Gaetano Scirea

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Gaetano Scirea
File:Gaetano Scirea - Atalanta.jpg
Scirea in the early 1970s
Personal information
Full name Gaetano Scirea
Date of birth (1953-05-25)25 May 1953
Place of birth Cernusco s. N., Italy
Date of death 3 September 1989(1989-09-03) (aged 36)
Place of death Babsk, Poland
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Sweeper
Youth career
1970–1972 Atalanta
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1972–1974 Atalanta 58 (1)
1974–1988 Juventus 377 (24)
Total 435 (25)
National team
1975–1986 Italy 78 (2)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Gaetano Scirea (Italian pronunciation: [ɡaeˈtaːno ʃʃiˈrɛːa]; 25 May 1953 – 3 September 1989) was an Italian professional footballer who is considered one of the greatest defenders of all-time.[1][2][3]

Scirea is one of only five players in European football history to have won all international trophies for football clubs recognized by UEFA and FIFA. Scirea is also one of only nine players in the history of the European football that won all three major UEFA football competitions. He played for the Italian national team for more than a decade, during which he was an undisputed member of Italy's defensive line-up, keeping Franco Baresi out of the national team for four years, until he retired in 1986. Scirea became a World Champion with the 1982 FIFA World Cup winning team, which defeated Brazil 3–2 in the quarter-final match and Germany 3–1 in the final.[4]

Scirea was a defender of technical skill and tactical ability, gifted with pace, and an innate capacity to read the game.[5] In contrast to the ruthless tactics often employed by other defenders, including his paired partner, Claudio Gentile, Scirea was renowned for his class, fair play and sportsmanship. Scirea never earned a red card in his career.[3][6]

He played the sweeper, or libero, role for most of his career, and contributed to the development of the position, due to his vision and passing ability. Thus, in addition to aiding his team defensively, Scirea would detach himself from the defensive line and contribute to the attacking potential of his team, frequently being involved in the build-up of goals, and sometimes even scoring himself.[5] In the latter part of his career, as he lost his pace, Scirea played a more defensive central-defender role.[6]

He was married to Mariella Cavanna, an Italian politician; together they had a son, Riccardo.[7][8]


File:Gaetano Scirea - Atalanta 02.jpg
Gaetano Scirea training with Atalanta, early 1970s


Scirea was born at Cernusco sul Naviglio, in the province of Milan, but was of Sicilian origin.

Scirea made his Serie A debut for Atalanta against Cagliari on 24 September 1972. He remained with Atalanta for two seasons, before transferring to Juventus, with whom he would stay until the end of his playing career. In all he made 397 appearances in Serie A, scoring 24 goals. Scirea saw great success with Juventus, playing alongside Antonio Cabrini, and the hard-hitting Claudio Gentile, as well as goalkeeper Dino Zoff. He managed the impressive feat of winning every UEFA Club and domestic competition during his time at the club (7 Serie A titles, 2 Italian Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, 1 Cup Winners' Cup, 1 European Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup, and 1 Intercontinental Cup).[6]

It has been said[by whom?] that because Scirea was so quietly effective in his position on the field and so quiet in general off the field he did not win as many personal honours throughout the years as other more outspoken and media-friendly players during that time. It was only after his retirement that the wider audience realized and appreciated his fantastic importance to the cause of Juventus and the Italy national football team.

He retired from club football at the end of the 1987–88 season.[5] He took up the role of scout at Juventus,[5] later working as a coach.[8]


Scirea debuted with the Italian national team on 30 December 1975, against Greece. He immediately became an irreplaceable[clarification needed] pillar of the team managed by Enzo Bearzot, and played in three World Cups, and one European Championship on home soil in 1980, where Italy finished in fourth place after reaching the semi-final, and Scirea was named part of the team of the tournament.[9] Scirea, alongside clubmates Antonio Cabrini and Claudio Gentile, centre backs Giuseppe Bergomi and Franco Baresi and goalkeeper Dino Zoff, formed the defensive backbone of perhaps the strongest Italian side of the post-war period as the Azzurri dominated international and club football during the late 1970s to early 1980s. Scirea impressed in the 1978 World Cup where Italy finished in fourth place. At the 1982 World Cup, after a quiet start in the first round group stage, Italy beat Argentina and then Brazil in the second round, later overcoming Poland 2–0 in the semi-final. A 3–1 victory over West Germany in the final earned Scirea a lasting place in World Cup history. By 1986 World Cup, however, the team was in transition, and went out to France in the second round. This was to be Scirea's last match for Italy, having won 78 caps and scored 2 goals.[6][10]


In summer 1989 Scirea visited Poland as an observer to watch Górnik Zabrze, against which Juventus was to play in the UEFA Cup. On 3 September 1989 a car carrying him collided head-on with a truck near Babsk. The car carried four canisters of gasoline in the trunk (a common practice in Poland at that time due to frequent gas shortages), which exploded upon impact, killing Scirea and two of three other passengers.[6]


Due to his own defensive skill and sportsmanship, Scirea's name has become attached to various youth tournaments and fair-play awards as a role model for sportsmanship and sporting excellence, including the Premio Nazionale Carriera Esemplare "Gaetano Scirea", which is awarded to a legendary Serie A footballer for their career achievements, talent, and personality.[8][11] In 2005, former Italian national team coach Enzo Bearzot proposed the retirement of the jersey number six of that national team and Juventus in recognition of Scirea's career.[12] The south stand in Juventus' home ground Juventus Stadium, as well as the one in the former Stadio delle Alpi, is known as the Curva Scirea and it is occupied by the Juventus Ultras.



See also


  1. FIFA World Cup: Gaetano
  2. In memory of; 3 September 2006
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Planet World Cup: Gaetano Scirea (Italy)". Retrieved 31 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Remembering Scirea, Juve's sweeper supreme". FIFA. Retrieved 22 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Stefano Bedeschi (25 May 2013). "Gli eroi in bianconero: Gaetano SCIREA". (in Italian). Retrieved 13 April 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "Gaetano Scirea Campione di semplicità" (in Italian). Retrieved 31 December 2014.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Gaetano Scirea, 25 anni fa moriva un campione simbolo". (in Italian). Il Corriere della Sera. 4 September 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Vanni Zagnoli (3 September 2014). "Venticinque anni fa moriva Scirea la moglie Mariella lo ricorda in silenzio". (in Italian). Il Messaggero. Retrieved 22 April 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 "UEFA Euro 1980 team of the tournament". UEFA. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Nazionale in cifre: Scirea, Gaetano". (in Italian). FIGC. Retrieved 22 April 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Luigi Ferrajolo. "Premio Nazionale Carriera Esemplare "Gaetano Scirea"". (in Italian). Retrieved 13 April 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. (Italian) Article "We withdraw the number six: Scirea is inimitable". Retrieved 28 January 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "New Members in the Italian Football Hall of Fame". 3 December 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Giuseppe Furino
Juventus F.C. captains
Succeeded by
Sergio Brio