In October 2022, Andy Wallace began what all of us at TGU believe to be the greatest thread in the history of calcio Twitter. In the event of a Twitter apocalypse, we are delighted host the completed enterprise. Please also support Andy’s work in its natural habitat on Twitter. This is the second part of a series, read part 1 here.
99 Legends of Calcio: the most legendary figure from each of Italy’s 99 professional clubs (from Albinoleffe to Viterbese).
30. Bernardo D’Agostino (Gelbison) May 2016: 90th minute of the Serie D relegation playoff between Gelbison & Leonfortese: Leonfortese have a penalty to send Gelbison down. But D’Agostino “says NO”. 215 games & 78 clean sheets later, the 28yo is near-insurpassable in Serie C.
31. Gianluca Signorini (Genoa) Captain of Genoa’s best side of modern era, the sweeper was an exceptional last man (he needed to be with Panucci & Branco alongside) but also their 1st attacker (bringing ball out from back). Signorini fell victim to motor neuron disease aged 42.
32. Francesco Foggia (Giugliano) Nicknamed “Maradona for the masses”, Ciccio was an icon of Campanian football: a more memorable #10 than his son Pasquale (of Lazio fame) Just 2 seasons at Giugliano, but his contribution to unbeaten 94-95 season in Eccellenza is legendary.
33. Juanito Gómez (Gubbio) Fired the Eugubini from Serie C2 to Serie B (including in promotion clincher – below), drawing comparisons with Diego Milito. In 2019, he returned for 2 seasons under fellow Gubbio legends Torrente & Rodrigue Boisfer.
34. Preben Elkjær (Hellas Verona) The “impetuous netbuster” with the “buffalo stride of a 200m sprinter” (cit. Brera) became an instant icon with a boot-less goal vs Juve on the way to Verona’s Scudetto triumph. The Ballon d’or runner-up graced the Bentegodi for 4 magical years.
35. Gianpietro Rubinato (Imolese) Stadio Comunale, Ferrara, 2/11/69. Rubinato scores the most iconic goal in the club’s history vs Spal: “Commanded midfield, outstanding going forward, at times brilliant in his play – take his free-kick goal: product of a shot of rare accuracy”.
36. Giacinto Facchetti (Inter) 20th century’s greatest attacking FB & psychological catalyst for 60s Grande Inter side, scoring 59 in 475 Serie A games Strong, quick & defensively resolute, his ’65 Euro Cup SF winner is a mark of his attacking prowess.
37. Marcello Prima (Juve Stabia) 6’5″ and he made every inch of it count. The Carovigno Niall Quinn scored 35 goals in just 2 seasons in Castellammare, creating lasting memories for gialloblè supporters despite midtable finishes in Serie C2. Lode a te, Marcello Prima.
38. Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus) The only Juve player to win Champions League and Serie B, Pinturicchio was still with Juve when they won 1st of 9 in a row. Capocannoniere at 33, Juve’s record appearances, record goals. And wonderful to watch as a youngster and as a veteran.
39. Paolo Rossi (Lanerossi Vicenza) Converted from ineffective winger to blistering centre-forward, scruffy Pablito fired “Real” Vicenza from Serie B also-rans to 2nd in Serie A. An importance underlined by his 1978 co-ownership deal (Lanerossi offered 3 times(!) what Juve did)
40. Luciano Melloni (Latina) For Latina fans, the Pontino-born midfielder was their man in the trenches (or marshes?), representing them in 10 animosity-strewn derbies vs Frosinone. Courted by Roma (Latina wouldn’t sell), he played 12 seasons for the Nerazzurri in Serie C & D.
41. Giorgio Chinaglia (Lazio) One of the great characters of Italian football, the hunchbacked Cardiff-reared hitman and his band of gun-toting misfits delivered the ultimate heist with a Serie-B-to-Scudetto ascent in the early 70s. For 7 long years, Long John reigned on Rome.
42. Javier Chevanton (Lecce) Taps aff! Uruguay & the Salento couldn’t be more different: and yet El Crocante (& Giacomazzi) brought them together. As his confidence grew, the 5-fooot-10 box of fury evolved from tap-ins & 1-on-1s to 30-yard screamers & technical masterpieces.
