Ricorrenze Azzurre

Happy Birthday to Gianni Rivera who is 76 today!

The Golden Boy of Italian football won the 1969 Ballon d'Or

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Happy Birthday to Gianni Rivera who is 76 today!

Today is the birthday of AC Milan legend and 1968 European Championship winner Gianni Rivera. Born on 18 August 1943 in Alessandria, he started playing for his local side. He made his Serie A debut for Alessandria before the age of 17 on 2 June 1959 in a 1-1 draw against Inter. The following year, he made 25 appearances and scored six goals before moving to Milan. He would spend 19 years there between 1960 and 1979, playing in 658 matches and scoring 164 goals. For the Rossoneri, he won the Scudetto three times, European Cup twice, Cup Winners' Cup twice along with one Intercontinental Cup and four Coppa Italia wins.

In 1969, Rivera won the Ballon d’Or ahead of fellow Italy legend Gigi Riva.

Rivera’s Italy career began on 13 May 1962 in a friendly against Belgium that ended in a 1-3 win. A few months later, he scored his first goal in December during a 6-0 win over Turkey in qualification for thee 1964 European Championship. After the disappointing 1966 World Cup in England, he competed at the 1968 European Championship which was won by Valcareggi’s side although he missed the final against Yugoslavia due to injury. Two years later, he and Sandro Mazzola were legendary figures at the World Cup in Mexico. The 4-3 against West Germany remains an iconic match and it was Rivera who scored the winner in the 111th minute on 17 June 1970 in Mexico City. His Italy career ended on 19 June 1974 at the World Cup in a 1-1 draw with Argentina. In total, Rivera played 60 times for Italy and scored 14 goals.