Sandro Mazzola

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For the footballer born in 1969, see Alessandro Mazzola (footballer born 1969).
Sandro Mazzola
Alessandro Mazzola 2008.jpg
Mazzola in 2008
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, who played as a forward and in several offensive midfield positions. 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 highly successful Inter Milan team known as "La Grande Inter", during the 60s, and he is widely regarded as one of the greatest Italian football players of all time, and as one of the best players of his generation, placing 2nd in the 1971 Ballon d'Or.[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, and reaching the Coppa Italia final during the 1964-65 season, narrowly missing out on a treble with the club in 1965. 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.


Sandro Mazzola was born in Turin, Italy a few weeks after his father, the legendary Valentino Mazzola, 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.[3][4]


Club career with Inter[edit]

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 team in Italy, Europe, and the world. They were known for their defensive tactics known as "catenaccio". Mazzola won four Serie A titles with Inter, including two consecutive titles in 1965 and 1966. 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. Mazzola would also win two consecutive Intercontinental Cups with Inter in 1964 and 1965, as well as reaching the 1964-65 Coppa Italia final, a Coppa Italia third place in 1968, and yet another European Cup final in 1972.[5][6] In 1971, following his final Serie A title and his performances in Europe, he placed second in the Ballon d'Or, behind Johan Cruyff; this was the closes he ever came to winning the Award, and the first time he was shortlisted as a finalist.[7]

International career with the Italian 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, and Mazzola was named as a member of the Team of the Tournament. Two years later, Italy arrived at the World Cup in Mexico as one of the favourites.[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), in order 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 at the 1974 FIFA World Cup, but Italy was an aging side, and was eliminated in the first round (group stage).[8][9]

After retirement[edit]

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. After retiring from professional football, Mazzola was initially a member of Inter's board of directors, and he is now a football analyst and commentator on Italian channel RAI.[10]

Style of play[edit]

Mazzola is widely regarded as one of the greatest Italian football players of all time,[11] and he was capable of playing in several advanced positions. He was primarily utilised as an inside-right under Herrera, but he 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, which enabled him to win the Serie A top scorer award in 1965. Mazzola 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.[12]








  1. ^ "Nella casa di Valentino Mazzola,due camere e cucina per un mito". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Nella casa di Valentino Mazzola,due camere e cucina per un mito". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sandro MAZZOLA". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Sandro Mazzola". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "Sandro MAZZOLA". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Sandro Mazzola". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  7. ^ "Sandro MAZZOLA". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "Sandro MAZZOLA". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "Sandro Mazzola". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Sandro Mazzola". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "Nella casa di Valentino Mazzola,due camere e cucina per un mito". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "Alessandro Mazzola". Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "Sandro MAZZOLA". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "Sandro MAZZOLA". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  15. ^ "Sandro MAZZOLA". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 

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