Gaetano Scirea

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Gaetano Scirea
Scirea with Juventus in 1975
Personal information
Full name Gaetano Scirea
Date of birth (1953-05-25)25 May 1953
Place of birth Cernusco sul Naviglio, Lombardy, Italy
Date of death 3 September 1989(1989-09-03) (aged 36)
Place of death Babsk, Skierniewice, Poland
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Position(s) Defender
Youth career
1970–1972 Atalanta
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1972–1974 Atalanta 58 (1)
1974–1988 Juventus 377 (24)
Total 435 (25)
International career
1975–1986 Italy 78 (2)
Medal record
Representing  Italy
FIFA World Cup
Winner 1982 Spain
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Gaetano Scirea (Italian pronunciation: [ɡaeˈtaːno ʃʃiˈrɛːa]; 25 May 1953 – 3 September 1989) was an Italian professional footballer who is considered one of the greatest defenders of his generation and one of the greatest defenders of all time. He spent most of his career with Juventus F.C.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Scirea is one of only six players in European football history to have won all international trophies for football clubs recognized by UEFA and FIFA. Scirea is also one of only nine players in the history of European football that won all three major UEFA football competitions,[8] a feat he managed while playing with Juventus, the Italian club with which he spent the majority of his career, aside from two seasons with Atalanta. At international level, he played for the Italy national team for more than a decade, during which he was an undisputed member of Italy's defensive line-up, keeping Franco Baresi out of the national team for four years, until he retired in 1986. Scirea became a World Champion with the 1982 FIFA World Cup winning team, which defeated Brazil 3–2 in a decisive second round match and Germany 3–1 in the final;[9] he also represented Italy in two more World Cups, finishing in fourth-place in 1978, and UEFA Euro 1980, where Italy once again managed a fourth-place finish.

Club career[edit]

Scirea in training with Atalanta, early 1970s

Scirea was born at Cernusco sul Naviglio, in the province of Milan, but was of Sicilian origin.

Scirea made his Serie A debut for Atalanta against Cagliari on 24 September 1972. He remained with Atalanta for two seasons, before transferring to Juventus, with whom he would stay until the end of his playing career. In all he made 397 appearances in Serie A, scoring 24 goals. Scirea saw great success with Juventus, playing alongside Antonio Cabrini, and the hard-hitting Claudio Gentile, as well as goalkeeper Dino Zoff. He managed the impressive feat of winning every UEFA Club and domestic competition during his time at the club (seven Serie A titles, two Coppa Italias, one UEFA Cup, one Cup Winners' Cup, one European Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, and one Intercontinental Cup).[10]

He retired from club football at the end of the 1987–88 season.[11] He took up the role of scout at Juventus,[11] later working as a coach.[12]

International career[edit]

Scirea (standing, third from left) with Italy national team in the victorious 1982 World Cup

Scirea debuted with the Italy national team on 30 December 1975, against Greece. He immediately became an irreplaceable pillar of the team managed by Enzo Bearzot,[5] and played in three World Cups, and one European Championship on home soil in 1980, where Italy finished in fourth place after reaching the semi-final, and Scirea was named part of the team of the tournament.[13]

Scirea, alongside clubmates Antonio Cabrini and Claudio Gentile, right-back Giuseppe Bergomi and goalkeeper Dino Zoff, formed the defensive backbone of perhaps the strongest Italian side of the post-war period as the Azzurri dominated international and club football during the late 1970s to early 80s.

Scirea impressed in the 1978 World Cup where Italy finished in fourth place. At the 1982 World Cup, after a quiet start in the first round group stage, Italy beat Argentina and then Brazil in the second round, later overcoming Poland 2–0 in the semi-final. A 3–1 victory over West Germany in the final earned Scirea a lasting place in World Cup history. By 1986 World Cup, however, the team was in transition, and went out to France in the second round. This was to be Scirea's last match for Italy, having won 78 caps and scored 2 goals.[10][14]

Style of play[edit]

Scirea (right) and teammate Oscar Damiani in training for Juventus in the 1974–75 preseason

