Giancarlo Antognoni in 2011
|Full name||Giancarlo Antognoni|
|Date of birth||1 April 1954|
|Place of birth||Marsciano, Italy|
|Height||1.77 m (5 ft in)|
|Playing position(s)||Attacking Midfielder|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Giancarlo Antognoni, (Italian pronunciation: [d?a?'karlo anto?'?o:ni]; born 1 April 1954 in Marsciano) is a former Italian footballer, who played as a midfielder. A skillful and creative offensive playmaker, regarded as one the best Italian players of all time in his position, he played most of his club career with Fiorentina, where he won the Coppa Italia and the Anglo-Italian League Cup in 1975. At international level, he won the 1982 FIFA World Cup with the Italian national team, and he also represented his country at the 1978 FIFA World Cup, and at the 1980 UEFA European Championship, finishing in fourth place on both occasions. On 11 October 2010, he was awarded the "Legends of football" Golden Foot award.
He made his debut in Italian Serie A in October 1972 with Fiorentina, whom he later captained, also eventually inheriting the number 10 shirt. He won the Coppa Italia (Italian Cup) during the 1974-75 season, as well as the 1975 Anglo-Italian League Cup that season, over West Ham. He narrowly missed out on the Serie A title with Fiorentina during the 1981-82 season, losing out to rivals Juventus by a single point on the final match-day. Antognoni played 412 games with Fiorentina and scored 61 goals. Antognoni is regarded as a Fiorentina legend, and as one of the club's best ever players, as he played for the club throughout his entire Italian professional career between the 70s and 80s. He holds the record for the most appearances in Serie A for Fiorentina, with 341 appearances.
In November 1981, Antognoni fractured his skull in two places and went into a coma for two days following an accidental collision with Genoa's goalkeeper Silvano Martina, which saw the latter's knee come into heavy contact with Antognoni's head; according to FIFA.com, the playmaker went into cardiac arrest for 30 seconds, which led Genoa's captain, Claudio Onofri, to exclaim "he's dead, he's dead!" However, Genoa's team doctor - Pierluigi Gatto - was able to act quickly and revive Antognoni's pulse by untwisting his tongue and giving him CPR through chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
In 1987, Antognoni joined Lausanne Sports. He made 51 appearances and scored 7 goals. He retired in 1989 while at Lausanne.
Antognoni's senior international career with Italy started on 20 November 1974, in a 3-1 away loss to the Netherlands at the age of twenty, in a Euro 1976 qualifying match. Antognoni took part in the 1978 World Cup with Italy under manager Enzo Bearzot, where the team finished in fourth place after a semi-final defeat to the Netherlands. He also reached another fourth-place finish at the 1980 European Championship on home soil, wearing the number 10 jersey. His greatest achievement with the national team came when he won the 1982 FIFA World Cup, however, after recovering from a skull-injury sustained the year prior in time for the tournament. Antognoni made six appearances throughout the competition, and played a crucial role in the team's title run with his ability to circulate possession and create chances with his passing as the team's main playmaker; he provided the second-highest number of assists throughout the tournament (3), behind only Brazil's Zico and West Germany's Pierre Littbarski. He also had a goal in Italy's 3-2 second-round victory over Brazil incorrectly ruled out for offside; however, the result allowed Italy to advance to the semi-finals. He started in the latter match against Poland, which Italy won 2-0, but he was not able to participate in the final 3-1 victory over West Germany due to an injury he sustained in the semi-final.
In total, he received 73 caps for Italy, scoring 7 goals. His last appearance came against Czechoslovakia, on 16 November 1983. He captained of the national team on four occasions. Antognoni is currently the Fiorentina player with the most appearances for the national side, and also holds the record for the most appearances wearing the number 10 shirt for Italy. With two red cards throughout his international career, he is also Italy's most red carded player ever, alongside Franco Causio and Daniele De Rossi.
A skillful, quick, and creative offensive playmaker, Antognoni is considered to be one of Italy's greatest players ever, one of the most talented players of his generation, and one of the best attacking midfielders of all time, due to his vision, control, technical ability, intelligence, accurate distribution, passing range, and eye for goal from midfield. which enabled him to score goals or create chances for his teammates; he was also known for his ability to circulate possession, dictate play in midfield, and orchestrate his team's attacking moves with his quick short passing on the ground, as well as his ability to switch the play with long diagonal balls. Moreover, he was an excellent dribbler, who was known for his pace and elegance on the ball, as well as quick feet, and his ability to keep his head up when carrying the ball forward while advancing in possession from midfield, which saw him likened to compatriot Gianni Rivera by pundits. Although he was usually deployed as a traditional number 10 behind the forwards, he was also capable of playing as a central midfielder, where he functioned as a deep-lying playmaker. Antognoni was also highly regarded throughout his career for his accuracy from bending set pieces, and for his powerful shots from outside the area; although naturally right footed, he was capable of passing or striking the ball accurately with either foot. In addition to his footballing skills, he also stood out for his leadership throughout his career, as well as his work-rate. Despite his talent, his career was largely marked by injuries.
|Italy national team|