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Top Facts about Francesco Toldo, the Great Italian Keeper

Mon 29 November 2021 | 8:30

Francesco Toldo is one of the greatest Italian goalkeepers in recent decades. He excelled in Euro 2000 and made a name for himself. In this article we are going to take a look at top facts about Francesco Toldo.

Francesco Toldo, who was born born in Padua on 2 December 1971, is an Italian retired football player who played as a goalkeeper. He is considered by pundits as one of the best goalkeepers of his generation.

In his professional career which spanned two full decades, he mostly played for 

Fiorentina

 and 

Inter Milan

 (eight and nine seasons separately), winning a total of 15 cups.

For the Italy national team, Toldo took part in five international tournaments, being a starter in UEFA Euro 2000, where he helped Italy reach the final match.

Top Facts about Francesco Toldo, the Great Italian Keeper

Francesco Toldo succeeded to win 5 league titles , 5 Italian Cups , 4 Italian Super Cups and a UEFA Champions League. Also he has won an Italian Serie C1 and a Serie B championship .

One of the top facts about Francesco Toldo  is that after winning the 1994 European Championship with Italy Under-21, he joined the senior national team, with which he took part in two FIFA World Cups (France 1998 and South Korea-Japan 2002) and three European Championships (England 1996, Belgium - Netherlands 2000 and Portugal 2004), totaling 28 appearances.

As Francesco Toldo played his best matches in the 2000 European Championship, in the same year he was awarded with the Oscar of football AIC as the best goalkeeper in Serie A. Also in 2000 he was placed 3rd in the IFFHS ranking of the best goalkeepers of the year and 14th in the ranking of the Ballon d'Or, a prize for which he was also nominated in 2003.

Now, we can take a look at top facts about Francesco Toldo.

Francesco Toldo at a glance

  • Date of birth:

    2 December, 1971

  • Place of birth:

     Padova, Italy

  • Age:

    49

  • Height:

    1,96 m

  • Citizenship:

     Italy

  • Position:

    Goalkeeper

  • Foot:

    Right

  • Player agent:

     Pasqualin D’Amico Partners

  • Current club:

     Retired

  • Rtirement:

    1 July, 2010

Contract expires: 

-

Social-Media:

Instagram

Club professinal career

Fiorentina

Francesco Toldo was Born in Padua, Veneto and began his professional career with A.C. Milan in 1990. He never played a game with the club, though, being loaned during his stint with the team, consecutively to Hellas Verona (1990–91), Trentino (1991–92), and Ravenna (1992–93).

One of the

top facts about Francesco Toldo

is that he joined Fiorentina in 1993, and became the Viola team's starter for eight seasons, helping the team win the Serie B trophy in his first season, and earn promotion to Serie A, later also lifting the Coppa Italia twice, the Supercoppa Italiana, and playing in one edition of the UEFA Champions League, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the 1996–97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. In 2000, Toldo was named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year for his performances. 

In June 2001, one year before Fiorentina challenged with economic failure, Francesco Toldo and Rui Costa were sold to Parma for a total of 140 billion lire (55 billion lire for Francesco Toldo; about €28.4 million in fixed exchange rate).

Fiorentina made a net profit in 2000–01 financial year, instead of a net loss. Though, both of them refused to join the club. Francesco Toldo himself would be the replacement of departing goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whom Francesco rejected to live under the expectation of. 

Finally, Francesco Toldo joined Inter Milan instead of Parma for the same payment; Parma signed Sébastien Frey from Inter instead of Toldo; Gianluigi Buffon joined

Juventus

from Parma; and 

Edwin van der Sar

 moved to Fulham from Juventus. 

Inter Milan

Throughout his first season with Inter Milan under coach Héctor Cúper, Francesco Toldo performed at a high level, reaching the semi-final of the UEFA Cup, and closely missing out on the Serie A trophy on the final week as Inter Milan threw away their lead by losing to Lazio, finally finishing the 2001–02 Serie A season in third place behind Juventus and Roma. 

