Thursday, May 8, 2014
Giancarlo Antognoni: the forgotten man of Italian football
Giancarlo Antognoni was the heart and soul of Fiorentina during the 1970's and 1980's. He is regarded as one of the club's greatest players ever wore the purple jersey. He started his career not with Fiorentina but with Italian Serie D club Astimacobi. In 1972, Nils Liedholm convinced him to join Fiorentina. He played over 400 games for them and holds the record for the most appearances in Serie A for Fiorentina, with 341 appearances.
During his prime, Antognoni was considered to be one of the Italian players in his generation. However, he does not have the same name recognition of his contemporaries, despite helping Italy to win the World Cup. Paulo Rossi scored 6 goals and was proclaimed the hero of the World Cup. Dino Zoff was the captain that organised one of the best defence in history. Along with Marco Tardelli, Gaetano Scirea, Claudio Gentile and Antonio Cabrini, they also built a dynasty with Juventus at the club level. Giancarlo Antognoni, on the other hand, stayed loyal with Fiorentina and only won a Coppa Italia in 1975. He also missed the World Cup Final due to an injury.
Antognoni had his best chance to win a major trophy for his club team during the 1981-1982 season. Earlier in the season, he suffered a horrible, head injury after being knocked down by Genoa's goalkeeper, Artemio Franchi. His career could have ended that day. Despite Antognoni missing many games, Fiorentina still managed to be level on points with Juventus heading to the final game of the season, but Fiorentina could not break the deadlock against Cagliari while Juventus won by a single goal. Liam Brady who already knew that Juventus had signed Michel Platini as his replacement scored the only goal from the penalty.
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.