Top facts about José Altafini, Mazzola

Wed 20 October 2021 | 13:00

Only a few Brazilians moved out of the country to play in Europe in the 50s and 60s and the only one to make a name for himself was the beloved Brazilian, Jose Altafini. He is one of the greatest players in the history of Serie A and an agile goal-scorer. Read on to find out more facts about José Altafini, the biggest rival of Pele.

José Joo Altafini (born 24 July 1938) is an Italian-Brazilian retired footballer who featured as a striker. He was nicknamed "Mazzola" in Brazil because he resembled Italian great Valentino Mazzola when he first began playing.

José Altafini’s age

is 83. Here you can find out the most important facts about José Altafini, the former legendary player.

The first fact about José Altafini is that he began his career in Brazil with Palmeiras, but he soon moved to Italy to perform soccer, and is best known for his extremely successful stint with

AC Milan

, with whom he made excellent domestic & global achievement; he later also did play for


and Juventus, before finishing his professional life in Switzerland with spells at Chiasso and Mendrisiostar.

Altafini was a prolific striker who held the record for most goals recorded in a single European Cup campaign for almost 50 years, and he is one of just eight individuals in European Cup history to score five goals in a single match. He is the joint-fourth best goal scorer in Italian Serie A history (together with Giuseppe Meazza) with 216 goals.

He is also the fifth-youngest player in Serie A history to achieve 100 goals, a milestone he accomplished at the age of 24 years and 239 days. He played for both Brazil and Italy at the international level; he was a part of the Brazilian team that claimed the 1958 FIFA World Cup, and he subsequently played for Italy in the 1962 FIFA World Cup.

An important fact about José Altafini is that he was a well-rounded attacker with an eye for goal, who was fast, skillful, and strong. He was considered as one of the finest and most complete attackers of his time, as well as one of Serie A's and Milan's finest ever performers.

Altafini is now a well-known football analyst for SKY Italia on Italian television and a radio commentator for RTL 102.5 in Italy. In Italy, he also serves as a supplementary commentator for Pro Evolution Soccer video games.

He is well-known in Italy as a commentator for coining the term "golaço" (or the Italianized "golazzo") whenever a significant goal is scored, as well as his famous cry "incredible, amici!" ("Amazing, friends!").

Top facts about José Altafini:

In the 1950s and 1960s, few Brazilians left the nation to play in Europe. Among the few, the adored Brazilian 'Mazzola' was the only one to establish a name for himself. Jose Altafini began his professional career at Palmeiras.

José Altafini early life

Altafini was born on July 24, 1938, in Piracicaba, a city in the Brazilian state of So Paulo with a significant Italian population, mainly from Trentino Alto Adige, where definite dialects are still spoken.

Speaking about

José Altafini’s parents

it should be mentioned that he was born into an Italian working-class family, to Gioacchino Altafini and Maria Marchesoni, with his mom being from Caldonazzo (Trentino), allowing him to acquire Italian citizenship.

José's father labored in a sugar mill, while his mother was a rich family's housemaid. Regarding

José Altafini’s childhood

, it is worth mentioning that he started playing football for his city's youth team, the XV de Novembro Sporting Club, when he was 16 years old. Due to his physical similarity to famous Italian attacking midfielder Valentino Mazzola, he acquired the moniker "Mazzola" during this period.

José Altafini personal life

José Altafini married Eleana D'Addio, in 1959, with whom he had two daughters: Patricia, married to journalist and writer Pedro Oswaldo Nastri, and Cristina, married to Salvatore Marco Pulvirenti. Both were born in Milan, Italy, and reside in Brazil. In the late 1960s, he starred in a case of adultery when he became involved with the wife of Napoli's teammate Paolo Barison.

José Altafini professional career

José Altafini represented both his birthplace of Brazil and his ancestral home of Italy. This was in addition to a string of Serie A clubs including AC Milan, Napoli and


, with phenomenal success.

Despite making his debut at the tender age of 17, Altafini became an instant star with the Sao Paulo based club and was sought after throughout Europe.

José Altafini club career

A notable fact about José Altafini is that he started playing for the Italian-Brazilian So Paulo club Palmeiras' youth team at the age of 17, first as an attacking midfielder or winger before being transferred to a more offensive role as a striker.


An important

fact about José Altafini

is that he earned his bow for the Italian-Brazilian Palmeiras squad in So Paulo on January 29, 1956, netting a brace on his debut and became the club's youngest goalscorer at the age of 17, a record that still holds today.

He was a member of the Brazilian club for two years (1956 and 1957), scoring 32 goals in 63 competitive matches and 89 goals in 114 matches that included semi-official and friendly games. With 0.74 goals per game, he has the sixth highest goalscoring ratio of any Palmeiras player.

