Giuseppe Meazza is arguably one of the best footballers ever. He led Italy to win two consecutive World Cups. He has played in all three Italian giant clubs, but mostly for Inter.
A long time before Pele, Puskás, Di Stefano, and Lev Yashin, Giuseppe Meazza being an International superstar of football shined like a star in a dark age of history. The Italian legend is considered one of the best players ever seen by many pundits. He won two back to back World Cups in the 1930s. The first World Cup tournament was held in 1930 and hosted byUruguay
Many European countries didn't participate in the competition because they found it so hard to get to South America. The 1934 World Cup was the first one that the teams had to qualify to take part. Italy was the host and won the title. Four years later inFrance
, Giuseppe Meazza won the World Cup, only this time he was the captain of Azzurri.
Giuseppe Meazza's legacy and glory are not limited to International competitions. He spent 13 seasons asInter
player and won three Scudetti, including the inaugural Serie A season. In his late career, Meazza also played for main rival teams for Inter:Milan
. There's no doubt in Meazza's greatness and due to his achievements, the San Siro stadium is named after him.
Giuseppe Meazza’s age
was 68 when he passed away in August 1979.
Meazza is probably the most prominent football figure before World War II. According to the Times, he is the number four of the ten greatest World Cup players. He was a player and manager. Meazza spent whole his playing career in Italy. In his managerial career, he was in Italy, too, except for being the Turkish clubBeşiktaş
manager for a while.
Giuseppe "Peppino" Meazza was born on August 23, 1910, just two years after Inter Milan foundation. His father was from Porta Vittoria in Milan and his mother was from Mediglia, a small town near Milan. He was a child when he lost his father. His father was killed in 1917 during the first World War. Peppe had to help his mother, Ersilia, to run the family business. Football was very different back then and it was not a wealthy career at all. He helped his mother sell fruits in the market and his love of football filled his free time.
One of the facts about
Giuseppe Meazza’s childhood
was that his mother was not happy with Peppe's urge to play football. He played since he was six years old, but until Ersilia's permission, he had to pursue his love as a rogue. His talent was undeniable, even with bare feet. His mother's approval received when he was 12. Peppe joined his first team, named Gloria F.C.. He got his first pair of football boots from a local fan. it didn't take long until Inter Milan scouted him.
As one of the most famous Italian players, Giuseppe Meazza loved champagne and women. He was the only player on the national team that was allowed to smoke and always sleeping at a brothel the night before a match.
There is one story where he woke up on the day of a game with two females on either side of him and had to get a taxi to the ground in his pajamas. “Luckily I lived near the stadium, and I managed to get there in a rush,” he is quoted as saying “My teammates and the coach looked at me disapprovingly. It was only five minutes before the kick-off, so I quickly changed and joined the team on the pitch."
"I could hear the Inter directors saying: ‘We’ll deal with him after the match. We’ll find out what he’s been up to.’ Luckily I scored a hat-trick, so afterward no one said a word.”
A fact about Giuseppe Meazza’s personal life is that in the summer of 1939, he became engaged to Rita Galloni and they had two daughters named Silvana and Gabriella. He played himself in the Italian film, Milan Millionaire and he’s actually got an IMDB entry. Before his death in 1979, was credited with nurturing Inter’s next generation of talent, including Sandro Mazzola and Giacinto Facchetti during his time as a coach. Milan and Inter’s shared San Siro home was renamed the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium in 1980.
Besides being a national treasure, Meazza is a Nerazzurri legend. He served the club for a long time.
Meazza was 17 years old when he became part of the senior team. Because of his age and skinny physique, he was nicknamed "il Balilla" which means The Little Boy. Inter striker Leopoldo Conti was the one who gave the nickname and because he was unhappy about a "rookie" becoming his replacement.
The little boy scored two goals in his professional debut match against Milanese Unione Sportiva in the Coppa Volta di Como on September 12, 1927. Meazza made team Árpád Weisz proud of the trust in his talent. Before 1930, the Italian league had a different format and it was named Divisione Nazionale. Meazza was a part of Inter in the last two Divisione Nazionale, having 33 and 29 caps and scoring 12 and 33 goals, respectively.
