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Dino Zoff Biography

Thu 01 April 2021 | 14:30

Elected by IFFHS as the third best goalkeeper of the 20th century and one of the best goalkeepers in the history of football, in this article, we take a look at Dino Zoff biography.

Dino Zoff, born on 28 February 1942, in Mariano del Friuli, is an Italian retired professional football goalkeeper. He is the oldest player to ever win a FIFA

World Cup

title: 40 years old at the time of his team's 1982 World Cup victory in Spain, he was Italy's main goalkeeper, captain and leader.

He played a record 1,142-Minute Kick-off in international tournaments between 1972 and 1974. He is fifth in Italy's history in terms of appearances (112 games, 59 as captain) behind Andrea Pirlo, Paolo Maldini, Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluigi Buffon.

He has played for Udinese, Mantova, Napoli and

Juventus

during his career as a player. Since retiring he has coached several Italian clubs: Juventus, with whom he won the Italian Cup and UEFA Cup in 1990, Lazio and

Fiorentina

as well as the Italian national team. He said he could have played until he was 50 but could not accept the fact he was not getting the respect he deserved from younger players at the club, saying his time had passed. He ended his career at the height of his form.

Ranked third on the list of the best goalkeepers of the 20th century by IFFHS after Lev Yashin and Gordon Banks, interestingly, in the same poll, Dino Zoff somehow came second to Yashin on the list of the best goalkeepers in Europe.

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All You Need to Know About Dino Zoff Biography

In 2004 he was included in the FIFA 100 by Pele and named among the Golden Foot football legends; in the same year, on the occasion of the UEFA Jubilee Awards, he was named by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) as the best Italian player of the previous 50 years, and was also 5th - first among Italians - in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll.

He was inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame as a Veteran and into the Italian Sport Legends Walk of Fame, in 2012 and 2015 respectively.

Dino Zoff Information

Now that we know him much better, in this section of

Dino Zoff biography

, we will share some more general information such as

Dino Zoff nationality

to let you know him even better.

Dino Zoff Bio

  • Full Name: Dino Zoff

  • Nickname: Monument

  • Profession: Professional Footballer

Dino Zoff Physical Stats

  • Weight: 81 Kg

  • Height: 1.82 m

  • Eye Color: Dark Brown

  • Hair Color: Dark Brown

Dino Zoff Football Information

  • Position: Goalkeeper

  • Jersey Number: 1

  • Professional Debut: 1961

Dino Zoff Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 28 February 1942

  • Birth Place: Mariano del Friuli, Italy

  • Zodiac Sign: Pisces

  • Nationality: Italian

Stay tuned to this section of

Dino Zoff biography

, as we want to share some information about

Dino Zoff childhood

and his early life and career.

Dino Zoff Early Life

Dino Zoff grew up in modest conditions as the son of a farmer in Friuli in northern Italy and was an enthusiastic football goalkeeper from an early age. However, the slim youngster was barely 1.60 m tall at the age of 14, which is why the youth teams of both Udinese Calcio and

Inter Milan

did not accept him because he was too short. So Dino Zoff started at lower levels, making his debut for Marianese, the club of his home village. In 1961, Dino Zoff was signed by Udinese at the age of 19.

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Dino Zoff Profile

He was raised in the Marianese team, and after a preliminary rejection at the age of 14 at the Inter and Juventus trials due to his short height (about 1.60 m), he was later chosen by Udinese, thanks to his natural growth and, according to Zoff himself, to his grandmother's egg-based diet, he grew 22 centimeters.

With the Udinese team, he made his debut in

Serie A

on 24 September 1961, at the Stadio Comunale in Florence, where they were beaten 2-5 by Fiorentina, who dominated with two doubles each from Milani and Hamrin, and a goal from Jonsson.

The following year, after Udinese's relegation to Serie B, Zoff became the team's first-choice goalkeeper, although his performances were deemed not to be very good and he was put on the exit list despite the appreciation of the club's then-president, Dino Bruseschi, who always defended him from sometimes harsh criticism and was therefore reluctant to sell him.

Mantova

He returned to Serie A in 1963, the year in which he was bought by Mantova for about 20 million lire. Initially appointed as a reserve for the other new signing, the more experienced and on paper more reliable Attilio Santarelli, in his first season in Lombardy the younger Zoff soon managed to overturn the hierarchy, winning the keys to the Mantova goal, due to an injury to Santarelli at the beginning of the season.

