|Date of birth||June 26, 1901|
|Place of birth||Casale Monferrato, Italy|
|Date of death||October 19, 1940(aged 39)|
|Place of death||Torino, Italy|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Umberto Caligaris (Italian pronunciation: [umˈbɛrto kaliˈɡaris]; July 26, 1901 – October 19, 1940) was an Italian international footballer who played, normally at left back, for A.S. Casale and Juventus, before ending his career with Brescia. With Juventus he won an Italian record of five consecutive Serie A League titles between 1930 and 1935. He also managed to have a successful career with the Italian national team, notably winning a Bronze medal at the 1928 Summer Olympic Games; he was also a member of the Italian side that won the 1934 FIFA World Cup. His 59 caps for Italy stood as a record for many years. Following his retirement he worked as a manager, coaching his former clubs Brescia and Juventus.
Born in Casale Monferrato (Piedmont), Caligaris spent the first nine years of his career with the local team, A.S. Casale. He made his debut for them on October 12, 1919 in a match against local rivals Valenzana Calcio which Casale won 3–1. Casale was then in the Italian First division (the predecessor to Serie A) and had won the championship in 1914. However they were never to repeat that success and although during Caligaris’s career with the club they twice qualified for the inter-regional semi-final of North Italy, they were unable to get further.
The Italian national team, however, did provide scope for his talents. He received his first cap on 15 January 1922 against a strong Austria side, in Milan; he was selected in place of Virginio Rosetta as right back flanking the great Genoese left back Renzo De Vecchi (“Son of God” to the fans), who had been playing for Italy since 1910. From then until De Vecchi’s retirement from international football in March 1925, Rosetta and Caligaris were in competition for the right back position. He played for Italy in the 1924 Olympics, the match against Spain being the first in which he played alongside Rosetta, also winning the Central European International Cup with Italy between 1927 and 1930.
After winning a bronze medal at the 1928 Summer Olympics, Caligaris left Casale to join Rosetta at Juventus, making his Serie A debut with the club on 6 October 1929, in a 3–2 home victory over Napoli. Here the two full backs, backed by Italian international goalkeeper Gianpiero Combi, formed a formidable defensive combination. Juventus won five scudetti in a row between 1930 and 1935.
Caligaris’s final game for Italy, on February 11, 1934 was, like his first, against Austria. (Although a member of the Italian squad, he did not play in any of the 1934 World Cup matches, as Italy went on to win the tournament on home soil.) His record of 59 caps for Italy was only surpassed in 1971 by Giacinto Facchetti.
During the 1970s, an annual under-21 football tournament was named in the Italian's honour. The "Caligaris" International Tournament took place in the player's hometown of Casale Monferrato.
Style of play
A highly successful left-back, Caligaris is regarded as one of the best Italian defenders of his generation. A strong, hard-tackling, and tenacious player, he was known for his pace, work-rate, stamina, and his ability in the air, which he combined with an excellent technique.
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- "Caligaris, Umbero". enciclopediadelcalcio.it (in Italian). Enciclopedia del Calcio. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
- "Mondiali Calcio 1934, Capitolo VII: Ritratti dei Campioni del Mondo". storiedicalcio.altervista.org (in Italian). Retrieved 26 April 2015.
- "Nazionale in cifre: Caligaris, Umberto". figc.it (in Italian). FIGC. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
- "The Forgotten Italian Job of 1974". Blackpool-mad.co.uk. Retrieved 3 January 2016.