Sandro Mazzola

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For the footballer born in 1969, see Alessandro Mazzola (footballer born 1969).
Sandro Mazzola
Ajman 1968-08-25 stamp - Sandro Mazzola.jpg
Mazzola on a 1968 Ajman stamp
Personal information
Full name Alessandro Mazzola
Date of birth (1942-11-08) 8 November 1942 (age 72)
Place of birth Turin, Italy
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10 12 in)
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1960–1977 Internazionale 417 (116)
National team
1963–1974 Italy 70 (22)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18 April 2008.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18 April 2008

Alessandro ("Sandro") Mazzola (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsandro matˈtsɔla]; born 8 November 1942) is an Italian former football player. He is the son of Italian footballing legend Valentino Mazzola, who was killed in the Superga air disaster in 1949, and the most renowned Italian football player of the 1940s,[1] winning five consecutive Serie A titles with Torino. Sandro Mazzola played for the Inter Milan team known as La Grande Inter. He was capable of playing in several advanced positions. He was primarily utilised as an inside-right, but was also used as a forward, winger and as a supporting striker on occasion. In his later career, he was usually deployed as an offensive midfielder with creative instincts, which was aided by his passing range, vision, technique, ball skills, and close control. He was also a prolific goalscorer as a forward. He was most highly regarded during his prime for his pace, stamina, balance, acceleration, and agility, in particular when dribbling at speed, which along with his excellent ball control and technical ability, enabled him to beat defenders frequently in one on one situations.[2]

With the entire career of seventeen seasons played only for Internazionale, he holds the honor of being a one-club man, winning four Serie A titles (1963, 1965, 1966 and 1971), two European Cups (1964 and 1965) and two Intercontinental Cups (1964 and 1965), also winning the Serie A top-scorer award during the 1964-65 season. With the Italian national side, Mazzola won the European Championship in 1968, also reaching the 1970 World Cup Final. He currently works a football analyst and commentator on the Italian National television station RAI. Mazzola is widely regarded as one of the greatest Italian football players of all time.[3]


Sandro Mazzola was born in Turin, Italy a few weeks after his father joined Torino FC from Venezia A.C.. His younger brother, Ferruccio, who was named after the president of Torino FC, was born two years later. Their parents divorced in 1946, but their father gained custody of Sandro Mazzola, who was 6 years old when his father died.


Sandro Mazzola and his brother Ferruccio signed for Internazionale. He played all his career for Inter, scoring 116 Serie A goals. His Serie A debut was for Inter against Juventus on 10 June 1961, when his team lost 9-1. A year before his debut, Helenio Herrera arrived from FC Barcelona as the coach of Inter. He brought Luis Suárez from FC Barcelona as his midfield general, he had Tarcisio Burgnich and Giacinto Facchetti as his fullbacks, Brazilian Jair as his wing, Mario Corso as the left midfielder, Armando Picchi as his sweeper, and Mazzola who eventually played the game in the inside-right position. Together, they would transform the club into the best in Europe. They were known for their defensive tactic known as catenaccio. In 1964, Mazzola scored twice to beat Real Madrid in the 1964 European Cup Final to emulate A.C. Milan's feat of the previous season. They would defend their title again the following season by beating S.L. Benfica in the Final. In the 1966-67 season, they made it to their third Final, but lost to Celtic F.C. with Mazzola scoring one goal.

Italy national football team[edit]

Mazzola also played 70 times for Italy, scoring 22 goals. His debut for the national side was against Brazil on 12 May 1963, when he was aged only 20 and scored from a penalty. Mazzola played for his country at the 1966, 1970, and 1974 FIFA World Cups. His biggest achievement came in 1968 when Italy won the 1968 European Championship. Two years later, Italy arrived at the World Cup in Mexico as favorite.[citation needed] The Italian coach Ferruccio Valcareggi believed that Sandro Mazzola could not play together on the pitch at the same time with the other Italian creative star player Gianni Rivera, who played for Mazzola's rival club Milan. By the second round, he devised a solution which he called the "staffetta" (relay) to play both players. Mazzola would start in the first half while Rivera would come in at half time. With this strategy, Italy reached the Final against Pelé's Brazil for the first time in 32 years. The match was billed as the battle between offensive and defensive football, but on game day, Ferruccio Valcareggi abandoned his "staffetta" policy and only used Mazzola until the very end. Gianni Rivera finally went into the game with 8 minutes to go. Two of Italy's biggest technical stars finally united together on the pitch where many people believed they should have been all along, but it was too late. Brazil won 4-1.

Four years later, Ferruccio Valcareggi finally used the two together, but Italy was an aging side losing in the first round (group stage).


By the end of his career, Mazzola had won four Serie A titles (1963, 1965, 1966 and 1971), two European Cups (1964 and 1965), two Intercontinental Cups (1964 and 1965), one European Championship (1968) and was top-scorer in Serie A in season 1964-65. He is now a football analyst and commentator on Italian channel RAI.


External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Harald Nielsen
Serie A Top Scorer (Shared with Alberto Orlando)
Succeeded by
Luís Vinício
Preceded by
Mario Corso
Internazionale captain
Succeeded by
Giacinto Facchetti