Scirea was a modern and highly talented defender, gifted with excellent technical skills and tactical ability, who was known for his pace, elegance on the ball, and innate capacity to read the game.[5][11] In contrast to the ruthless tactics often employed by other defenders, including his paired partner, Claudio Gentile, Scirea was renowned for his class, fair play and sportsmanship. Scirea never earned a red card in his career.[3][5][10][15] He was also known for his leadership, serving as captain of both Juventus and the Italy national side.[10]

A former midfielder, he played the sweeper, or libero, role for most of his career, and contributed to the development of the position, due to his vision, composure on the ball and passing ability. Thus, in addition to aiding his team defensively, Scirea would detach himself from the defensive line and contribute to the attacking potential of his team, frequently being involved in the build-up of goals, and sometimes even scoring himself.[5][11][16] In the latter part of his career, as he lost his pace, Scirea played a more defensive role as a centre-back.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Scirea was married to Mariella Cavanna; together they had a son, Riccardo.[17] Mariella has become a politician after her husband's death.[12]


In summer 1989, Scirea visited Poland as an observer to watch Górnik Zabrze, against which Juventus was to play in the UEFA Cup. On 3 September 1989 a car carrying him collided head-on with a truck near Babsk. The car carried four canisters of gasoline in the trunk (a common practice in Poland at that time due to frequent gas shortages), which exploded upon impact, killing Scirea along with two fellow passengers.[10]


Due to his own defensive skill and sportsmanship, Scirea's name has become attached to various youth tournaments and fair-play awards as a role model for sportsmanship and sporting excellence, including the Premio Nazionale Carriera Esemplare "Gaetano Scirea", which is awarded to a legendary Serie A footballer for their career achievements, talent, and personality.[12][18] In 2005, former Italian national team coach Enzo Bearzot proposed the retirement of the jersey number six of that national team and Juventus in recognition of Scirea's career.[19] The south stand in Juventus' home ground Juventus Stadium, as well as the one in the former Stadio delle Alpi, is known as the Curva Scirea and it is occupied by the Juventus Ultras.





See also[edit]


  1. ^ FIFA World Cup: Gaetano
  2. ^ In memory of Scirea Archived 13 March 2007 at the Wayback; 3 September 2006
  3. ^ a b "Planet World Cup: Gaetano Scirea (Italy)". Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Italy's greatest defenders". Sky Sports. 31 May 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e Marino Bortoletti. "SCIREA, Gaetano" (in Italian). Treccani: Enciclopedia dello Sport. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  6. ^ "La final que nunca se debió jugar". 26 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Veintiséis años sin Gaetano Scirea - Juventus".
  8. ^ Reyes’s fifth win: top UEFA club cup winners
  9. ^ "Remembering Scirea, Juve's sweeper supreme". FIFA. Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Gaetano Scirea Campione di semplicità" (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Stefano Bedeschi (25 May 2013). "Gli eroi in bianconero: Gaetano SCIREA". (in Italian). Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  12. ^ a b c Vanni Zagnoli (3 September 2014). "Venticinque anni fa moriva Scirea la moglie Mariella lo ricorda in silenzio". (in Italian). Il Messaggero. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  13. ^ a b "UEFA Euro 1980 team of the tournament". UEFA. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Nazionale in cifre: Scirea, Gaetano". (in Italian). FIGC. Archived from the original on 28 August 2018. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  15. ^ "Iniesta e i suoi fratelli: i giocatori mai espulsi" (in Italian). 1 April 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  16. ^ Sconcerti, Mario (23 November 2016). "Il volo di Bonucci e la classifica degli 8 migliori difensori italiani di sempre". Il Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Gaetano Scirea, 25 anni fa moriva un campione simbolo". Il Corriere della Sera (in Italian). 4 September 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  18. ^ Luigi Ferrajolo. "Premio Nazionale Carriera Esemplare "Gaetano Scirea"". (in Italian). Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  19. ^ (in Italian) Article "We withdraw the number six: Scirea is inimitable". Retrieved 28 January 2005.
  20. ^ "New Members in the Italian Football Hall of Fame". 3 December 2013. Archived from the original on 13 April 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  21. ^ "#JUVE120 team announced". 24 November 2017. Archived from the original on 27 May 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018.