Giuseppe Meazza

Giuseppe Meazza
Giuseppe Meazza 1935.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth(1910-08-23)23 August 1910
Place of birthMilan, Italy
Date of death21 August 1979(1979-08-21) (aged 68)
Place of deathLissone, Italy
Height1.69 m (5 ft 6 12 in)
Playing positionForward
Senior career*
National team
Teams managed
1949–1951Pro Patria
1952–1953Italy Olympic
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Giuseppe "Peppino" Meazza (Italian pronunciation: [dʒuˈzɛppe meˈattsa]; 23 August 1910 – 21 August 1979), also known as il Balilla, was an Italian football manager and player. Throughout his career, he played mainly for Internazionale in the 1930s, scoring 242 goals in 365 games for the club, and winning three Serie A titles, as well as the Coppa Italia; he later also played for local rivals Milan, as well as Turin rivals Juventus, in addition to his spells with Varese and Atalanta. At international level, he led Italy to win two consecutive World Cups: in 1934 on home soil, and in 1938 as captain; he was named to the All-star Team and won the Golden Ball Award at the 1934 World Cup, as the tournament's best player. Along with Giovanni Ferrari and Eraldo Monzeglio, he is one of only three Italian players to have won two World Cups.[1][2] Following his retirement, he served as a coach for the Italy national team, and with several Italian clubs, including his former club sides Inter and Atalanta, as well as Pro Patria, and Turkish club Beşiktaş; he was Italy's head coach at the 1952 Summer Olympics.

Meazza is widely considered one of the best players of his generation, and among the greatest of all time, as well as being regarded by many in the sport as Italy's greatest ever player.[3][4][5] Giuseppe Prisco and Gianni Brera considered him to be the greatest footballer of all time.[6][7] Due to his technical skill, prolific goalscoring, and creative ability, he was often given the nickname "il genio" (the genius) by the Italian press during his career.[8] He has been ranked fourth-best player in the history of the World Cup.[9] A prolific forward, Meazza won the Serie A top-scorer award on three occasions in his career; with 216 goals in Serie A, he is the fourth all-time highest goal scorer in Serie A, alongside José Altafini, and with 33 goals, he is also the second highest goalscorer for the Italian national team.[10][11] With 338 goals, he is the third-highest Italian goalscorer in all competitions.[12] He is also the youngest player ever to score 100 goals in Serie A, a feat which he achieved at the age of 23 years and 32 days.[13][14][15][16] San Siro, the principal stadium in his native city of Milan, which is today shared by two of his former clubs, Internazionale and crosstown rivals A.C. Milan, is now officially called Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in the player's honour.[17] In 2011, he was posthumously inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame.

Early life

Meazza was born in Porta Vittoria, Milan. Having lost his father in 1917 during the tragic fighting of World War I at the age of seven, young Peppe grew up in Milan with his mother, Ersilia who came from Mediglia, helping her sell fruit at the market. He began playing football at six years old, and started out playing barefoot with a ball made of rags on the streets for a team named the "Maestri Campionesi". At the age of twelve, his mother gave him permission to pursue a footballing career, and he began playing for Gloria F.C.. It was during this time that a fan gave Meazza his first pair of football boots.[18]

At the age of 14, Meazza admired Milan, but was rejected by the team for his small physique.[19] However, he was instead accepted by Milan's cross-city rivals Internazionale.

Meazza's nickname, "il Balilla" ("The Little Boy"),[20][21] was given to him in 1927 by his older teammate Leopoldo Conti, who thought "Peppìn", in Milanese dialect, who was only 17 when he joined the senior team, was too young to be associated to the senior team. He was surprised after Inter coach Árpád Weisz decided to give Meazza his debut for Inter in his place, famously commenting: "Now we even let the Balilla kids play!". The Opera Nazionale Balilla, the Fascist youth organisation which collected all children aged 8 to 14 years, was established in 1926, hence why Conti felt it to be a suitable nickname for the young rookie. However, Meazza later scored two goals on his official debut, leaving Conti speechless.[18][22]

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Aymar aru: Giuseppe Meazza
беларуская: Джузэпэ Меаца
български: Джузепе Меаца
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српски / srpski: Ђузепе Меаца
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українська: Джузеппе Меацца
Tiếng Việt: Giuseppe Meazza