Giacinto Facchetti (Italian pronunciation: [dʒaˈtʃinto fakˈketti]; 18 July 1942 – 4 September 2006) was an Italian footballer who played as a defender. From January 2004 until his death, he was President of Internazionale, the Italian club for which he played for his entire club career during the 1960s and 1970s. He played 634 official games for the club, scoring 75 goals, and was a member of the Inter team which is often referred to as “Grande Inter”, under manager Helenio Herrera, with which he won four Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia, twoEuropean Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups.
At international level, Facchetti represented the Italy national football team on 94 occasions, and took part at three FIFA World Cups, winning a runners-up medal in the 1970 edition of the tournament, in which he was also elected to the All-star Team. He was also captain of the national side that won Italy’s first ever UEFA European Football Championship on home soil in 1968, where he was also elected to the team of the tournament.
Facchetti is remembered as one of the first truly great attacking full-backs, and placed second in the Ballon d’Or in 1965. He is regarded as one of the best players of all time in his position, due to his pace, technique, intelligence, physique, and stamina, and formed a formidable defensive partnership with fellow full-back Tarcisio Burgnich in Inter’s defensivecatenaccio system at club level, as well as with the Italian national side. In addition to his playing ability, Facchetti also stood out for his discipline and leadership throughout his career, and served both as Inter’s and Italy’s captain for several years.
In March 2004, Pelé named him one of the Top 125 greatest living footballers as part of FIFA‘s 100th anniversary celebrations. Following Facchetti’s death in 2006, he was named one of the year’s Golden Foot “Football Legends”, and was also the recipient of the FIFA Presidential Award. In 2015, he was posthumously inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame.
Born in Treviglio, in the Province of Bergamo (Lombardy), Facchetti began his career with his hometown club, Trevigliese, as a forward, due to his pace, powerful shot, and technique. He was soon noticed by Helenio Herrera, then manager of Inter, who launched him in Serie A in the late 1960–61 season as an attacking full-back on the left, due to his physique, energy, and tackling ability, in addition to his offensive attributes. The change of role proved to be an effective choice, and eventually Facchetti developed into one of the most effective defenders in Italian football, forming a notable partnership in defence with fellow Italian full-back Burgnich. Facchetti’s innovative playing style as one of the first European overlapping full-backs, combining hard defending with offensive prowess, played a key role in the defensive, yet counter-attacking “catenaccio” system of Herrera’s “Grande Inter” side that dominated Italian, European, and World Football in the 60s; whilst conceding few goals defensively, Facchetti was also able to contribute offensively with numerous goals and assists. He held the record for most goals in a single Serie A season by a defender, with 10 goals scored during the 1965–66 season, until it was broken by Marco Materazzi during the 2000–01 season.
Facchetti spent his entire professional career with Inter, later captaining the side, after Armando Picchi, Mario Corso, and Sandro Mazzola, during his final season with the club, between 1977–78. With his club, Facchetti won four scudetti in 1963, 1965, 1966 and 1971; one Italian Cup in 1978; two European Cups in 1964 and 1965; and two Intercontinental Cups in 1964 and 1965. Due to his performances for Inter, Facchetti also narrowly missed the opportunity to become the first defender to win the Ballon d’or, placing second in 1965, after narrowly missing out on a treble winning season with Inter that year; Inter won the Serie A and the European Cup, but were defeated in the 1965 Coppa Italia final by Juventus. Facchetti’s 59 goals in Serie A make him the most prolific defender in the history of the Italian league.
Facchetti made his debut for Italy on 23 March 1963. He was capped 94 times (a record at the time, since overtaken only by Dino Zoff, Paolo Maldini, Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluigi Buffon) wearing the captain’s armband 70 times and scoring three goals between 1963 and 1977. He played for his country at the 1966, 1970, and 1974 FIFA World Cups, captaining Italy in the latter two editions of the tournament. Facchetti also captained the Italian squad to victory at Euro 1968, wearing the number 10 shirt, after advancing to the finals by calling the coin toss correctly following extra time against the Soviet Union, before winning the final over Yugoslavia 2–0 in the replay match, as well as being named to the Team of the Tournament. He was also named to the Team of the Tournament in the 1970 World Cup, where he helped his team to the final of the tournament, only to be defeated 4–1 byBrazil.
Regarded as one of the greatest full-backs of all time, Facchetti’s pace, stamina, and excellent physical and technical traits allowed him to excel as an offensive full-back; a former forward, he was known for his ability to make attacking runs down the flank and get into positions which allowed him to either score or assist goals, due to his powerful shot and crossing ability. A strong, large, elegant, and hard-working footballer, he was highly regarded for his ability with both feet, distribution, and ball skills; he also excelled defensively, playing as a sweeper later in his career due to his ability to read the game, man-marking, positioning, anticipation and tackling. In addition to his footballing ability, he was also known for his correct behaviour on the pitch, as well as his leadership; he was sent off only once throughout his entire career, for sarcastically applauding the referee.
Over the years Facchetti held various managerial positions at Internazionale, including technical director, board member, worldwide ambassador and vice president. Facchetti was elected president of Inter on 19 January 2004. After a long illness, he died of pancreatic cancer in Milan on 4 September 2006. He is survived by his wife, Giovanna, and four children.
Following Facchetti’s death in 2006, he was named one of the year’s Golden Foot “Football Legends”, and was also the recipient of the FIFA Presidential Award. Known for his discipline as well as his playing ability throughout his career, the Premio internazionale Giacinto Facchetti was also established in his honour later that year, and is currently awarded annually to a football personality who was stood out for their honesty, correct behaviour, and sportsmanship. Also after his death, the Campionato Nazionale Primavera included Facchetti’s name for the official renaming of the championship to Campionato Primavera Tim – Trofeo Giacinto Facchetti.
In 2015, he was posthumously inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame.
|Italy national team|
|1.||4 November 1964||Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy||Finland||6–1||Win||1966 FIFA World Cup Q.|
|2.||7 December 1965||Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy||Scotland||3–0||Win||1966 FIFA World Cup Q.|
|3.||22 March 1967||GSP Stadium, Nicosia, Cyprus||Cyprus||0–2||Win||Euro 1968 Q.|
|Correct as of 13 January 2013|
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|UEFA European Championship