Luciano Vassalo

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Luciano Vassalo (15 August 1935) (born in Asmara, Eritrea) is a former Ethiopian footballer of Eritrean and Italian origin. He is the most capped international football in Ethiopian history. He is known for his skill, and mostly for his volleys, free kicks and penalties. He played professionally with Saint-George SA along with his brother Italo.


Luciano played for the Ethiopia national football team in the qualifying rounds for the 1962 FIFA World Cup.[1] With his brother Italo, Luciano was part of the 1962 African Cup of Nations campaign when Ethiopia won their only trophy to date. Luciano, captain of the team, scored 2 goals in the semifinal against Tunisia and was tied for third highest scorer in the tournament, and was named player of the tournament, the only Ethiopian to claim that award.[2] He was personally handed the trophy by His Highness Haile Selassie. In 2006, CAF began the selection for the best African footballer in the last fifty years. Luciano, along with legendary teammate and friend Mengistu Worku were selected in the group of the top 50 players, as the only Ethiopians, but were not selected in the final 30, where Roger Milla was named number one.

Many consider Vassalo to be the best Ethiopian footballer in history, after Mengistu Worku and Ydnekatchew Tessema. After retirement, he had a short stint in coaching, with the then Dire Dawa Cotton FC.


  1. ^ Owsianski, Jaroslaw. "World Cup 1962 - Goal Scorers". RSSSF. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  2. ^ "African Nations Cup: How It All Began". This Day Online. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 


  • Antonio Felici. Stella d'Africa - La vita straordinaria di Luciano Vassallo, mito del calcio africano anni '60, esule in Italia Edizioni Coralli, Roma, 2014 (Excerpts)
  • Vassalo, Luciano. Mamma ecco i soldi. Editore: Coralli. Roma, 2000 ISBN 8890453664

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