In a touching tribute, football journalist Luigi Garlando has penned a homage in La Gazzetta dello Sport to the revered figures from the world of football that we’ve lost in 2023. The long list elucidates the depth of feeling shared by many supporters, recognising the contribution of each individual not only to the sport itself but also to the lives of those they’ve touched.
Ernesto Castano, the man who gifted Juventus three league titles and as many menisci, is revered in this homage. So too are the likes of Gianluca Vialli, whom Garlando notes “taught us that even the worst possible enemy, death, must be treated with respect.”
Despite controversies, Carlo Tavecchio has been acknowledged for his contribution to the women’s game by connecting it to major clubs. Also mentioned are Vito Chimenti, renowned for his bicycle plays; Ilario Castagner, the coach of the “Miraculous Perugia” undefeated in 1979, Sergio “Bobo” Gori, a title winner with Inter, Cagliari and Juventus, and Italo Galbiati, a shared force with Fabio Capello.
Silvio Berlusconi, who made his mark not only in football but also in shaping its captivating philosophy, is honoured. Lazio’s die-hard Vincenzo D’Amico, someone who could make even Berlusconi fall in love with his inventive football, is remembered fondly. Luisito Suarez, iconically equated by Garlando to Roberto Vecchioni’s “Luci a San Siro”, has his stellar football career celebrated.
Tribute is also paid to Carlo Mazzone who, according to Garlando, “taught his colleagues not to fear the shadow of champions who indeed adored him (Baggio).” Giovanni Lodetti, whose hard work allowed Rivera to polish his class, is admired; as is Aldo Bet, a “[defender] reared in Inter of the Wizard, won the star in Milan of Liedholm”. Finally, Antonio Juliano, Napoli’s emblematic figure who as a executive gifted the city and its adoring fans with the arrival of Diego Armando Maradona, is fondly remembered.
Garlando endears us to these football heroes, reminding us that they “live in the memory and in what they have taught us,” and ensuring that their influence in the football world will never be forgotten.