In the 1928-29 season, which was the last Divisione Nazionale, the club was going through a phase of changes because of the Fascist regime. Inter was forced to merge with US Milanese and was renamed S.S. Ambrosiana. A new jersey was designed for the team inspired by the city crest: a white shirt with a large cross painted red on the chest. Meazza was the best scorer of the team, which fans still call Inter.
Serie A starting season was marvelous for Inter and Meazza. Coach Árpád Weisz came back on Inter's bench after a season of the gap. Inter won the first Serie A title. An important fact about Giuseppe Meazza is that he was the first Serie A top scorer. He scored 31 goals in 33 games, ten goals more than second place. The next season was not as good as the last one. Despite the good performances by Meazza, who scored 24 goals in the league, the team stood in 5th place on the table.
The following season was pretty much the same: 21 goals from Meazza and Inter in 6th place. The only special thing was that the club was renamed Ambrosiana-Inter. With the new old name, Inter once again was back to track title race. Juventus was dominating at the time. Meazza scored 20 goals that season and Inter was runner-up. The results repeated again, plus one more goal for Meazza.
In 1935-36, Meazza won the Capocannoniere award with 25 goals, butBologna
won the Scudetto. In 1937-38, Ambrosiana-Inter adopted an offensive game that could make the most of the scent of the goal scorer, Meazza. He scored 20 goals in 26 Serie A games. Five of them were during the 9-2 victory againstBari
In Coppa Italia, he collected two pokers in two back to back wins, against Bari andVicenza
. Ambrosiana-Inter wins the league after eight years of waiting. At the end of this year, coach Árpád Weisz, who let Meazza into the senior team of Inter and won a couple of Scudetti with Bologna, was banished due to his Jewish roots. He later died in Auschwitz. In 1938-39, Inter won the club's first Coppa Italia championship. It was the only time Meazza won this title.
Peppino missed 1939-40 due to a severe injury, but the Scudetto was written to his name for the last time. Italy was in a very critical era in 1940 because of World War II. At the same time, Il Balilla was starting to decline.
After being over a year far from the pitch, it should be mentioned that Giuseppe Meazza decided to change his team. In 1940-41 cross city rival team AC Milan hired Meazza. He had two seasons with Milan, having 42 appearances and 11 goals. He received the captain armband in both Milanese teams. Meazza scored an equalizer in the derby against his former team, Inter. 1942-43 was the last Serie A before a two-year break due to World War II. Meazza spent this season with Juventus. He scored 10 goals for Bianconeri in 27 games.
Italy became occupied by foreign forces and flames of war were upon the country. Football clubs had to play in regional tournaments. The tournaments in 1944 are called Campionato Alta Italia. Meazza joined s small team near Milan named Varese, which is participating in Alta Italia. He played in 20 matches and scored seven goals, which led to qualification from Lombardy regional league as runner up behind Ambrosiana-Inter.
The next year Italian Football Championship was held with a format similar to before Serie A, in two groups. Italian teams were divided into the north and south sections. Meazza joinedAtalanta
in the north Section. He missed many games because he was acting as a coach-player at the end.
1946-47 was the first Serie A after World War. Inter started the season with poor results. In the second half of the season, Meazza joined Inter to save the team from relegation. As a player-coach, he did a great job and collected enough points that Inter finished 10th. It was the last season of the great Giuseppe Meazza as a player.
As one of the first Italian to coach abroad, in 1948, Meazza went to Turkey to be the coach of Beşiktaş JK. Beşiktaş was the Turkish champion at the time, but the Turkish National Division was going to abolish it. Meazza was the manager of Beşiktaş in 1948–49 Istanbul Football League. His side andGalatasaray SK
formed a close competition for the title. Beşiktaş became runner up at last with two points less than Galatasaray.
In 1949–50 Meazza returned to Serie A as the manager ofPro Patria
. He managed to secure Pro Patria in the mid-table, far from relegation. After that, he was appointed as Italy Olympic team manager in 1952. In the first round, his side trashed The United States with eight goals. In the second round, they had bad luck because their opponents were the legendary Invincible Hungary team, also known as Mighty Magyars.
In 1955-1956 and 1956-1957, Inter's new president, Angelo Moratti, hired Meazza to be the caretaker of the team. It was right before the Grande Inter era with Helenio Herrera. After 1957, Meazza became a retired manager.
