Wed 22 December 2021 | 14:30

Top Facts about Valentino Mazzola, the Best Torino No.10

Valentino Mazzola, a good-looking, extremely talented and diminutive number 10 striker is still considered by some to be the best Italian footballer of all time. In this article we are going to take a look at top facts about Valentino Mazzola.

In remembrance of the Torino players who died on 4 May 1949 at Superga Basilica plane crash, especially Valentino Mazzola.

Top Facts about Valentino Mazzola, the Best Torino No. 10

Valentino Mazzola was born on 26 January 1919 and passed away on 4 May 1949. He was an Italian football player who played as an attacking midfielder and forward.

One of the top facts about Valentino Mazzola is that he is regarded as one of the best number 10s in the history of football and, according to some experts, he is the best Italian football player of all time. Valentino Mazzola was the captain and symbol of the "Grande Torino", the team known as one of the strongest team in the world throughout the second half of the 1940s and Mazzola won five Serie A championships with the club. Mazzola was also captain of the Italy national team for two years.

He became famous during his spell at Venezia, where he played as a midfielder, a playing position he held throughout his professional career that allowed him to expand his reputation beyond Italy. In his later seasons, Mazzola was considered one of the greatest footballers in Europe in his position. Finally, Valentino died tragically at the age of 30 in the Superga air disaster.

Valentino Mazzola quick information

  • Date of birth:

     26 January, 1919

  • Place of birth:

     Cassano d'Adda

  • Citizenship:


  • Date of death:

     4 May, 1949 (At the age of 30)

  • Position:

     Left Winger, Centre foreward

  • Height:

     1,70 m

  • Former International:


  • Internationa games/Goals:


  • Children:

     Sandro Mazzola, Ferruccio Mazzola

  • Spouse:

     Giuseppina Cutrone (1949–1949), Emilia Ranaldi (1942–1946)

  • Grandchildren:

     Sandro Mazzola Jr., Valentina Mazzola, Ilaria Mazzola, Paolo Mazzola

Valentino Mazzola early life

On of the

tops fact about Valentino Mazzola

is that he was born in Cassano d'Adda, Ricetto, an area of abandoned homes to a very modest family. Valentino’s father, Alessandro, was a labourer for Azienda Torinese Mobilità and passed away in August 1940 in a crash with a truck. His mother's name was Leonina Ratti and his four brothers’ names were Piero, Silvio, Carlo and Stefano.

Valentino Mazzola had a troubled childhood. In 1929 his father was sacked from his work due to the Great Depression. To help his family, Valentino searched for work the next year, just as he ended the first year of grade school. He found a job as a baker's boy and at the age of 14, found a job in the linen mill at Cassano d'Adda.

In the summer of 1929, at the age of 10, Valentino threw himself into the river Adda to save the life of a four-year-old boy from drowning. The boy’s name was Andrea Bonomi, the future footballer and captain of Milan.

Valentino was a 


 supporter at a young age and he was nicknamed "Tulen" for his habit of kicking old tin cans: which Valentino would kick on his way between home and the linen mill. He played in a local team, the "Tresoldi" and was noticed by a football fan who worked as a test driver for the Alfa Romeo factory in Arese, who offered Valentino a place in the Alfa Romeo team and a career as a mechanic.

In 1939 Mazzola was called up to join military service in the Royal Navy, in the port of Venice. Valentino spent a few months on the ship, aboard the destroyer Confienza, and later moved to the Compagnia del Porto. In Venice he managed to get his primary school certificate, attending night school.

Valentino Mazzola, who considered himself a lonely person, led an isolated life, selecting football above all. Valentino’s amusement involved a few games of bowls near his home.

One of the top facts about Valentino Mazzola used to write down everything, both in regard to his private life and professional career. He was very severe and thorough and demanded the same behaviour from other people. It was the key reason for separation from his first wife, who did not want to live with her husband’s steady discipline anymore. Valentino Mazzola separated from his wife in autumn 1946 and got married again on 20 April 1949 with a 19-year-old lady, Giuseppina Cutrone. On 4 May 1949, just a few days after his second marriage, he passed away in the Superga air disaster. It is worth mentioning that as Mazzola thought he would die due to war or misfortune.

Valentino Mazzola club career

Early professional career

Though Valentino Mazzola started working at a young age, he continued to promote his desire for playing football. He became the leader of Tresoldi, the team of Cassano d'Adda, who saw him playing on the pitch and introduced him to their youth team in 1934.

For a short time, Mazzola moved to Fara d'Adda and then returned to Tresoldi. He played as a centre midfielder and right-sided midfielder, however he was already a multi-purpose footballer. He played with Tresoldi in his first season in 1935–36 season, and the next year he played for the first team, earning 10 lire per match.

