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The best goalkeepers in history - Dino Zoff

01 Jul 2018

During its history, the Italian national team has collected countless successes, it has had great players and personalities in its ranks. However, we would be hard-pressed to find a bigger name between the sticks than one of the most unsuccessful captains of the Italian national team, a huge character and the oldest ever World Cup winner. He is Dino Zoff.

A boy with big dreams

Italy was up to its ears in war when, in 1942, a boy was born in the very north of the country, who dreamed of a sports career from an early age. As the son of a farmer, Dino kept hearing that he didn't have much of a chance to succeed as an athlete. He was thus enrolled in a technical school, continued to work on the family farm and helped the family with the farm. Even so, he never stopped loving football and sports in general. He enjoyed cycling, running and playing football. At the age of 14, he had his first opportunity to become a professional – he was invited to the training of the youth team of Inter Milan and later Juventus. However, he could not make it in any of them, probably because of his height, which at the age of 14 was only 149 centimeters. Dino did not give up on his dream.

Hard work

During the following years, he worked hard on himself, worked hard every day on the family farm, tried to play football as much as he could and, above all, ate well. He took his grandmother's advice to eat at least 6 eggs in any way every day. This is probably what led to Dino being 33 centimeters taller 5 years later. And the hard work paid off. In the autumn of 1961, he stood between the posts for the first time in the Italian top league, specifically in the colors of Udinese. With the club, he experienced relegation to the second league and subsequent promotion. After a very successful season, he transferred to Mantua in 1963, where he spent 4 seasons. It was his performances after 1963 that caught the attention of the leadership of the Italian national football team, so in 1968 and 1970 he participated in the Euro and the World Cup. In both cases, the Blues reached the medal positions, and Zoff, who was named the best goalkeeper at both tournaments, had a big part to play in that. In between, Dino spent 5 years in Napoli, appearing in the blue and white goal a total of 143 times.

A fairy tale ending

Two years after the championship, Dino made the biggest decision of his life – he left for Juventus Turin. There would be nothing special about it if Dino had not transferred at the then already veteran age. He was 30. He ended up spending the rest of his career, 11 seasons, at Juventus. He won Serie A six times and the Coppa Italia twice, finishing second in the Ballon d'Or poll. But the greatest success was still ahead of him. In 1982, he traveled to Spain for the World Cup as a captain and playing legend. He was exactly 40 years and 133 days old when he lifted the World Champions trophy above his head. A year later, he played his last league game. He left in his best.

"I played until I was 41 just because I believe you get better all your life."

Dino Zoff

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