He played 131 games in four seasons with the red and white team: the last match he played at the Danilo Martelli stadium was on June 1st 1967, the famous Mantova-Inter (1-0), which marked the end of the Great Inter. The following summer, Zoff moved to Napoli and made his national team debut.

Stay tuned to this section of

Dino Zoff biography

, as we want to share some information about his Napoli career.

Napoli

In the summer of 1967, Zoff seemed destined to move to AC Milan, with whom he had reached an agreement in principle; however, the deal fell through at the last minute, with the Milanese team ending up signing Fabio Cudicini.

At midnight on the last day of the transfer window, Zoff moved to Naples for 120 million lire plus Claudio Bandoni, thanks to the help of Alberto Giovannini, editor of the Roma newspaper then owned by Achille Lauro, who was also the owner of the

Lazio

club.

In Serie A he defended the Neapolitans' goal for 143 matches, playing continuously from his debut on 24 September 1967 (Napoli-Atalanta 1-0, the first day of the 1967-1968 championship), to his defeat on 12 March 1972 (0-2 against Inter, day 21 of the 1971-1972 season); a few days after the latter match he suffered an ankle injury in training, which interrupted his streak of consecutive matches and keeping him out for 7 matches, until his last day at the club.

During his time with the

Napoli

club, he set two records: in the 1970-1971 season he conceded only 18 goals in 30 games, also managed to keep a clean sheet for the first six matches, only conceding after 590 minutes, on the seventh day, against Inter Milan's Jair. He ended his time with Napoli playing the final of the 1971-1972

Coppa Italia

, losing 2-0 to

AC Milan

.

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Juventus

In the summer of 1972, because the Neapolitan club needed to be rejuvenated and reorganized at an economic level, the thirty-year-old Zoff, now considered among the strongest extreme goalkeepers of his generation, was hired by Juventus in a large exchange of players between Naples-Turin, which involved, among others, the younger but more inconsistent Pietro Carmignani, from whom the Italian inherited the keys to the goal.

In his years in Piedmont, Zoff was the star of a remarkable consistency of performances, so much so that until the end of the 1982-83 season he would not miss a game of the league.

Zoff's victories at club level are related to the Juventus, both as a player and later as a coach: in eleven seasons he won the Italian Serie A title six times (1972-1973, 1974-1975, 1976-1977, 1977-1978, 1980-1981 and 1981-1982), two Italian Cups (1978-1979 and 1982-1983) and a UEFA Cup (1976-1977, the first European success of a club from Turin).

His career, at the end of the 1982-1983 season, ended with the final of the Champions Cup (to which Juventus finished undefeated), lost in Athens against the Hamburg, on 25 May 1983. During the following days, the goalkeeper made his forthcoming retirement official, while asking and obtaining that for the last Juventus commitment of the season, the double Coppa Italia final against

Verona

, which was to be the last trophy of his competitive career, and after that, he gave the number one jersey to his backup, Luciano Bodini.

During his years at Juventus, Zoff set some noteworthy records: during the 1972-1973 season he kept his goal unbeaten for 903 minutes, surpassing Mario Da Pozzo's previous 792 minutes and setting the then unbeaten record in the single-round Serie A - a record later surpassed by Sebastiano Rossi's 929 minutes in the 1993-1994 season.

In the 1981-82 season he only conceded 14 goals, an absolute record for the Bianconeri club; moreover, in the eleven seasons played in the Bianconeri jersey he never missed a league match, playing on the field for 330 consecutive matches.

Altogether, he made 570 appearances in Serie A, a milestone that would make him the player with the most appearances in the Italian top league until 2005, when he was overtaken by Paolo Maldini; in his own position only, he would retain the record for a further year, later surpassed by Gianluca Pagliuca in 2006.

Stay tuned to this section of Dino Zoff biography, as we want to share some information about Italy national team.

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Italy National Team

Zoff received his first call-up to the senior national team at the age of 26, during the 1968 European Championship qualifiers. Italy, which had reached the play-offs that would have determined the four participants in the final phase of the tournament, had to overturn the 3-2 with which Bulgaria had won the first leg in Sofia; up to that moment, the coach Ferruccio Valcareggi had counted on Enrico Albertosi as the first goalkeeper and Lido Vieri as his reserve, but an injury occurred to both near the second leg and forced the coach to opt for Zoff and Roberto Anzolin, the latter already Albertosi's reserve at the 1966 World Cup.

Undecided who to play, Valcareggi opted for Dino Zoff because of his "debutant enthusiasm". The match was played on 26 April 1968 at the San Paolo stadium: Zoff, who was playing "at home" because of his time in Naples, proved to be reliable without making any big mistakes, and Italy won the qualification by winning 2-0.

