Sandro Matsola

Sandro Matsola

Football player
Date of Birth: 08.11.1942
Country: Italy

  1. Biography of Sandro Mazzola
  2. Sandro Mazzola: Italian Footballer and Commentator
  3. Sandro Mazzola from a Dynasty of Champions

Biography of Sandro Mazzola

Sandro Mazzola: Italian Footballer and Commentator

Sandro Mazzola is an Italian footballer, attacking midfielder, and commentator. He was a member of the Italian national team that won the European Championship in 1968 and reached the final of the FIFA World Cup in 1970. Mazzola spent his entire playing career from 1961 to 1977 at Internazionale in Milan. Currently, he works as a sports commentator on RAI.

Sandro Mazzola from a Dynasty of Champions

Sandro Mazzola gained significant recognition in Italy in 1963 when he failed to score a penalty against Lev Yashin in a European Championship qualifier. Despite the game ending in a 1-1 draw, the Soviet Union advanced to the quarterfinals as they had won the first leg. Mazzola's words about Yashin, "He simply plays football better than me," are still quoted today. Yashin was named the best player in Europe that year, and his excellent performance against the Italians greatly contributed to this recognition. Additionally, Mazzola was only 21 years old at the time and had played for the national team in just three matches. His debut was on May 12, 1963, in a friendly match against Brazil in Milan, where he scored a penalty against the renowned Gilmar, resulting in a 3-0 victory for Italy. Such a debut is a rare achievement.

Mazzola's football career was extraordinary in many ways. He first stepped onto the field with the Italian national team on May 22, 1949, in Florence when he was just six and a half years old. His father, Valentino, who was the captain of Torino and the national team at the time, also led the team onto the field for the previous match. On May 4, 1949, the entire Torino team tragically died in a plane crash while returning from Lisbon. The plane crashed into Superga Hill in Turin during the landing approach. In a single moment, not only the best club team in Italy but also the national team ceased to exist. Torino had been the undisputed champion of the country since 1943, and the national team consisted of ten Torino players, with only the goalkeeper representing Juventus. It is worth noting that during that period, Italy was the reigning double world champion. They were considered the main contenders for victory in the 1950 tournament in Brazil, but the loss of their key players shattered all hopes. Valentino Mazzola was born in 1919. World War II prevented him, like many footballers of his generation in different countries, from fully showcasing his abilities. He began playing for Venezia and won the Italian Cup in 1941. Afterward, he was recruited by Torino, which was considered a superclub at the time and had no equals in Italy. Valentino Mazzola played as a forward, and what a player he was! In the Torino squad, he played 170 league matches, scoring 97 goals. In 1947, he became the top scorer of the championship with 29 goals, a record that still stands for the club. He made his debut for the national team on April 5, 1942, playing a total of 12 matches and scoring 4 goals. He became a legend of world football. It is no coincidence that Brazilian player Jose Altafini adopted the nickname "Mazzola" and played under it in the 1954 World Cup, which Brazil won. Two goals in the official records are attributed to Mazzola.

It is rare for a son to inherit their father's talent, but in this case, it is precisely what happened. After Valentino's death, Sandro and his younger brother Feruccio were taken under the wing of Inter Milan forward and Italian national team member Benito Lorenzi, who was Valentino's close friend. Lorenzi would bring them to training sessions and matches. It is no wonder that both Sandro and Feruccio pursued careers in football. However, Feruccio's career did not go as well as his brother's, although he did play for notable clubs such as Venezia, Lazio, and Fiorentina. He only played one match for Inter.

Mazzola's rise to football stardom began when Helenio Herrera became the coach of Inter Milan. Some called him a charlatan, while others considered him a magician and wizard. Defense was the team's main focus, and it rarely experienced any failures. Herrera considered three players to be key: defender Facchetti, midfielder Suárez, and forward Sandro Mazzola. It is a stretch to call Mazzola a forward, as he was constantly moving from one penalty area to another throughout the entire match. Journalists described him as a player who was both a poet and a plowman on the field. During those years, they won the Italian championship three times, back-to-back European Cup titles, and the Intercontinental Cup twice. Mazzola played his best game on May 27, 1964, in the final of the European Cup in Vienna. He opened the scoring and scored the decisive third goal. Mazzola holds the record for scoring against AC Milan in just 13 seconds on February 24, 1963. On the field, Mazzola was both the playmaker and the top scorer, leaving his mark on the history of Italian and world football.