||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2012)|
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
|Full name||José João Altafini|
|Date of birth||July 24, 1938|
|Place of birth||Piracicaba, Brazil|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
José João Altafini (born July 24, 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. He is the joint-fourth highest scorer in Italian Serie A history (along with Giuseppe Meazza) with 216 goals. He currently holds, together with Lionel Messi, the record for the highest number of goals scored by any individual in a single Champions League/European Cup season with 14 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.
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.
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 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.
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. 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.”
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.
*European competitions include the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup & UEFA Cup
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to José Altafini.|
- 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.
- "Group D". Planet World Cup.
- "Brazilian football’s Italian connection". FIFA. 10 May 2013.
- "José Altafini". EU Football.