He scored all five goals in Palmeiras' 5–0 victory against Noroeste on June 9, 1957, which is a joint-club record for the most goals scored by a single player in a Palmeiras match.

Altafini scored two goals in the Torneio Rio-Sa Paulo on March 6, 1958, against the famous Santos squad of


, Pepe, and Zito. Despite his goals, Altafini was a key figure in the game, which concluded in a 7–6 victory for Santos.

AC Milan

After the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, Altafini joined AC Milan; his skill and attacking potential were recognized by Milan's representatives during several friendly matches in Italy versus Inter and Fiorentina in preparations for the forthcoming championship, in which Altafini netted. Prior to the World Cup in Sweden, he was acquired by the Italian club for 135 million Lire.

An important

fact about José Altafini

is that he made his scoreless Milan debut on September 21, 1958, at the age of 20, and in his first period, he did play 32 matches and managed to score 28 goals, winning the 1958–59 Serie A title and illustrating his goalscoring capabilities; he also scored four goals in four Coppa Italia appearances, totaling 32 goals in 36 appearances in all competitions that season.

On the 5th of October, he scored his first league goal in a victory against Bari. Altafini was the leading scorer in the 1960–61 Coppa Italia, with four goals, despite Milan's failure to go beyond the second round.

In the Milan derby against local rivals Inter on March 27, 1960, he scored four goals in a 5–3 win for Milan. Milan finished third and second in the next two seasons, with Altafini continuing to score 20 goals each season.

He also scored four goals against Juventus on November 12, 1961, as Milan won the Serie A championship for the second time in the 1961–62 season, with Altafini and Aurelio Milani being equal top scorers with 22 goals in 33 games. Altafini netted two goals versus


in the 1963 European Cup Final to give Milan their first European title.

The match ended 2–1, and Altafini was named the competition's best scorer with 14 goals, a record that was only surpassed by

Cristiano Ronaldo

in the 2013–14 season, when he scored 17 goals.

An important fact about José Altafini is that he scored five goals in a single match in the tournament in Milan's 5–0 victory over l'Union Luxembourg, a record he shares with eight other players, including

Lionel Messi


Following a 6–6 tie on aggregate, Milan were beaten 1–0 by Pelé's Santos in the 1963 Intercontinental Cup final in a play-off match; Altafini scored one goal in the tournament, in Milan's 4–2 second leg loss. Altafini's achievements earned him nominations for the Ballon d'Or honors in 1963 and 1964, when he finished 11th and 16th, respectively.

During his following several seasons at Milan, his appearances were increasingly restricted as the team went trophy-less, finishing second behind Inter in the 1964–65 season. Altafini won two Serie A championships and a European Cup during his seven seasons at Milan, as well as the top goalscoring honors in Serie A, the Coppa Italia, and the European Cup.


Due to his differences with Amarildo and Paolo Ferrario at Milan, Altafini joined Napoli in 1965, where he established a famous offensive combination with Italo-Argentine offensive playmaker Omar Sivori, who had previously played for Italy at the 1962 World Cup in Chile.

A notable

fact about José Altafini

is that he was with the club for seven years, from 1972 to 1974. Altafini scored an incredible goal from a bicycle kick in a 2–2 home draw against Torino on December 31, 1967, a "golaço" that made him very famous among Napoli supporters.

During his tenure with the club, he helped Napoli fight for the championship on a regular basis, and he was able to lead them to their best ever Serie A result, placing second behind his old team Milan in the 1967–68 season. He was also the second top scorers in Serie A that season. In 1966 and 1971, he also assisted them in finishing third.

Altafini also led Napoli reach the 1971–72 Coppa Italia final, but they were beaten 2–0 by his former team, Milan, during that season. Despite his importance to the club's history, Altafini only won one minor title during his tenure at Napoli, the Coppa delle Alpi, in 1966–67.


An important fact about José Altafini is that he joined Juventus after his stint at Napoli, along with his old Napoli colleague and goalkeeping great Dino Zoff. Altafini was instrumental in helping Juventus win two additional Serie A championships during the 1972–73 and 1974–75 seasons, despite his advanced age, which frequently forced him to play as a substitute.

Before their last match of the season against Roma in 1972–73, Juventus was a point behind Milan, who were topping the Serie A standings. At halftime, Juventus were down a goal, but Altafini equalized (his tenth of the season) before Antonello Cuccureddu scored the game-winner late on. Milan were beaten in Verona, and Juventus won the Serie A championship as a result of their win.

His goal against his old team, Napoli, in the 1974–75 season, at the age of 37, was another of his most memorable moments throughout his Juventus career.