In June of the same year, Zoff played as a starter in the final phase of the competition, at the end of which

Italy

won the first and so far only European Championship in its history, beating Yugoslavia 2-0 in the repeat of the final, which had ended 1-1; the goalkeeper, whose interventions in the first part of the final were decisive in maintaining the draw, would later be included in the team of the tournament.

Although he only made 4 appearances in the European Championship, Zoff was given a starting place for most of the qualifying rounds of the 1970 World Cup in

Mexico

, but Albertosi was once again in charge of the goal in the final phase of the tournament.

He was the fresh winner of the Scudetto with Cagliari and a member - together with Pierluigi Cera and Comunardo Niccolai, who was also called for the World Cup - of a defensive line that had conceded only 11 goals in the season, setting a record. Zoff, therefore, served as a reserve player, witnessing from the bench Italy's second place, defeated in the final by

Brazil

; although he never criticized, he would later call his exclusion from the starting eleven "a great personal defeat".

At the end of the World Cup, Albertosi held the starting eleven for the whole of 1970, until Zoff overtook him starting from the friendly match against

Spain

on 20 February 1971, becoming the new Italian number one: from then on, in fact, his leadership would not be questioned anymore.

Missed the qualification to the 1972 European Championship (Zoff, injured, didn't play the play-off-qualification lost against Belgium), at the end of the same year the goalkeeper started an unbeaten streak that brought him to keep his goal unbroken for 1142 minutes (an absolute record for national football teams), from Italy-Yugoslavia of 20 September 1972 to Haiti-Italy of 15 June 1974: the latter was the debut match of the 1974 World Cup in West Germany, where Italy was eliminated in the first round.

At the end of the Valcareggi era, he was replaced by Fulvio Bernardini who was later joined by Enzo Bearzot, on 20 November 1974 Zoff wore the captain's armband for the first time, in a match against the Netherlands qualifying for the 1976 European Championship, to which Italy failed to qualify as in the previous edition; he became full-fledged captain three years later, following Giacinto Facchetti's retirement from the national team.

With Bearzot promoted to head coach, Dino Zoff then played in the 1978 World Cup in

Argentina

, which they finished fourth; following his defeat in the semi-final against the Netherlands, which denied the Azzurri access to the final, Zoff was harshly criticised by Gianni Brera because of the goals scored by Ernie Brandts and Arie Haan.

The 1980 European Championship, with Zoff still playing, saw Italy placed fourth again, being defeated at the penalty shoot-out by Czechoslovakia in the third place final; as already happened at the end of the 1968 edition, Zoff was included in the team of the tournament.

On 17 October 1981, in the match against Yugoslavia qualifying match for the 1982 World Cup, he equalled the record of appearances in the national team, previously set by Facchetti with 94 matches; he exceeded it in the next match on 14 November against Greece.

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Becoming World Champion

The last major competition played by Zoff with the national team jersey was the aforementioned 1982 World Cup in Spain, participation that allowed the goalkeeper to establish some records: playing in his fourth World Cup he equalled the Italian records of Enrico Albertosi and Gianni Rivera (later equalled by other players and beaten in 2014 by Gianluigi Buffon); in the debut match against Poland he also reached the 100th appearance in the national team, being the first Italian to do so. During the tournament, the Italian goalkeeper offered high-level performances - which earned him a place in the World Cup All-Star Team - and made his most famous intervention, which he considered the most important of his career.

In the final minutes of the quarter-final match against Brazil, Zoff stopped a header of the defender Oscar, avoiding a more risky rebound and proving decisive for the Italian victory (3-2). After the victorious final against West Germany (3-1) on 11 July in Madrid, as captain it was Zoff who raised the World Cup trophy, setting two more records: he became, at the age of 40, the oldest winner of the competition as well as the first and only Italian to have won a World Cup and a European Championship.

On 29 May 1983, at the age of 41, Zoff played for the last time in the Azzurri jersey, in Sweden-Italy (2-0) in Gothenburg, a match that also coincided with the last game of his career. With 112 appearances (59 as captain), Zoff was the record holder for national team appearances for 19 years, beaten by Paolo Maldini in 2000.

Stay tuned to this section of Dino Zoff biography, as we want to share some information about his coaching career.

Coaching Career

At the end of his football career, he then began a new career as a coach, first of all with the Italian football federation, which appointed him as head of the Olympic team. Zoff managed to qualify for the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, before being replaced in

South Korea

by Francesco Rocca, where Italy finished 4th.

