Giacinto Facchetti

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Giacinto Facchetti
1966–67 Inter Milan - Giacinto Facchetti.jpg
Facchetti with Inter Milan in the 1966–67 season
Personal information
Full name Giacinto Facchetti[1]
Date of birth (1942-07-18)18 July 1942
Place of birth Treviglio, Bergamo, Italy
Date of death 4 September 2006(2006-09-04) (aged 64)
Place of death Milan, Italy
Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Position(s) Left-back
Youth career
1956 GSD Mario Zanconti
1957–1960 Trevigliese
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1960–1978 Inter Milan 476 (59)
International career
1964 Italy U21 1 (0)
1963–1977 Italy 94 (3)
Representing  Italy
Men's football
UEFA European Championship
Winner 1968 Italy
FIFA World Cup
Runner-up 1970 Mexico
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Giacinto Facchetti (Italian pronunciation: [dʒaˈtʃinto fakˈketti]; 18 July 1942 – 4 September 2006) was an Italian footballer who played as a left-back for Inter Milan from 1960 to 1978. He later served as Inter chairman from January 2004 until his death in 2006. He played 634 official games for the club, scoring 75 goals, and was a member of "Grande Inter" team under manager Helenio Herrera which won four Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia, two European Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups. He placed second for the Ballon d'Or in 1965.

Facchetti represented Italy internationally on 94 occasions, including three FIFA World Cups. He was also elected to the 1970 World Cup All-Star Team, in which Italy were runners-up. He was also captain of the national side that won Italy's first ever UEFA European Championship on home soil in 1968, where he was also elected to the team of the tournament.

Facchetti is remembered as one of the first truly great attacking full-backs. He is regarded as one of the best football players ever at his position, due to his pace, technique, intelligence, physique, and stamina. He formed a formidable defensive partnership with fellow full-back Tarcisio Burgnich in Inter's defensive catenaccio system and with the Italian national side. In addition to his ability on the pitch, Facchetti was lauded for his discipline and leadership and captained both Inter Milan and Italy for several years.[2][3][4][5][6]

In March 2004, Pelé named him one of the Top 125 greatest living footballers as part of FIFA's 100th anniversary celebrations.[7] In 2015, he was posthumously inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame.

Club career[edit]

Facchetti (standing, first from left) with the 1970–71 Inter Milan

Born in Treviglio, in the Province of Bergamo (Lombardy), Facchetti began his career with his hometown club, GSD Mario Zanconti, as a forward, due to his pace, powerful shot, and technique.[8] While playing for Trevigliese, he was noticed by Helenio Herrera, then manager of Inter, who launched him in Serie A in the late 1960–61 season as an attacking full-back on the left, due to his physique, energy, and tackling ability, in addition to his offensive attributes; he made his club and top-flight debut on 21 May 1961, in a 2–0 away win over Roma.[4]

The change of role proved to be an effective choice, and eventually Facchetti developed into one of the most effective defenders in Italian football, forming a notable partnership in defence with fellow Italian full-back Burgnich. Facchetti's innovative playing style as one of the first European overlapping full-backs, combining hard defending with offensive prowess, played a key role in the defensive, yet counter-attacking catenaccio system of Herrera's "Grande Inter" side that dominated Italian, European, and World Football in the 60s; whilst conceding few goals defensively, Facchetti was also able to contribute offensively with numerous goals and assists.[3][5][6][9][10] He held the record for most goals in a single Serie A season by a defender, with 10 goals scored during the 1965–66 season, until it was broken by Marco Materazzi during the 2000–01 season.[11]

Facchetti spent his entire professional career with Inter, later captaining the side, after Armando Picchi, Mario Corso, and Sandro Mazzola, during his final season with the club, between 1977–78. With his club, Facchetti won four scudetti in 1963, 1965, 1966 and 1971; one Italian Cup in 1978; two European Cups in 1964 and 1965; and two Intercontinental Cups in 1964 and 1965.[3][9] Due to his performances for Inter, Facchetti also narrowly missed the opportunity to become the first defender to win the Ballon d'Or, placing second in 1965, after narrowly missing out on a treble winning season with Inter that year; Inter won the Serie A and the European Cup, but were defeated in the 1965 Coppa Italia final by Juventus. Facchetti's 59 goals in Serie A make him the most prolific defender in the history of the Italian league.[11]

International career[edit]

Italian captain Facchetti lifts the Euro 1968 trophy

Facchetti made his debut for Italy on 23 March 1963, in a 1–0 away win in a European qualifier against Turkey. He was capped 94 times (a record at the time, since overtaken only by Dino Zoff, Paolo Maldini, Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluigi Buffon) wearing the captain's armband 70 times and scoring three goals between 1963 and 1977; he is currently his nation's ninth-highest appearance holder. He played for his country at the 1966, 1970, and 1974 FIFA World Cups, captaining Italy in the latter two editions of the tournament. Facchetti also captained the Italian squad to victory at Euro 1968, wearing the number 10 shirt, after advancing to the finals by calling the coin toss correctly following extra time against the Soviet Union, before winning the final over Yugoslavia 2–0 in the replay match,[12] as well as being named to the Team of the Tournament. He was also named to the Team of the Tournament in the 1970 World Cup, where he helped his team to the final of the tournament, only to be defeated 4–1 by Brazil.[3][9]