Altafini came off the bench a few minutes before the conclusion of the match, scoring the match winner in the 88th minute, leading Juventus to a 2–1 victory, allowing them to extend their advantage over Napoli and win the championship; Altafini scored 8 goals in 20 games that season.

A banner with the words "José core 'ngrato" was put on one of the San Paolo stadium's gates a few days after the match, commemorating the fact that Altafini had previously played for the Neapolitan club.

In 1973, he also scored a goal in the quarter-finals of the European Cup versus jpesti Dózsa and two goals in the semi-final against Derby County, helping Juventus to a Coppa Italia and a European Cup Final. Despite winning the league in 1973, Juventus barely missed out on a triple by losing both cup finals.

Altafini's old team, Milan, beat them on penalties in the Coppa Italia final, while Juventus were overcame by Ajax in the European Cup final.

During the 1973–74 campaign, Juventus remained trophyless, despite Altafini's 7 goals in 21 games; however, in his last season, Altafini only made 10 appearances as Juventus finished second behind local rivals Torino, and Altafini chose to quit Serie A after 18 years in Italy.

A notable fact about José Altafini is that he had completed 459 matches in Serie A and scored 216 goals by the time he departed Juventus at the age of 38 in 1976, but he had netted the majority of these goals in the early part of his career. He only netted 53 goals in his final eight years in Italy, compared to 134 in his first eight.

Along with Giuseppe Meazza, he is the fourth highest goalscorer in Serie A history, behind only Silvio Piola, Totti, and Nordahl. He also has the second-most Serie A appearances of any non-Italian born footballer, behind only

Javier Zanetti


Later career and retirement in Switzerland

An important fact about José Altafini is that he temporarily featured in the National Soccer League with Toronto Italia after departing Italy in 1976, appearing in the 1976 CONCACAF Champions' Cup.

He then spent four years in Switzerland, playing in the second level for FC Chiasso and winning promotion to the Super League due to his goals, scoring 14 in 26 league games in his debut season.

After a 25-year professional football career, he went on to play for Mendrisiostar, another club in the Swiss second level, until resigning at the age of 42 in 1980.

José Altafini international career

Altafini made his international debut for Brazil on June 16, 1957, at the age of 18 and 327 days, scoring his first goal in a 3–0 friendly win against



He assisted Brazil in winning the Copa Roca against Argentina on the 7th and 10th of July, scoring a goal with newcomer Pelé.

At the age of 19, Altafini, then known as Mazzola, was a part of the Brazil side that captured the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden, and was the second youngest part of the team behind Pelé.

 He had a solid start to the tourney, scoring two goals in Brazil's 3–0 win over Austria on June 8, but he was wounded three days later in the second group match against


, which ended in a 0–0 draw, and he missed the final group match against the Soviet Union on June 15, which Brazil won 2–0.

On June 19, he returned to the starting lineup in the quarter-final encounter against Wales, putting up a great performance and assisting Pelé on the game's lone goal. However, he was replaced by Vavá in the semi-final victory over France (5–2) on June 24, and manager Vicente Feola also left him out of the team that would win the World Cup in the final against hosts Sweden on June 29 after a 5–2 triumph.

He did, however, play for Italy under his own name in the 1962 FIFA World Cup, saying, "It was quite easy, back then Brazil never called on players who were stationed abroad." Never.

I was just 23 or 24 years old at the time, and missing a World Cup would have been devastating. It wasn't me who decided to leave Brazil. Brazil was the one who took me away." He scored four goals in eight appearances for the Brazilian national team.

Altafini made his Italy debut in a play-off versus Israel for a spot in the 1962 FIFA World Cup on October 15, 1961. He scored in a 4–2 win in Ramat Gan, and he also played in the second leg as the Italians qualified for the competition.

He scored two braces in friendly victories against




before to the World Cup. Altafini appeared in the 1962 World Cup's first two group matches, against West Germany and Chile, as Italy was ousted in the first round.

Despite the fact that he was just 24, he was not called up for Italy again after the country's dismal World Cup campaign, and he was chastised throughout the tournament for avoiding physical confrontations and giving up possession too readily. Altafini scored five goals in six games for Italy, increasing his overall international record to nine goals in 14 matches.

José Altafini style of play

Altafini was a complete striker with excellent skills, quick feet, and an eye for goal, who was swift, nimble, and physically powerful, and was regarded as one of the greatest attackers of his time.

He was blessed with great control, skill, flair, and dribbling ability, as well as being a very creative player, having begun his career as an attacking midfielder or winger before being moved to a more offensive position as a center-forward.