He then joined the technical staff of Juventus, where he became head coach from 1988 to 1990. After being dismissed by the Bianconeri despite a UEFA Cup victory in 1990, he left to join Lazio, then owned by Sergio Cragnotti, of which he became president in 1994. He even accepted the big responsibility of becoming president and coach of the club in 1997 after the departure of Zdeněk Zeman.

In 1998 he accepted to take charge of the Italian national team. It would only take a few seconds for Zoff to go from being a potential hero to a cursed coach. Playing an open and attacking game, the Italian team impressed and reached the final of Euro 2000, after a heroic victory against the Netherlands in the semi-final.

But in the final, Italy suffered one of the worst defeats in its history by losing to France in a match they were leading in injury time. Zoff resigned a few days later after he was severely criticised by Silvio Berlusconi.

Returning to Lazio in Rome, Zoff was dismissed after a disastrous start to the 2001 season. In 2005 he was again called in to serve a six-month interim term at Fiorentina and to prevent the club from being relegated to the Italian Serie B.

Stay tuned to this section of Dino Zoff biography, as we want to share some information about his playing style.

Style of Play

An extreme and reliable goalkeeper, Zoff stood out for his remarkable sense of positioning, his confidence in the exits - both high and low - and his sober interventions aimed more at effectiveness than spectacularity. He was an athlete with a great personality, considered a great leader, who was able to block the ball whenever possible and preferred to wear inconspicuous uniforms, in order not to highlight his position between the posts.

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Reception

Dino Zoff is widely regarded to be one of the best goalkeepers in the history of football. He was voted third best goalkeeper of the 20th century after Russian Lev Yashin and English Gordon Banks. Zoff is also named the best Italian footballer of the last 50 years in the early 2000s.

Dino Zoff outside Football

In November 2015, Dino Zoff was hospitalized in a clinic in Rome for more than twenty days due to a neurological problem, which has caused him difficulty in moving his legs and walking. At the time, according to sources close to the former goalkeeper and coach, Zoff's life was not in danger, although his situation was closely monitored by doctors.

The news was not made public at the time of his admission at the request of the former champion, who decided to face this battle with the style that has always distinguished him and in silence.

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Dino Zoff Personal Life

In this section of Dino Zoff biography, we will take a look into his personal life and share some information about

Dino Zoff religion

and

Dino Zoff life story

.

Family, Children and Relationships

Zoff was a great player on the pitch, but he was so modest in his private life. This was the right description of Dino Zoff, who was always a very reserved person. It is precisely this side of his character that has led the goalkeeper to keep his family as far away from the public eye as possible. His wife Annamaria Passerini has been by his side for many years as they married each other in the mid-1960s.

The couple only had one son, Marco, born in 1974. Unlike his father, the son did not decide to follow in his father's footsteps but is an engineer working in an important company.

Philanthropy

As one of the greatest football players in the history of Italian football and considered among the best goalkeepers of all time, Dino Zoff always participates in different charity events.

Legal Issues

As of now, we have not seen any reports on media about any disputes or legal issues regarding Dino Zoff.

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Dino Zoff Career Statistics

In this section of Dino Zoff biography stay tuned as we want to take a look into his career stats both as a player and a football coach.

Club

For 22 years between 1961 and 1983, Dino Zoff played a total of 642 matches in all competitions on the club level. During the 11 seasons he played for Juventus, he has appeared in 330 matches for them.

International

Dino Zoff has also played a total of 112 matches for his country during a 15 years career. His most active year on the international level was 1982 when he played 13 matches and managed to win the World Cup.

Managerial

In 348 matches that he managed his teams as a coach, Dino Zoff’s teams has won 151 matches, drawn 119 and lost on 78 occasions. He has a win ratio of 43.39 percent during his managerial career.

Dino Zoff Honors

All of his club level awards and titles are with Juventus, where he managed to win Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup.

At the international level, Dino Zoff has won 1982 World Cup and 1968 UEFA European Championship with Italy.

As a Juventus manager, he has also won Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup, both in 1989-90 season.

Of his notable individual titles and awards, we can include UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament, Ballon d'Or: 1973 (2nd place), FIFA World Cup All-Star Team, FIFA Order of Merit, FIFA World Cup Best Goalkeeper, IFFHS Italian Goalkeeper of the 20th Century, World Soccer Manager of the Year and Berlin-Britz Goalkeeper of the Decade, among many others.

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