Because of his reliability with the team, Francesco Toldo soon became a fan favourite and was noted for his loving and high-quality performances. The next season, Francesco was admired mainly for his saves against 

Valencia

 in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final, leading football pundits to nickname the Estadio El Madrigal "La Plaza de Toldo". During the match, Toldo was seen getting upset by teammate Luigi Di Biagio after an argument on the pitch. With his performances, Toldo helped Inter reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2002-03 season, losing out to the final winners and inter-city opponents A.C. Milan on away goals. 

One of the

top facts about Francesco Toldo

is that during the 2004–05 season, Francesco Toldo helped Inter Milan win the Coppa Italia, and he also reached the quarter finals of the Champions League, losing out to A.C. Milan once again, who went on to reach the final match. Francesco Toldo followed up this triumph with another Supercoppa Italiana trophy in 2005. Toldo was the number one goalkeeper for Inter Milan until the summer of 2005, when the Brazilian Júlio César relegated Francesco to the bench after he had elected to sit out team's summer friendly game tour of England.

Francesco Toldo temporarily regained first-choice position in February 2006, after his signing of a contract extension until June 2009 and a slip in form by Júlio César, not before reports linked him both to Palermo, A.C. Milan and Fiorentina.

Francesco Toldo made nine appearances for Inter Milan in Serie A during the 2005–06 season, where the club were awarded the title following Juventus's and Milan's participation in the 2006 Calciopoli scandal, also helping the team to win another Coppa Italia, as well as the 2006 Supercoppa Italiana.

Francesco Toldo also played in six Serie A matches for his club during the 2006–07 title-winning season. Francesco made eight appearances in all tournaments during the 2007–08 season, three of which were in Serie A, and the other five were in the Coppa Italia, where Inter reached the final match. Inter Milan lifted the Scudetto that season for the third consecutive time.

Toldo made seven appearances in all tournaments during the 2008–09 season, making three appearances in Serie A, three in the Coppa Italia, and one in the UEFA Champions League as the club lifted their fourth successive Serie A championship that year.

In April 2009, the 37-year-old Francesco, who still was backing up Júlio César, signed a further two-year extension to his link until the summer of 2011. 

In June 2010, it was told that Toldo would retire from football after winning a Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League treble during the 2009–10 season, since the team had also signed a new backup keeper, Luca Castellazzi. Finally, Francesco Toldo’s retirement was officially declared on 7 July via Inter Channel, the official club channel.

Francesco Toldo international career

One of the top facts about Francesco Toldo is that he was called up to Italy under-21 team. He made eight appearances for his national team between 1993 and 1994 and was especially a member of the side that lifted the 1994 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, making a decisive save in the semi-final shoot-out against hosts France.

Francesco Toldo played 28 times for Italy national team. His debut was on 8 October 1995, replacing 

Gianfranco Zola

 after Luca Bucci was sent off  in a 1–1 draw in Croatia for the UEFA Euro 1996 qualifiers. Francesco was picked up for the finals in England as a replacement.

In spite of the fact that he faced competition from prominent goalkeepers such as 

Gianluca Pagliuca

, Angelo Peruzzi, 

Christian Abbiati

, Luca Marchegiani, Francesco Antonioli and in particular Gianluigi Buffon, Francesco Toldo was chosen to start in Euro 2000 due to the fact that Buffon broke his hand in a friendly game against Norway just eight days before the start of competition.

Francesco Toldo was a crucial player at the tournament and helped his nation to a runner-up finish at Euro 2000. He kept three clean sheets, contributing to the elimination of both host teams, Belgium and the Netherlands, in the process.

During the semi-final match against hosts Netherlands, Francesco Toldo saved one penalty in regulation time, and stopped two more in the successful penalty shootout. Then he was named man of the match for his excellent performance.

In the final match, Italy was defeated 2–1 to the reigning world champions France after a David Trezeguet golden goal in the 103rd minute. Italy had been leading 1–0, but Sylvain Wiltord equalised in the final minute of additional time to send the match into extra time.

Francesco Toldo was named to the Team of the Tournament for his performances, also earning the third place in the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper Award. Following his successful European Championship appearance, Toldo played as a starter at the beginning of the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign; nevertheless, after Gianluigi Buffon recovered from the above-mentioned injury, was finally confirmed by Giovanni Trapattoni as Italy's number one goalkeeper.