In 1938, the same period when Alfa Romeo made him a proposal that included the option of playing in Serie C, Mazzola received a proposal from Milan, with the motivation to play in Serie A. He was very hesitant and chose Alfa Romeo as the car producer also guaranteed him a job.

Valentino Mazzola played one season at Alfa Romeo as a winger; but it is also said that he instead played as a right midfielder. He left the team in 1939, to join the military service in Venice.


In 1939, while Valentino Mazzola was spending his time at military service in the Navy, he played in several matches in the team of the Navy, putting on a good display, in spite of the fact that he weighed 90 kg.

A naval officer, who was a supporter of


, admired the talent of Mazzola and offered him to the Lagunari. At the training of the team, he showed up and played barefoot and left his boots intentionally at home not to ruin them. He persuaded everyone, particularly the manager Giuseppe Girani to buy him.

After he was a few months in the reserve team, he was hired on 1 January 1940 for 50,000 lire. He made his first appearance in Serie A on 31 March 1940, in a 1–0 loss away to Lazio, entering as a substitute for the center forward Francesco Pernigo, and preserved his place in the starting lineup on his own qualities.

Valentino Mazzola made appearance in all five of the remaining league matches, regularly in the middle of the attack, creating a goal on the second to last day against Bari, securing Venezia mathematical safety from relegation.

In a Coppa Italia round of 16, his team was defeated by Modena  3–1. Valentino Mazzola also scored his club's only goal.

One of the

top facts about Valentino Mazzola

is that during this time he met Ezio Loik for the first time. He had recently moved to the team from

A.C. Milan

. They both debuted together in the 1942 game in which Italy played against Croatia and won 4–0. Both were very dissimilar, though they came from very humble families.

Loik was silent and rather defensive, while Lombard Mazzola was much more impulsive and sociable. Loik did not like Valentino Mazzola at first occasion, taking his reserve for haughtiness, but both soon found a way of accepting each other.

The partnership of both attacking midfielders (called mezzala in Italian) was established on the Loik's persistent generosity and the Mazzola's exceptional aptitude. Soon, they became Italy's most popular uprising young football players.

Valentino Mazzola's professional career with Venezia began modestly, with a finish in the tenth placed in 1940 and a finish in the twelfth place in the next season. In 1941, nevertheless, his club won the Coppa Italia final against Roma, and finished third in the league in 1942.

Valentino Mazzola at Torino

One of the top facts about Valentino Mazzola is that in early July 1942, he transferred to 


 for one million and 250 thousand lira, a fee that was disapproved by the media, and permitted Venezia to restore all its debts. 

Juventus had an unwritten agreement with Venezia to sign Valentino Mazzola. However, Torino finally offered a record transfer fee plus two football players (Raúl Mezzadra and Walter Petron) and could sign the player. In the same contract, Torino also employed Ezio Loik.

Valentino Mazzola formally debuted for Torino on 20 September 1942, in a match in the Coppa Italia against Anconitana Bianchi. The game ended 7–0 for Torino, with two goals by Valentino Mazzola. On 4 October, he made his league debut for his new club.

In the first days at Torino, both Mazzola and Loik played poorly because of their inaccuracy and non-existence of understanding, and were considered responsible for the 1–0 loss Torino suffered in Milan against Ambrosiana-Inter.

Mazzola at first make an objection to the position he was played in for more than two months, in spite of the fact that the team began to put together a series of wins. He netted his first league goal for Torino on 18 October in a 5–2 victory over Juventus.

In April 1943, Valentino Mazzola scored three goals in the last four games of the season; while Torino and Livorno were head to head in first place. In the final round, Torino played against Bari, with Valentino scoring the decisive goal four minutes from the end of the game and Torino won scudetto. In the Coppa Italia, Torino reached the final match, with Mazzola netting in a 4–0 victory over his former team, Venezia.

In the middle of the Second World War, due to the fact that there was no prospect of a new season, Torino, whose name changed to Torino FIAT, only played friendly and minor unofficial tournaments.

Valentino Mazzola, unlike many of his teammates, who had returned to play with their home teams, stayed in Turin and, together with his other fellow players, and began to train and participate in some matches. In the unofficial 1944 Campionato Alta Italia, his club finished second to La Spezia.

After the competition ended in July 1944, Valentino Mazzola and his teammates played numerous games for charity. The Italian league restarted in 1945, and was characterised by the Campionato Alta Italia.

Valentino Mazzola contributed 16 goals to Torino's scudetto-winning team, with five braces; the first in the third match day when he netted twice against Sampierdarenese in Genoa.

In this season, Mazzola began rolling his sleeves up to mark the quarto d'ora granata ("the maroon quarter-hour") when the club wanted the extra push.