Due to his strong, precise shot and ability to make offensive runs, as well as his intellect and natural opportunism within the penalty box, he established a reputation for himself as a prolific striker during his career.

José Altafini in media

After retiring from football, Altafini became a well-known football pundit in Italy, where he created the phrase golazzo, a translation of the Portuguese word golaço, which approximately translates to "big goal" in English; however, it is not an Italian word.

The beginning and end of Channel 4's Football Italia included a sound clip of him using the phrase while commentating. Altafini is played by Mexican actor Diego Boneta in the biographical film Pelé: Birth of a Legend.

Altafini also co-wrote 2 books: Incredibile amici! and Incredibile amici! Along with Pierluigi Pardo and Futebol e Alegria, I wrote Il mio manuale del calcio. Characters, facts, and anecdotes from my football career, including Maurizio Barberis.

José Altafini legacy

Jose Altafini etched his name into the history books of two of the world's most successful football countries. Altafini was one of the most well-known ‘Oriundi,' representing both his birthplace, Brazil, and his ancestral country, Italy. This was in addition to a series of Serie A success stories, including AC Milan, Napoli, and Juventus.

The dual-capped great captivated the imagination of millions of fans across the globe during a career that saw him win the World Cup, European Cup, Serie A, and Coppa Italia.

Altafini will be eternally linked with the European Cup, despite numerous league victories. His 14 goals in the 1963-64 tournament, including a brace in the final, were a testimony to the inside forward's skill and a record that lasted until Cristiano Ronaldo broke it 50 years later.

Altafini had a spectacular career with the Rossoneri, with the cutting edge and prolific finishing that saw him finish as the club's leading scorer in each of the next five seasons. In all but one of his first six seasons at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, he scored at least 20 goals, and he scored more than 30 times.

Altafini's talent was recognized throughout his career, with his name appearing in the Serie A, Coppa Italia, and European Cup record books. Only Silvio Piola, Francesco Totti, and Gunnar Nordahl have scored more than 216 Serie A goals, while Javier Zanetti is the only non-Italian born player to appear in more than the 459 matches Altafini did.

Altafini stayed in the Italian game after retiring, becoming a renowned commentator and coining the word "golasso" to describe a miraculous goal in his home language of Portuguese.

Jose Altafini was a genuine icon of calcio when his 18-year career in Serie A came to an end, with a trophy cabinet that included four Scudetti, a European Cup, a World Cup, and best goal scorer honors for both Serie A and the European Cup.

Some quick facts about Jose Altafini:

A notable fact about José Altafini is that he only played for two seasons and scored 89 goals in 114 games. At the age of 17, he scored a brace on his debut and was considered Brazil's second-best potential behind Pele. His goal-scoring prowess had already won him a worldwide reputation. He was dubbed Pele's "Biggest Rival."

The 1958 World Cup was the grandest stage of them all, with the ultimate goal of proving who was the best. Altafini, on the other hand, did not compete in the 1958 World Cup.

While Pele started four games, Altafini only got two starts despite his outstanding efforts. But, before the World Cup, Altafini received an offer from Milan, and he chose to leave the nation for European football.

His first season at Milan was nothing short of a dream come true. He started 36 games and scored 32 goals! Everyone was taken aback by the sight of such a goal-scoring machine. He aided them in winning the Serie A championship. He also got his Italian citizenship since his mother was Italian.

Altafini continued to score 20 goals in the following seasons, and in 1961-62, he helped Milan win the Serie A championship for the second time. Though his club performances were outstanding, his international performances with Italy drew a lot of criticism. He failed because he was unable to adapt to the Italian style of international play.

An important fact about José Altafini is that he joined Juventus in 1972 and stayed for four years before moving to Toronto Italia in Canada for a season. He then spent three seasons with Swiss team Chiasso, where he helped them win promotion to the top flight of Swiss football. His 25-year football career came to an end in his last year with Mendrisiostar.

Altafini was a lightning-quick, nimble-footed goal striker. He was imaginative and had great vision. As a result, he evolved into a center-forward rather than a great striker.

He possessed outstanding ball handling and dribbling abilities. He was a consistent scorer because of his aggressiveness and precision. He was a skilled player with a high level of technique. He now has the fourth-highest goal-scoring record in Serie A.

José Altafini social media


José Altafini social media

, it should be mentioned that he does not have any pages on any social media platforms.

José Altafini body measurements

Speaking about

José Altafini body measurements

, it should be mentioned that the former star is 176 cm and 77 kg.

José Altafini net worth and salary

Jose Altafini's net worth

is believed to be between $8 million and $9 million dollars. From his main profession as a soccer player, he has amassed a substantial fortune. Aside from that, he worked in other Media and has gained considerable wealth by that.

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