Style of play[edit]

Regarded as one of the greatest full-backs of all time, Facchetti's pace, stamina, power, and excellent physical and technical traits allowed him to excel as an offensive full-back or wing-back; a former forward and midfielder, he was known for his ability to make attacking runs down the left flank and get into good offensive positions in the area which allowed him to either score or assist goals, due to his powerful shot and crossing ability, and was known for his tendency to cut into the centre in order to strike on goal, which was very unusual for full-backs at the time.[2][3][4][11][13][14][15][16] A strong, large, elegant, and hard-working footballer, who was good in the air, he was highly regarded for his ability with either foot, as well as his distribution, and ball skills; he also excelled defensively, playing as a sweeper as he lost some of his pace later in his career, due to his technical skills, distribution, intelligence and ability to read the game or start plays from the back after winning back the ball, as well as his man-marking ability, positioning, anticipation and tackling.[5][14][16][17] A precocious talent in his youth, he also stood out for his longevity in his later career.[14] In addition to his footballing ability, he was also known for his correct behaviour on the pitch, as well as his leadership;[2][6][16] he was sent off only once throughout his entire career, for sarcastically applauding the referee.[5]

After retirement[edit]

Facchetti in 2002

Over the years Facchetti held various managerial positions at Inter Milan, including technical director,[9][18] board member,[19] worldwide ambassador,[citation needed] and vice-chairman.[19] Facchetti was elected chairman of Inter on 19 January 2004, following the resignation of previous president Massimo Moratti.[18][20] After a long illness, he died of pancreatic cancer in Milan on 4 September 2006. He is survived by his wife, Giovanna, and four children.[5][9]


The role of Facchetti within the events of Calciopoli remained the subject of debate. As chairman of Inter, which benefitted from the decisions of the sports justice, he was charged of Article 6 violation, those related to sporting illicit warranting relegation, by the FIGC prosecutor Stefano Palazzi in July 2011. Palazzi presented a report on the Calciopoli bis investigation, originating from facts that emerged in the related criminal proceeding in Naples and at the time judged not relevant in the sporting trial five years earlier, in which, among others, Facchetti was accused of violating Article 6 of the then Sports Justice Code,[21][22] which was an offense consisting of "a consolidated network of relationships, of a non-regulatory nature, directed to alter the principles of impartiality, impartiality and independence of the refereeing sector", actions that Palazzi judged to be "certainly aimed at ensuring an advantage in the standings for Inter."[23][24] The statute of limitations regarding any acts committed led Palazzi himself to declare the impossibility of proceeding and verifying the allegations.[25] Facchetti was defended, among others,[26][27] by Moratti, who said that "you can say what you want without a trial but I don't accept it and Inter don't accept it. ... Considering Facchetti as in the accusations of the Federal Prosecutor is offensive, serious and stupid."[28]

In 2010, Luciano Moggi publicly accused Facchetti of sporting illicit. In 2015, Facchetti's son Gianfelice, representing the Facchetti family, sued Moggi for libel. Moggi was acquitted by the Milan court of the charge of defaming Facchetti in a television broadcast.[29] Moggi accused Facchetti "of having also requested and obtained special treatment in the refereeing of Inter's matches". The judge dismissed the lawsuit and acquitted Moggi, finding "with certainty a good truthfulness" in his statements and citing the existence of "a sort of lobbying intervention on the part of the then president of Inter towards the referee class ... , significant of a relationship of a friendly [and] preferential type, [with] heights that are not properly commendable."[30] The sentence was upheld on appeal in 2018,[31] and passed judgment in 2019.[32]


Facchetti in 1969 with his iconic number 3 shirt, posthumously retired by Inter Milan in 2006.

In March 2004, Pelé named Facchetti one of the Top 125 greatest living footballers as part of FIFA's 100th anniversary celebrations.[7]

Following Facchetti's death in 2006, he was named one of the year's Golden Foot "Football Legends", and was also the recipient of the FIFA Presidential Award. Known for his discipline as well as his playing ability throughout his career, the Premio internazionale Giacinto Facchetti was also established in his honour later that year, and is currently awarded annually to a football personality who was stood out for their honesty, correct behaviour, and sportsmanship.[33] Also after his death, the Campionato Nazionale Primavera included Facchetti's name for the official renaming of the championship to Campionato Primavera Tim – Trofeo Giacinto Facchetti. His former club, Inter, posthumously retired the number 3 shirt in his honour.[9]

On 22 September 2008, a square in the town of Cesano Maderno, Metropolitan City of Milan, was renamed in honour of Facchetti.[9][34] Facchetti is featured in the football video game FIFA 14's Classic XI – a multi-national all-star team, along with compatriots Bruno Conti, Gianni Rivera, and Franco Baresi.[35] In 2015, he was posthumously inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame.[36]

Career statistics[edit]