Moreover, Francesco Toldo was an unused backup in Italy's 1998 World Cup, 2002 World Cup, and Euro 2004 team. After the latter tournament he declared his retirement from international football in 2004. His last appearance for his nation was held on 18 February 2004, in a 2–2 friendly draw against Czech Republic at the Stadio Renzo Barbera in Palermo.

Francesco Toldo after retirement

In 2010, after finishing his career as a football player, he entered the management position of Inter Milan, collaborating with the Inter Campus and Inter Forever projects.

On 29 August 2011 he became the goalkeeper coach of the Italy U-20 coached by former teammate Luigi Di Biagio.  In 2013 he followed Di Biagio with the same position in Italy U-21, the role he held until 2015.

Francesco Toldo style of play

Regarding his style of play, the top fact about Francesco Toldo is that after he played in several outfield positions in his youth career, Francesco was motivated to become a goalkeeper by his role model 

Dino Zoff

. Furthermore, he named Giovanni Galli as an influence.

A reliable and responsive keeper, with strong reactions, Francesco Toldo was also skilled with the ball at his feet. 

Though in his youth he did not particularly like facing penalties, he later made a name for himself as a penalty-saving expert during his professional career. Francesco Toldo also stood out for his tranquillity, character and mentality in goal. 

In spite of his large stature, and his resilient and impressive size, he was an outstanding shot-stopper, who was known for his aptitude to get to ground rapidly and simply to parry low shots; though, unusually for a keeper of his height, he was less effective at coming off his line to handle crosses and high balls.

Francesco Toldo at Euro 2000

As the first European Championships of the new millennium approached, Buffon was normally the first goalkeeper for the Italy national team. Francesco Toldo was going to be the third-choice and expecting nothing more than watching the games, with Peruzzi named as Buffon’s substitute. Yet, in no time, the latter surprised manager Dino Zoff by pulling out of the squad, reluctant to play second fiddle. This would prove to be a choice he would live to regret as, soon after, Buffon broke his hand in the Italy’s final friendly match against Norway, paving the way for Francesco to step into the attention.

Italy advanced to the knockout stage of Euro 2000 with maximum points, beating Belgium, Turkey and Sweden. A clean sheet in Brussels against Romania accompanied goals from Francesco Totti and Pippo Inzaghi, which set up a semi-final with the Netherlands, who had enjoyed the wave of their home support.

The match between Italy and the Netherlands of Euro 2000 is certainly one of the most unforgettable football matches of the last 3 decades. The Netherlands were eliminated on penalties for the fourth time in five major tournaments as Italy reached UEFA EURO 2000 final match against France.

The Amsterdam Arena was decorated in orange as Francesco Toldo and his defence confronted the best strikers of the tournament,

Patrick Kluivert

, Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars. Any hopes of an open semi-final were squashed just after the half-hour mark when 

Gianluca Zambrotta

 committed a foul on Boudewijn Zenden and got his second yellow card and were sent off. The Azzurri returned to type, packing the defence and putting Alessandro Del Piero into midfield, leaving Inzaghi alone at the front line.

It seemed that the Italian goal led a charmed life. Patrick Kluivert was pulled back by a anxious Nesta, which gifted the Netherlands a penalty kick. Frank de Boer shot the ball hard and low but Toldo could save it. He jumped up in celebration.

So Italy became more determined to keep the Netherlands at bay. In the second half, Edgar Davids was fouled just inside the box, giving the Netherlands their second penalty kick. This time, Kluivert took the ball and sent Toldo the wrong way but this time the post rescued the Italian keeper. More pressure led to more chances by the Dutch national team and Toldo needed to be at his best to save chances of Overmars, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and

Clarence Seedorf

.

Extra-time finally led to the almost unavoidable penalty shootout where showed his best and most memorable performance during his professional career. Dutch defender Paul Bosvelt came first for his nation with Luigi di Biagio already scored his penalty kick. Bosvelt kicked the ball down the middle of the goal. Toldo leapt forward and blocked the shot with his legs, maintaining Italy advantage. Italy converted their second penalty kick and Jaap Stam practically burnt his effort out of the stadium.

Self-reliance was high in the Italy camp, demonstrated by Totti’s panenka to give Italy a confidently undefeatable 3-0 lead. Then Kluivert left Toldo rooted as he was finally beaten from the spot at the fifth penalty of that day. 

