Ricorrenze Azzurre

Happy Birthday to Gianluca Pagliuca!

A runner-up at the 1994 World Cup, and a legend at Sampdoria, Inter and Bologna

Friday, December 18, 2020

Happy Birthday to Gianluca Pagliuca!

Gianluca Pagliuca was born in Bologna on 18 December 1966. A goalkeeper of great ability, he spent the best part of his career split between three clubs: Sampdoria, Inter and Bologna. He lived through the “Sampd’oro” years with the Blucerchiati, winning a Scudetto in 1991, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, three Coppa Italia titles and one Supercoppa Italiana, as well as playing in the defeat to Barcelona in the 1992 Champions League final. After seven seasons with Samp, he joined Inter in 1998. He stayed with the Nerazzurri until 1999, adding a UEFA Cup title to his trophy haul in 1998 as they beat Lazio (3-0) in the all-Italian final. From 1999 to 2006, he became an idol of the fans in his home town of Bologna, becoming the leading appearance maker of any Rossoblù goalkeeper (206). He finished his career with Ascoli, playing his final campaign in the top flight in 2006/07 and claiming the record as the goalkeeper with the highest number of Serie A appearances (592), which was subsequently overtaken by Buffon (652).

His journey with the National Team began with a call-up to the World Cup at home in 1990, where he was the understudy to Zenga and Tacconi. He was granted his full international debut on 16 June 1991 in a Scania Cup match against Sweden; Vivini brought him on this the second half of a 1-1 draw with the USSR. The arrival of Sacchi as Azzurri head coach saw Pagliuca become Italy’s main starter. He was a key figure in the Azzurri’s qualifying campaign to the 1994 World Cup and starred at the tournament in the USA, where Italy finished second. After that tournament, he dropped down the pecking order and was left out of the squad for the Euros in 1996. He subsequently returned to the fold once Cesare Maldini took the helm, serving as a back-up to Peruzzi. An injury to the latter saw him deployed as the starter at France ’98, where he ended his Italy career after the defeat on penalties to the hosts in the final. In total, he made 39 appearances for the Azzurri.