One of the top facts about Valentino Mazzola is that in the 1946–47 season, Mazzola was promoted to captain, and finished the season as the league best goal scorer with 29 goals. On 20 April 1946, Valentino Mazzola scored the fastest hat-trick in the history of Italian football, with three goals in three minutes against Vicenza. Mazzola and Loik constituted one of the best forward duos of Europe, with Torino winning their fourth Scudetto at the end of the season.

Valentino Mazzola continued his good form in the 1947–48 season, and after the first seven games he was top scorer with eight goals. On 5 October 1947, at the Stadio Nazionale in Rome, Torino finished the first half with 1–0 for the Giallorossi. in the second half, Torino netted seven goals in 25 minutes and Mazzola scored three the goals. However, he was forced to leave the field early, among the clapping of the entire stadium due to a thigh injury.

Valentino Mazzola’s physical injuries continued in the months of November and December, yet he continued to play, and he had repeated discontinuous performances.

On 23 May 1948, the game against Triestina in Trieste finished 0-0. Valentino Mazzola refused to pass the ball to his teammates, who showed irritation for his actions. There are various interpretations of this act. Besides the simple explanation that Valentino wanted to rest, as he was fatigued and stressed with injuries, there were also gossips that he wanted to end his presence at Torino and move to 

Inter Milan


Among other things, Torino continued to lift their fourth consecutive trophy five weeks before the end of the season. Mazzola netted the vital goal in a 4–3 victory over Lazio. Valentino Mazzola finished the season with 25 goals and became the second top goal scorer behind Giampiero Boniperti.

At the end of the season, Torino were asked to play four friendly games in Brazil by the Brazilian Football Confederation, while Mazzola before leaving Italy, on 29 June, declared in a radio interview his farewell to Torino, among the shock of the Torino fans.

Just a few days before the beginning of the new season, which was going to start on 19 September 1948, six Torino footballers, including Mazzola, did not return to training due to a contract disagreement.

Valentino Mazzola, included in the transfer list, missed the first match of the season against Pro Patria. Though, an agreement with the team was reached on 23 September, with Mazzola returning in a 3–2 defeat to Atalanta, in which he scored a goal. Mazzola also went on to net the winning goal in the derby against Juventus, and had a very good performance seven days later in a 3–1 victory at Padova, netting a goal and leading the club alone to victory. 

In early 1949, Valentino Mazzola had to cope with several muscular injuries which caused him to greatly reduce training and gain weight. In spite of the fact that he was not able to recover completely, he scored four successive goals between January and February. On 24 April, in the 33rd round, against Bari (1–1), Valentino Mazzola scored the final goal of his life.

On 30 April, in the match against Inter which resulted to a 0–0 draw at the San Siro, Mazzola, due to a strong sore throat with high fever and a form of angina, did not play in the game.

Valentino Mazzola last game

On 1 May 1949, one day after the match against Inter Milan, Torino flew to Lisbon to play in a friendly match against Benfica on 3 May. The game was organised by Mazzola as a farewell to the captain of the Portugal national team, Francisco Ferreira. It ended 4–3 for the Portuguese side.

The two players had previously met on 27 February, when Italy national team had beaten Portugal 4–1 in Genoa. Francisco Ferreira and Valentino Mazzola had met in a restaurant in the afternoon, and talked about the game that Benfica would dedicate to the Portuguese, with profits donated to charity.

Valentino Mazzola international career

Considering his international career, the top fact about Valentino Mazzola is that he made his debut for the national team on 5 April 1942, in a 4–0 friendly home victory over Croatia. Mazzola netted his first international goal on 19 April, in a 4–0 friendly home victory over Spain. Altogether, Mazzola played in 12 games with the Italy national team between 1942 and 1949 and netted 4 goals. He also served as the team's captain from 1947 to 1949.

Style of play

Valentino Mazzola is considered as one of the best footballers of all time, and perhaps the first modern talented football player; an experienced, adaptable, and meticulous footballer, he was skilled in playing in any position on the pitch, and was recognized for his resilient character and winning-mentality, as well as his aptitude to lead his teammates to triumph with his charismatic presence and guidance. Valentino Mazzola was well-known for raising his shirt's sleeves when his club was not playing well as a signal to his teammates and the supporters.

Valentino Mazzola was a speedy, resilient and active midfielder, with brilliant technical abilities and dribbling skills, as well as distinguished stamina, positional sense, vision, creativeness, and perfect shooting and passing capability with both feet.

Due to his tactical cleverness and many qualities, Mazzola was proficient in both scoring and creating goals for his team. He was also an exceptional playmaker, and highly considered for his skill of orchestrating his team's attacks.

Although Valentino Mazzola was commonly deployed as an attacking midfielder, he was also able of playing in more offensive positions, as a main forward, as a winger on either side, or as an inside or supporting forward.

