19 January 2020
Happy Birthday to two World Cup winners: Altobelli and Grosso!‘Spillo’, who won the World Cup in 1982 as a part of Bearzot’s Italy team, turns 64 today, while Fabio Grosso, one of the heroes of Germany 2006, also celebrates his birthday today
Thursday, November 28, 2019
Alessandro Altobelli, who turns 64 today, was born on 28 November 1955 in Sonnino, a small town in the province of Latina. He began playing football with Latina’s youth teams and made his professional debut with the club in a Serie C1 league game. He joined Brescia in 1974.
He spent three seasons playing in Serie B with the Rondinelle and his increasingly impressive performances earned him a transfer to Inter. He won one Scudetto (1979/80) and two Coppe Italia (1977/78, 1981/82) during his eleven seasons with the Nerazzurri. He made 466 appearances and scored 209 goals, making him Inter’s second highest ever goalscorer. He played for Juventus during the 1988/89 season before finishing his career back at Brescia.
His story with the Italian National Team began in 1980 as Coach Bearzot called him up to the squad for the European Championship. Altobelli made two appearances at that tournament, including during the third-place playoff against Czechoslovakia. It was the first game he started during the competition and he went on to score during the penalty shootout which ultimately Czechoslovakia won. He scored a brace on his third appearance for the Azzurri, as he helped his side to a 3-1 friendly victory over Portugal in Genoa on 24 September 1980. He then failed to hit the back of the net until the 1982 World Cup final where he put Italy 3-0 up against West Germany at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid. Italy would go on to win the final 3-1.
Having been crowned World Champion in Spain, Altobelli then took part in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico where he scored four goals in four games, and then in the 1988 European Championship where he made his last appearances for the Azzurri in a 2-0 semi-final defeat against the USSR on 22 June in Stuttgart. He made a total of 61 appearances for the Italian National Team, scoring 25 goals in the process. He is sixth in the Azzurri’s all-time scoring charts, behind Riva (35), Meazza (33), Piola (30), Baggio and Del Piero (27).
Fabio Grosso, who was born in Rome on 28 November 1977, celebrates turning 42 today. His professional career began at Chieti in Serie C2, before he moved to Perugia in 2001 to begin his career in the top flight. Two and a half seasons at the highest level earned him a transfer to Palermo, where he helped them return to Serie A after a 31-year absence.
After two seasons with the Rosaneri, which culminated in him receiving a call-up to Italy’s victorious squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, he transferred to Inter. He spent one season with the Nerazzuri, with whom he won the Scudetto and the Supercoppa Italia, before he joined Lyon. There he helped Lyon win Ligue 1, a Coupe de France and a Trophée des Champions. He returned to Juventus where he picked up another Scudetto in the 2011/12 season before calling time on his professional career.
As mentioned earlier his adventure with the National Team began during his time with Perugia. He made his debut in Geneva on 30 April 2003, as Trapattoni’s Italy beat Switzerland 2-1 in a friendly. He scored his first goal for the National Team on 3 September 2005 in a 1-1 draw against Scotland in a World Cup qualification match in Glasgow.
The 2006 World Cup marked the pinnacle of his career. He scored a great goal in the 2-0 semi-final victory over West Germany and he then scored the decisive penalty against the French in Berlin, giving the Azzurri their fourth ever World Cup victory.
Having taken part in the 2008 European Championship and the 2009 Confederations Cup, he made his final appearance for the Azzurri on 14 November 2009 in 0-0 friendly draw against Holland. It was his 48th and final appearance for the Italian National Team.