Giuseppe Meazza made his debut with theItalian national team
in Rome on February 9, 1930, againstSwitzerland
. Nineteen years old, Peppino scored twice in that game in the first half to help Italy to do a comeback after they had been down by two goals in only 19 minutes. Meazza scored a goal in his second game againstGermany
. In the same year, he played for Azzurri against Hungary in the Central European International Cup. He scored a hat trick against the powerful opponents and Italy won, 5-0. The victory made Italy champion of the Central European International Cup. His next hat trick was against France in a friendly match in 1931. Meazza scored 13 goals in his first 15 caps for Azzurri.
In 1933, during the match against Germany, Meazza changed his position from centre forward to inside right. That meant the team could use his playmaking abilities more and Angelo Schiavio had more space to score goals. This strategy came in handy for the 1934 World Cup. In The final tournament of the 1934 FIFA World Cup, Italy faced the United States in the first round.
Meazza and Giovanni Ferrari had a great as well as Schiavio, who scored a hat trick and the US team was trashed, 7-1. In the next round againstSpain
, which was a very physical game with several injuries, they finished in a tie that required a replay. In the replay match, Meazza scored the only goal and Italy reached the semi finals. They beatAustria
and advanced to the final match against Czechoslovakia. They finished 1-1 in regular time, and for the first time, the World Cup final had extra time. It took five minutes of extra time for Italy to take the lead by a goal from Schiavio. Italy won the World Cup in Rome.
Giuseppe Meazza was named best player of the tournament. In 1935 Meazza once again won the Central European cup. He is one of the three Italians to win the title twice. His new teammate and club rival, Silvio Piola, was the new weapon in the 1938 World Cup. Giuseppe Meazza scored a valuable and memorable goal againstBrazil
in the semi final. He scored a penalty kick while holding his shorts up with his hands because its elastic was just ripped off. In the final round, Italy beat Hungary, 4-2 and captain Giuseppe Meazza received the trophy.
Meazza had six more caps for Italy and on July 20, 1939, he played for Italy one last time when he captained the team to a 3–2 win overFinland
. An important fact about Giuseppe Meazza’s international career is that he is the second highest goalscorer for Azzurri with 33 goals in 53 caps.
In Internazionale from the 1927-28 season to 1939-40, Giuseppe Meazza played in 408 matches and scored 284 times, and in two seasons from 1940 to 42, in 42 games for Milan, he managed to score 11 games.
Leaving Milan after fifteen years, Meazza joined Juventus for just a season, and played 27 games, scoring ten times. In 1944, he went to Varese and in a season he played in 20 games and scored seven times.
In Atalanta, he played in 14 games and scored two times in a season and after that he came back to Internazionale for his club career season, playing in 17 games and scoring two goals.
At international level, he played for Italy national team from 1930 to 1939. In 53 games, Meazza scored 33 games and still is the second highest scorer. His record stood until Gigi Riva tied and eventually broke it in 1973, also in a game against Brazil. Meazza was quoted to say: "That Riva is good, he scored a lot of goals againstCyprus
. Surely, my goals were much more important.”
A fact about Giuseppe Meazza is that he was born in August 1910 and died in August 1979, two days before his 69’s birthday. Meazza mainly played in Internazionale, winning three Serie A titles, as well as Coppa Italia. Also, he helped Italy win two consecutive world cups, in 1934 and 1938, as captain. He is one of the three Italians to have won two world cups.
Giuseppe Meazza is a FIFA Hall of Champions Inductee and Italian Football Hall of Fame Entrant. He was selected by IFFHS as the second best Italian player as one of the best 25 world players of the 20th century. Meazza still is the fourth top scorer in Serie A. As mentioned before, he also still is the second Italian highest scorer of Italy national team with 33 goals.
Meazza was the first Italian football player who became famous worldwide and was the first player with personal sponsors. He was famous for humiliating the best defenders of the era. In away games, the defenders would often foul and hack him to avoid being humiliated.
Giuseppe Meazza's body measurements
, it should be mentioned that there is no information on his body measurements, but he stands 1.69 m tall.
Serie A Top Goal-scorer: 1929–30, 1935–36, 1937–38
Mitropa Cup Top Goal-scorer: 1930, 1933, 1936
FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1938
Inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame (posthumous honour, 2011)
Inducted into the Walk of Fame of Italian sport: 2015
Inter Milan Hall of Fame: 2019
Giuseppe Meazza's Net Worth and Salary
, it should be mentioned that there is no valid information.