Ricorrenze Azzurre

Happy Birthday to Gianni Rivera!

A European Champion in 1968, the Golden Boy won the Ballon d'Or in 1969. He made 60 appearances and scored 14 goals for Italy

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Happy Birthday to Gianni Rivera!

Gianni Rivera, European Champion with the Azzurri in 1968 and AC Milan icon, celebrates his birthday today. Rivera was born on 18 August 1943 in Alessandria and it was in his home town that he developed the confidence to make the greatest friend he would ever have in his life – football. He made his Serie A debut with Alessandria at just 16, in a match that finished 1-1 against Inter. He made 25 appearances in the following season and scored six goals, his eye-catching performances earned him a move to the Rossoneri. He stayed with AC Milan for 19 years, from 1960 to 1979, and made 658 appearances, scoring 164 times for the Club. He won it all with the Diavolo: three Scudetti, two European Cups, two Cup Winners’ Cups, an Intercontinental Cup and four Coppa Italia titles. In 1969, he won a Ballon d’Or, which preceded the legend he would become in Italy.

Rivera began his journey with the Italy National Team on 13 May 1962, in a friendly against Belgium that Italy won 3-1. A few months later, on 2 December, he scored his first Italy goal as he bagged a brace in a 6-0 win over Turkey in a qualifier for the European Championship of 1964. After the unfortunate World Cup in England in ’66, he took part in the 1968 European Championship as Valcareggi’s Italy came home victorious, though he missed the final against Yugoslavia through injury. Two years later, he was part of a legendary “relay” with Sandro Mazzola at the World Cup in Mexico. His contribution in the semi-final of that tournament would go down in Italian football history: in the 111th minute in Mexico City, Rivera popped up with the winning goal to make it 4-3 against West Germany, sending Italy to the final. He ended his international career in June 1974, after the 1-1 draw with Argentina at the World Cup in West Germany. In total, Rivera made 60 appearances and scored 14 goals for Italy.