearance, keeping two clean sheets, and winning the award for the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
Left out of the Italian starting eleven in the 1970 World Cup, Zoff resumed his success after signing for Juventus in 1972. In eleven years with Juventus, Zoff won the Serie A championship six times, the Coppa Italia twice and the UEFA Cup once, and in 1973, he placed second in the Ballon d'Or, following his Serie A title victory. Zoff Participated in the 1978 World Cup with Italy, during which Italy managed a fourth place finish keeping 3 clean-sheets, as well as the 1980 European Championship on home soil, during which Italy managed yet another fourth place finish. During the 1980 European Championship, Zoff kept three clean sheets, only conceding one goal in the bronze medal match, which Italy would lose on penalties; Zoff was elected as the goalkeeper of the tournament once again. Zoff established a record for minutes unbeaten in a European Championship, which was later beaten by Iker Casillas in 2012. Zoff had also established the record for most minutes unbeaten European Championship qualifying, which was also beaten, by compatriot Buffon in 2011. However, Zoff's greatest feat came in the 1982 World Cup, where he captained Italy to victory in the tournament at the age of 40, making him the oldest ever winner of the World Cup. He followed in the footsteps of compatriot Gianpiero Combi (1934) as only the second goalkeeper to captain a World Cup-winning side (later Iker Casillas repeated this feat for Spain in the 2010 World Cup). He was also voted as the Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament. His manager Enzo Bearzot said:
"He was a level-headed goalkeeper, capable of staying calm during the toughest and the most exhilarating moments. He always held back both out of modesty and respect for his opponents. At the end of the Brazil match, he came over to give me a kiss on the cheek, without saying a single word. For me, that fleeting moment was the most intense of the entire World Cup."
Zoff is also the oldest player ever to have won the trophy. He holds the record for the longest stretch (1142 minutes) without allowing any goals in international football, set between 1972 and 1974. That clean sheet stretch was ended by Haitian player Manno Sanon's beautiful goal during the 1974 World Cup. He also held the records for the oldest Serie A player and most Serie A appearances (570 matches) for more than 20 years, until the season 2005–06 when the record was broken by S.S. Lazio goalkeeper Marco Ballotta and A.C. Milan defender Paolo Maldini respectively. During the 1982-83 season, his final season, Dino Zoff won the Coppa Italia, and he reached the European Cup final with Juventus, only to be defeated 1-0 by Hamburg.
At the time of his retirement, Zoff's 112 caps were the most ever by a member of the Italian national team. He currently sits in fifth place in this category, as well as second among goalkeepers, Gianluigi Buffon having surpassed the latter record. Zoff has conceded the fewest goals in a single Serie A season, behind Sebastiano Rossi, and has also gone the most time unbeaten in Serie A without conceding a goal, going unbeated for 903 minutes, once again, behind Sebastiano Rossi. With 570 Serie A appearances, Zoff is also the fourth highest appearance holder in Serie A of all time, and he is the fourth oldest player in Serie A to have ever played a match.
After his retirement as a player, Zoff went into coaching, joining the technical staff at Juventus, where he was head coach from 1988 to 1990. In 1990 he was sacked, despite winning the UEFA Cup and the Coppa Italia during the 1989-90 season. He then joined Lazio, where he became president in 1994. In 1998 Zoff was appointed coach of the Italian national team. Using a more open and attacking style than usually used by Italian sides, he coached Italy to a second-place finish in Euro 2000, suffering an extra-time defeat at the hands of France in the final, when in the 90th minute of the game, Italy were 1–0 up and less than sixty seconds from winning the tournament before France scored to equalise and go to extra time. A few days later Zoff resigned, following strong criticism from A.C. Milan president and politician Silvio Berlusconi.
Zoff returned to Lazio, but resigned following a poor start to the 2001–02 season. In 2005, he was named the coach of Fiorentina. But after saving the team from relegation on the last day of the season, Zoff was let go.
- Serie A
- 1972–73, 1974–75, 1976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81, 1981–82
- Coppa Italia
- 1978–79, 1982–83
- UEFA Cup
- European Cup
- 1982-83 (Runners-up)
- UEFA European Championship: 2000
- November 2003: Italy's Golden Player – the best Italian player of the last 50 years, selected by the Italian Football Federation.
|Italy national team|
- IFFHS' Century Elections – rsssf.com – by Karel Stokkermans, RSSSF.
- "Classic Football: Dino Zoff – I was there". FIFA Official Site.
- World Cup Hall of Fame: Dino Zoff – www.sportillustrated.cnn.com
- UEFA Golden PLayer: Dino Zoff – www.uefa.com.
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