José Altafini

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José Altafini
Mazola.jpg
Altafini being presented with a commemorative jersey by the President of Brazil on the 50th anniversary of the nation's victory in the 1958 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Full name José João Altafini
Date of birth (1938-07-24) 24 July 1938 (age 76)
Place of birth Piracicaba, Brazil
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 12 in)
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1956–1958 Palmeiras 114 (89)
1958–1965 Milan 205 (120)
1965–1972 Napoli 180 (71)
1972–1976 Juventus 74 (25)
Total 573 (305)
National team
1957–1958 Brazil 8 (4)
1961–1962 Italy 6 (5)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

José João Altafini (born 24 July 1938), also known as "Mazzola" in Brazil because when he started to play it was said he looked like the Italian legend Valentino Mazzola), is an Italian-Brazilian former footballer.[1] He is the joint-fourth highest scorer in Italian Serie A history (along with Giuseppe Meazza) with 216 goals.

He is currently a well-known football pundit on Italian TV for SKY Italia and a commentator on Italian radio for RTL 102.5. He is also the secondary commentator on Pro Evolution Soccer video games in Italy.

Club career[edit]

Altafini played for Palmeiras in Brazil, before he began his career in Italy with AC Milan in 1958. He made his debut on September 21, 1958, and, in his first season, played 32 games and scored 28 goals, winning the title along the way. His first league goal came on October 5 in a win against Bari. Milan won the title again in 1962, when Altafini was the league's joint top scorer with 22 goals in 33 games.

In the 1963 European Cup Final, Altafini scored two goals against Benfica to secure Milan's first European triumph. The game ended 2–1.

In 1965, Altafini joined Napoli, where he stayed until 1972. In 1972, Napoli lost 2–0 in the final of the Coppa Italia to Altafini's previous club, Milan.

Altafini celebrating for Napoli

After his time at Napoli, he joined Juventus and lost another cup final in 1973. He did, however, win two more league titles: in 1973 and 1975. By the time he left Juventus in 1976, Altafini had played 459 games in Serie A and had scored 216 goals, although he had scored most of these in the early part of his career. In fact, he only scored 53 goals in his last 8 seasons in Italy, whereas he had scored 134 in his first 8.

After leaving Italy he played for four years in Switzerland for FC Chiasso and Mendrisiostar before retiring at the age of 42.

After retiring from football, Altafini became a commentator where he coined the term golazzo, a transliteration of the word golaço from his native Portuguese, which roughly translates into English as 'great goal'; although it is not actually a word in Italian. A sound bite of his use of the phrase while commentating was used at the start and finish of Channel 4's Football Italia.

International career[edit]

Altafini, playing as Mazzola was a member of the Brazil team who won the 1958 FIFA World Cup. He scored 2 goals in the opening group match against Austria on 8 June.[2] However in the 1962 FIFA World Cup, he played for Italy under his own name, stating “It was very simple, back then Brazil never called on players who were based overseas. Never. I was only 23 or 24 and I would have been devastated at missing a World Cup. It wasn’t me who left Brazil. It was Brazil that left me.”[3]

Altafini made his debut for Italy on 15 October 1961, in a play-off against Israel for a place at the 1962 FIFA World Cup. He scored in a 4-2 victory in Ramat Gan and also featured in the second leg as the Italians booked their place at the tournament. Prior to the World Cup, he scored two braces in friendly wins over France and Belgium. Altafini played in the first two group matches, against West Germany and Chile, as Italy were eliminated.[4]

Career statistics[edit]

In Italy[edit]

Club Season League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Milan 1958–1959 32 28 4 4 2 2 38 34
1959–1960 33 20 4 2 2 4 39 26
1960–1961 34 22 2 4 2 0 38 26
1961–1962 33 22 2 0 35 22
1962–1963 31 11 2 1 9 14 4 5 46 31
1963–1964 30 14 1 0 4 4 3 1 38 19
1964–1965 12 3 12 3
Total 205 120 9 9 19 20 13 12 246 161
Napoli
1965–1966 34 14 2 1 - - 5 7 41 22
1966–1967 27 16 1 1 5 1 33 18
1967–1968 29 13 2 1 3 3 34 17
1968–1969 21 5 4 2 3 1 28 8
1969–1970 15 8 3 0 3 0 5 3 26 11
1970–1971 25 7 11 4 36 11
1971–1972 29 8 5 2 2 0 36 10
Total 180 71 28 11 16 5 ? 10 234 97
Juventus
1972–1973 23 9 6 0 6 3 35 12
1973–1974 21 7 8 2 2 1 1 0 32 10
1974–1975 20 8 6 0 9 5 35 13
1975–1976 10 1 4 1 3 0 17 2
Total 74 25 24 3 20 9 1 0 119 37
Career totals 459 216 61 23 55 34 24 22 599 295

*European competitions include the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup & UEFA Cup

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carlisle, Jeff (2009-02-28). Soccer's Most Wanted™ II: The Top 10 Book of More Glorious Goals, Superb Saves, and Fantastic Free-Kicks. Potomac Books, Inc. pp. 185–. ISBN 9781597976589. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Group D". Planet World Cup. 
  3. ^ "Brazilian football’s Italian connection". FIFA. 10 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "José Altafini". EU Football.