Paolo Maldini

 wasted the chance to send the Azzurri to the final match as Edwin van der Sar saved his shot.

Frank de Boer tried to make up for his previous failure by converting the penalty in the shootout, knowing another miss would spell the end of the road for the Netherlands. This time de Boer chose the opposite corner to his earlier penalty but Francesco stretched low into his bottom right corner to save the ball and Toldo carried his team into the final match.

The Italian side could not repeat their success in the final amtch when an extra time golden goal from 

David Trezeguet

 gave France a 2-1 victory.

Francesco Toldo controversial goal

One of the great memories for Inter Milan fans was his influence on the equalising goal, scored by 

Christian Vieri

, in the last minute of a final 1–1 draw against their rivals Juventus in the 2002/03 season. At first it seemed that Toldo might have been the goal scorer instead of Vieri, and even today the goal is still often referred to as "Toldo's goal".

However, Francesco Toldo has insisted that it was him, and not his team-mate Christian Vieri that got the last touch on the quick last-gasp equaliser against Bianconeri.

In that game, Juventus seemed to have taken all three points with a late

Alessandro Del Piero

penalty, but a penalty area challenge at the other end saw Inter grab a 1-1 draw.

There is still enormous assumption about who got the finishing touch, but Francesco Toldo is clear on the matter.

In an interview, he told planet football with a laugh, “It does not matter what Vieri said; that is my goal. It was really funny; let me tell you, in that moment football went crazy.”

Francesco Toldo added that, “A goal from a keeper is always a nice moment and I do not think a goalkeeper has ever scored a goal so late in such an important game!”

“I wouldn't say it was the greatest emotion of my life-bearing in mind I once stopped three penalties against the Netherlands,” he said.

Toldo emphasised that, “This time it was an immediate rush, whereas against the Netherlands it built up with each spot kick. Inter coach

Hector Cuper

chose the diplomatic option when questioned as to who had scored.”

He quoted from Cuper, “It was a team goal, a move where everyone was in the area and the ball went in.”

“I still believed despite the 90th minute Del Piero penalty. The day I believe that a team of mine cannot score I will leave football. It was the will of the side that most impressed me last night,” he added.

Francesco Toldo continued to say that, “Marcello Lippi was also pleased with his Juve side after the game, and the return to action of key players blunted the disappointment of having three points snatched from his hands.”

“The personality of the side was great, and we also saw the return of Igor Tudor, Gianluca Zambrotta and

Antonio Conte

. This is more important than losing two points in the 95th minute,” the former goalkeeper told in the interview.

Toldo concluded that, “I will not comment on the fact that Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon thought he was fouled for their equaliser. Two weeks ago we got a decision that perhaps could have gone the other way against Parma and now it goes against us. I have always said that these things balance out by through the season.”

Francesco Toldo best save ever

One of the top facts about Francesco Toldo is that his save against Arsenal has been ranked as the 41th best save ever in Bleacherreport top 50 best saves. He saved the shot in the match between Fiorentina and Arsenal in 1999 UEFA Champions League.

Francesco Toldo personal life

Regarding the former keeper personal life, the top fact about Francesco Toldo is that he married to Manuela Pozza in 2000. The couple had started dating in 1999. They have two children, born respectively in 2001 and 2005.

Francesco Toldo honours

Fiorentina

  • Serie B in 1993–94

  • Coppa Italia in 1995–96, 2000–01

  • Supercoppa Italiana in 1996

Inter Milan

  • Serie A in 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10

  • Coppa Italia in 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10

  • Supercoppa Italiana in 2005, 2006, 2008

  • UEFA Champions League in 2009–10

Italy

  • UEFA European Championship Runner-up in 2000

Italy Under-21

  • UEFA European Under-21 Championship in 1994

Individual

  • Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year in 2000

  • UEFA European Championship All-Star-Team in 2000

  • ESM Team of the Year in 2001–02

  • ACF Fiorentina Hall of Fame in 2015

  • Fiorentina All-time XI

  • Inter Milan Hall of Fame in 2019

Orders

  • 5th Class / Knight: Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana in 2000

 

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