In spite of his small physique, Mazzola was good in the air, due to his power, timing, heading precision, and elevation, which allowed him to beat larger footballers for the ball.

Though he was most well-known for his offensive and creative skills, Valentino Mazzola was also highly skilled defensively, often pressing and tackling opponents in order to win back possession, and was even capable of being deployed as a central midfielder, or as a defender.

Valentino Mazzola tragic death

In spite of suffering from disease, Valentino Mazzola was firm to attend the game he had organised for Torino in Lisbon in 1949. On 4 May, on the return flight from the game, the plane carrying Valentino Mazzola and the rest of the team crashed, killing everyone on board.

It was a troubled journey which began at 9 in the morning. Due to fog and very poor visibility, 31 people lost their lives; including the entire squad of Torino, in addition to the managers and journalists. The crash is called Superga air disaster.

Vittorio Pozzo, Italian football manager, recognised of the bodies, which took place late in the night. The funeral of Torino players, attended by over half a million people, was held on 6 May. The bodies were brought to Palazzo Madama, from where the march departed, continuing to the Duomo. On the same day the FIGC declared Torino champions of the 1948–49 season, four weeks before the end, agreeing on the suggestion of Inter, Milan and Juventus.

Valentino Mazzola personal life

A top fact about Valentino Mazzola regarding his personal life is that he married twice. First he got married with Emilia Ranaldi and after his first wife left him he married Giuseppina Cutrone. The story of his second marriage is controversial.

Valentino Mazzola tried to unite with Giuseppina Cutrone as early as February 1948 in Turin, without success due to the opposition of his first wife which led to two lawsuits, for which Mazzola paid out about five million lire.

Mazzola, in possession of a certificate of free status, turned to the Municipality of Turin to proceed with the publication of the new marriage with Giuseppina Cutrone, on which the public prosecutor vetoed, on the initiative of Emilia Ranaldi.

The footballer appealed to the court of appeal, which in April 1948 validated a Romanian court sentence without the need for a resolution by the Italian judiciary. Moreover, at the same time, the Milan Public Prosecutor filed a lawsuit with the Romanian court, so that this sentence was invalidated and, consequently, the cancellation of the transcription of the sentence of the Romanian court was ordered. It was at the end of March 1949, when Mazzola was still considered husband of Ranaldi in Italy.

The affair officially ended on 22 July 1949, eighty-nine days after Valentino Mazzola's death. Finally the second marriage was registered in the marital status of the city of Turin. At the time of his death, Mazzola was celibate.

Valentino Mazzola had two sons from his first marriage. Their names were Sandro and Ferruccio.

Valentino Mazzola elder son, Sandro

Sandro Mazzola was born in November 1942, a week after his father signed for Torino. He also became a football player who spent most of his professional career at Inter and was one of the best players of the Italy national team in late 1960s and early 1970s.

For Sandro, it was very difficult to accept the death of his father. After his parents divorced in 1946, it was Sandro’s father who raised and taught him the early art of playing football, including dribbling, striking and passing.

Later in life, Sandro told Gazzetta Dello Sport: “The basics are everything for a footballer. My father taught me the basics – for that I will always be in his debt. I built a career on the skills he taught me. I had to become a footballer. There was no option. I had to find peace on the pitch. We had little time together.”

Valentino Mazzola as "Veneziani"

In the Milan region, football players who insist on dribbling rather than passing are called "Veneziani" (Venetians). This is a reference to when Mazzola played for Venezia, as well as his desire for undertaking individual dribbling runs. José Altafini, a striker who won the 1958 World Cup with Brazil and also played for the Italian side, is called "Mazzola" in his home country because of his similarity to Valentino.

Valentino Mazzola as the champion of kindness

Valentino Mazzola was also a champion of generosity. At the age of ten he dived into water to save a friend, Andrea Bonomi, who was drowning. On the pitch he rolled up his sleeves to kick off the recovery of Toro (the quarter of an hour grenade). Although he was an attacker, he was skilled in playing in every position. Once he also played in goal, while their keeper, Bacigalupo was injured).

Valentino Mazzola; 3 goals in 3 minutes

One of the top facts about Valentino Mazzola is that he had an exceptional record: 3 goals in 3 minutes (29', 30' and 31') in the match against Vicenza, which ended 6-0, on 20 November 1942.

Valentino Mazzola Honours


  • Serie A in 1942–43, 1944–45, 1946–47, 1947–48, 1948–49

  • Coppa Italia in 1942–43


  • Coppa Italia in 1940–41


  • Seria A top goal scorer in 1946–47

  • Coppa Italia top goalscorer in 1942–43

  • Italian Football Hall of Fame (Posthumously) in 2012

  • Walk of Fame of Italian sport in 2015

  • Torino F.C. Hall of Fame in 2015


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