43. Sergio Clerici (Lecco) Last survivor of the post-’66 foreigners cull (he retired in 1978), the Brazilian striker arrived in Lecco at 19, spotted while scouting Pele’s Santos. Despite advances from Nereo Rocco’s Milan, il “Gringo” played 7 seasons on Lake Como (2 in Serie A)
44. Ernö Erbstein (Lucchese) At Torino Erbstein became immortal, but Lucca was his workshop. On the pitch, a double promotion to Serie A. Off the pitch, an environment of integrity that spawned the “anarchic” (antifascist) five of Scher, Olivieri, Marchini, Callegari, Neri.
45. Angelo Sormani (Mantova) Nicknamed “il Piccolo Brasile” at the turn of 60s, where else could Mantova turn upon promotion to Serie A but to Santos. And Pele’s backup Sormani. 29 goals in 2 years before the by-now Italy international was signed by Roma for half a billion lira.
46. Totò Schillaci (Messina) Messina make great strikers & this one happened to win the World Cup golden boot. 7 years at Messina spent between Serie C2, C1 & B, first as one of Franco Scoglio’s “bastards” & culminating in a season as Serie B capocannoniere under Zeman (1989).
47. Franco Baresi (Milan) Undisputed idol of the Curva Sud, Baresi was handed the captain’s armband at 22 while in Serie B. Redefined from classic sweeper to the 1st modern CB by Nils Lindholm & then Sacchi, Kaiser Franz ended his career a 3-times European Cup winner.
48. Alfredo Mazzoni (Modena) Nicknamed “Ghega”, meaning “thunderbastard” in Modenese dialect, Mazzini netted 139 times for the Canarini in 3 spells Star of Modena’s 1st Serie A campaigns (16 goals in 30/31), he also led them to 3rd place as manager, behind Grande Torino & Juve.
49. Onofrio Doria (Monopoli) Same church, different pew: winger Doria actually represented Audace, the Monopoli-based side that reached the 1947 Serie C playoff final in Rome. With 552 goals in 572 games, Doria has been adopted by SS Monopoli fans as “their” idol.
50. David D’Antoni (Monterosi) Following in the footsteps of role model & promotion specialist Ivo Iaconi (Fermana, Frosinone), D’Antoni engineered a Monterosi Miracle with double promotion from 5th tier to Serie C. A local boy, he grew up 10 miles up the road in Capranica.
51. Renato Pieraccioli (Montevarchi) Loved in local community, Pieraccioli was a long-serving player and incumbent manager whose disappearance after a fiery derby in nearby San Giovanni Valdarno in December 1944 was never solved (presumed killed & incinerated by rioting fans).
52. Alfredo Magni (Monza) Manager of the “Borussia della Brianza” side of the late 70s, Magni had the biancorossi on the cusp of Serie A for half a decade. With a side packed full of future Serie A talent, he also delivered silverware with an Anglo-Italian Cup win vs Wimbledon.
53. Diego Maradona (Napoli) Sivori, Schwoch, Krol, Careca, Zola, Ferrara, Hamsik, Sallustro, Zoff, Lavezzi, Altafini, Juliano, Giordano, Mertens, Bugatti, Amadei, Savoldi, Cavani, Bruscolotti, Alemao, Fonseca, Cannavaro, Carnevale, Ferrario, Dirceu, Vojak, Clerici… ????????????????.
54. Giovanni Udovicich (Novara) The refugee from Fiume-Rijeka joined Novara aged 7 in the shadow of ’38 WC winner Silvio Piola and finished his career 526 appearances later, in 1977. Despite a long Serie B career, the instantly recognisable centre-half never played in Serie A.
55. Gianluca Siazzu (Olbia) The Sardinian folk hero has scored +600 career goals (and counting), including a record 96 at Olbia as he helped the Galluresi to the Serie D scudetto in 2002. Now 47, Siazzu is still scoring goals in the 7th tier for local club Posada.
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