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition[14][37]
Club Season League Coppa Italia Europe Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Inter Milan 1960–61 Serie A 3 1 1 0 4 1
1961–62 15 0 6 0 21 0
1962–63 31 4 2 0 33 4
1963–64 33 4 9 0 42 4
1964–65 32 2 3 0 6 1 41 3
1965–66 32 10 1 0 5 2 38 12
1966–67 34 4 2 0 10 2 46 6
1967–68 28 7 9 2 37 9
1968–69 30 6 3 1 33 7
1969–70 28 5 6 1 8 0 42 6
1970–71 30 5 3 0 2 0 35 5
1971–72 27 4 8 1 9 1 44 6
1972–73 29 1 10 3 5 0 44 4
1973–74 28 2 7 0 2 0 37 2
1974–75 23 0 8 1 3 0 34 1
1975–76 28 3 10 0 38 3
1976–77 27 1 9 1 1 0 37 2
1977–78 18 0 4 0 1 0 23 0
Career total 476 59 85 10 68 6 629 75


Appearances and goals by national team and year[14][38][39][40][41]
National team Year Apps Goals
Italy 1963 5 0
1964 4 1
1965 7 1
1966 10 0
1967 6 1
1968 6 0
1969 6 0
1970 11 0
1971 6 0
1972 3 0
1973 7 0
1974 6 0
1975 6 0
1976 7 0
1977 4 0
Total 94 3
Scores and results list Italy's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Facchetti goal.[42]
List of international goals scored by Giacinto Facchetti
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 4 November 1964 Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy  Finland 6–1 1966 FIFA World Cup qualification
2 7 December 1965 Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy  Scotland 3–0 1966 FIFA World Cup qualification
3 22 March 1967 GSP Stadium, Nicosia, Cyprus  Cyprus 2–0 Euro 1968 qualification


Inter Milan[18]




See also[edit]


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  3. ^ a b c d e "Inter and Italy's pioneering fullback". FIFA. Archived from the original on 2 January 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Treccani: Facchétti, Giacinto" (in Italian). Treccani: Enciclopedie on line. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Giacinto Facchetti" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 27 December 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "Giacinto Facchetti". Storie di Calcio (in Italian). Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  7. ^ a b c "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  8. ^ "LA NOSTRA STORIA". (in Italian). Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g "Giacinto Facchetti – Obituary". The Guardian. 11 September 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Giacinto Facchetti – Helenio Herrera: More than just catenaccio". FIFA. Archived from the original on 22 September 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  11. ^ a b c Giuseppe Bagnati (26 October 2009). "I difensori e il vizio del gol Facchetti il top, poi Matrix". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  12. ^ "'Lucky man' Facchetti on Italy's semi coin toss". Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  13. ^ Salvatore Lo Presti (2002). "FACCHETTI, Giacinto". Treccani: Enciclopedia dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  14. ^ a b c d e "Facchetti, Giacinto" (in Italian). Enciclopedia del Calcio. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  15. ^ Marino Bartoletti. "CABRINI, Antonio" (in Italian). Treccani: Enciclopedia dello Sport (2002). Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  16. ^ a b c GIANNI MURA (5 September 2006). "Il gigante buono che amava fare gol" (in Italian). La Repubblica. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  17. ^ "In ricordo di Giacinto Facchetti" (in Italian). 4 September 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  18. ^ a b c "E' morto Giacinto Facchetti "Ci lascia una persona perbene"". La Repubblica (in Italian). 4 September 2006. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
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  25. ^ Ruggiero, Palombo (5 July 2011). "Inter spalle al muro Scudetto 2006 Palazzi durissimo 'Illecito anche da Facchetti'". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 27 January 2023.
  26. ^ "Lo scudetto della discordia Riva: 'Facchetti un angelo'". La Repubblica (in Italian). 5 July 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2023.
  27. ^ De Felice, Alessandro (6 July 2011). "Travaglio: 'Abissale differenza tra Moggi e Facchetti. Prescrizione? rinunci la Juve'". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 27 January 2023.
  28. ^ "La prescrizione salva l'Inter Facchetti, fu illecito sportivo". La Repubblica (in Italian). 4 July 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2023.
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  33. ^ Azzurra Saggini (10 November 2012). "Zanetti nel nome di Facchetti Il bello del calcio è il Capitano". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  34. ^ "Square named after Giacinto Facchetti".
  35. ^ "FIFA 14 Classic XI". Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  36. ^ a b "Hall of fame, 10 new entry: con Vialli e Mancini anche Facchetti e Ronaldo" [Hall of fame, 10 new entries: with Vialli and Mancini also Facchetti and Ronaldo]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 27 October 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
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  38. ^ "Facchetti, Giacinto" (in Italian). Retrieved 19 January 2018.
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  40. ^ "Facchetti, Giacinto". Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  41. ^ Roberto Di Maggio (7 September 2006). "Giacinto Facchetti – International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  42. ^ Football PLAYER: Giacinto Facchetti
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  47. ^ Rob Moore; Karel Stokkermans (21 January 2011). "European Footballer of the Year ("Ballon d'Or")". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 16 January 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
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External links[edit]