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A one-club man, Bergomi held the record of most appearances for the club for several years, while also being the side's longtime captain. He was affectionately referred to as "Lo zio" ("the uncle") because of his bushy eyebrows and the impressive moustache he wore even as a youngster.
He is regarded as one of the greatest Italian defenders of all time, and as one of the best of his generation, being elected by Pelé to be part of the FIFA 100 in 2004.
In the 1986 edition Italy were eliminated in the round-of-16, and Bergomi captained his country in the 1990 tournament - held on home soil - to a third-place finish, playing in all seven matches which included five consecutive wins and as many clean sheets, for a total of 518 minutes without conceding a goal and the best defensive record overall.
After being sent off in a match against Norway for the Euro 1992 qualifiers, Bergomi spent years without being called up to the Azzurri, but was surprisingly selected for the 1998 World Cup at age 34, after playing 28 times in the league and leading the Nerazzurri to the UEFA Cup - his third and last. In France he started off as a reserve, but was substituted in during the last group stage match against Austria when Alessandro Nesta suffered a tournament-ending injury. He partnered for the rest of the tournament with Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Costacurta and Maldini, playing three games and leading Italy to a quarter-final finish, where they would be eliminated by hosts and eventual champions France, on penalties; this would be his 81st and final international appearance, to which he added six goals.
Bergomi was an extremely versatile defender, who was capable of playing anywhere along the backline and adapting to any formation: although he was primarily a right-back, he was equally capable of playing on the left, as a central defender, or even as a sweeper, positions in which he was often deployed both at club and international level. A quick, athletic, consistent, and hard-working player, in addition to his defensive ability, as a full-back he was also known for his strength, stamina and his ability to make attacking runs up the flank, and was also capable of contributing to his team's offensive plays with goals and assists, courtesy of his good right foot, crossing ability, and powerful shot from outside the area. Above all, however, Bergomi was known for his excellent man-marking skills as a "stopper", although he was later also able to excel in a zonal marking system; he was also highly regarded for his timing of his challenges and his anticipation.
Despite having a strong temper and being a hard tackler - he was sent off 12 times in his career - Bergomi also distinguished himself by his fairness, professionalism, and discipline, which made him well-respected among teammates, opponents, and coaches; he was also regarded for his 'silent leadership' throughout his career. Because of his physical and tenacious playing style, in 2007, The Times placed him at number 9 in their list of the 50 hardest football players in history.
A precocious talent in his youth, Bergomi later also stood out for his longevity throughout his extensive career; indeed, his experience, tactical intelligence, and positional sense, as well as his confidence on the ball, balance, technique, and his ability to play the ball out from the back-line enabled him to excel as a sweeper towards the end of his career, and maintain a high level of performance, in spite of his loss of pace as a result of his physical decline.
A licensed football coach, Bergomi became youth coach of Esordienti at Inter in 2008. In July 2009 he was appointed youth coach of Allievi Nazionali (under-17) at A.C. Monza Brianza 1912, being promoted as head of the Berretti under-19 team, in co-operation with Giuseppe Chieppa, one year later.