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Juan Alberto Schiaffino
Schiaffino e Rivera.jpg
Schiaffino (left) with Gianni Rivera in 1960
Personal information
Full name Juan Alberto Schiaffino Villano
Date of birth (1925-07-28)28 July 1925
Place of birth Montevideo, Uruguay
Date of death 13 November 2002(2002-11-13) (aged 77)
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Attacking Midfielder/Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1943–1954 Peñarol 227 (88)
1954–1960 Milan 149 (47)
1960–1962 Roma 39 (3)
Total 415 (138)
National team
1946–1954 Uruguay 21 (9)
1954–1958 Italy 4 (0)
Teams managed
1974–1975 Uruguay
1975–1976 Peñarol
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
1957–58 Associazione Calcio Milan
The A.C. Milan squad for the 1957–58 season. From left to right, standing: Reina, Galli, Fontana, Soldan, Lorenzo Buffon, Nils Liedholm, Juan Alberto Schiaffino, Radice, Bean; crouched: Beraldo, Grillo, Mariani, Cesare Maldini, Bergamaschi, Zannier, Francesco Zagatti, Cucchiaroni.

Juan Alberto "Pepe" Schiaffino Villano ( 28 July 1925 – 13 November 2002) was an Italian-Uruguayan football player who played as an attacking midfielder or forward. A highly skilful and creative playmaker, at club level, he played for CA Peñarol in Uruguay, and for A.C. Milan, and Roma in Italy. At international level, he won the 1950 FIFA World Cup with the Uruguayan national team, and also took part at the 1954 FIFA World Cup; he later also represented the Italy national football team.

He was ranked as the best Uruguayan footballer of all time by an IFFHS poll, and the 17th greatest player of the twentieth century.

Club career

Following his eight successful years in Peñarol in his native Uruguayan league, Schiaffino was purchased by Italian Serie A club A.C. Milan, for an at the time world record fee of 52 million Lire, in September 1954. He played 171 games with A.C. Milan and scored 60 goals, and participated in the 1958 European Cup Final, which Milan lost to Real Madrid 2–3 (aet). He was among the crucial offensive players in a Milan team that was dominated by foreign stars such as Nils Liedholm and Gunnar Nordahl. Schiaffino won three national championships with Milan, the victories being in 1955, 1957 and 1959. Schiaffino left in 1960 to join Roma, where he played out his career during two moderately successful seasons, in which Roma finished fifth in the standings.

International career

Schiaffino played for two national teams; first with the Uruguyan national team from 1946 to 1954, and later with the Italian national team from 1954 to 1958, courtesy of his paternal grandfather who was a Ligurian from the province of Genoa.

He obtained 21 caps with the Uruguyan national team, scoring nine goals, and four caps with the Italian national team.

Schiaffino participated actively in Uruguay's victory in the 1950 World Cup, scoring one goal in the final and beating Brazil in its own stadium, in what was called the Maracanazo. He also played in the 1954 World Cup, helping his nation to a fourth-place finish in the tournament.

Style of play

A tactically versatile player, with a slender physique, Schiaffino was usually deployed as a left-sided inside forward or second striker in the early part of his career, in particular with CA Peñarol and A.C. Milan, or as an attacking midfielder, although he was also capable of playing as a deep-lying playmaker in midfield, a role which he occupied more frequently as his career progressed. Schiaffino was renowned for his creative ability and for having a unique capacity to read the game, organise his teammates, orchestrate goalscoring opportunities, and dictate the tempo of his team's play in midfield, which made him a highly proficient playmaker and assist provider; as a footballer, he was best known for his excellent technical ability, passing range, intelligence, positional sense, leadership, and vision. A well-rounded and hard-working player, who is regarded by pundits as one of the greatest footballers of all time, in addition to his skill, elegance, and creativity on the ball, Schiaffino was also known for his defensive contribution and willingness to track back, put pressure on opponents, and challenge them for the ball, often with sliding tackles; his wide range of skills also enabled him to play as a sweeper with Roma in his later career.

Death

Schiaffino died on 13 November 2002. His remains are buried at the Cementerio del Buceo, Montevideo.

Honours

Club

Peñarol
Milan
  • Serie A: 1954–55, 1956–57, 1958–59
  • Latin Cup: 1956
Roma
  • Inter-Cities Fairs Cup: 1961

International

Uruguay

Individual

  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1950
  • IFFHS Uruguayan Player of the 20th Century
  • IFFHS South American Player of the 20th Century (6th place)
  • IFFHS Player of the 20th Century (17th place)
  • World Soccer: The 100 Greatest Footballers of All Time
  • A.C. Milan Hall of Fame
  • IFFHS Legends
  • FIFA World Cup Silver Ball (2nd Best Player): 1950
  • Latin Cup Top Goalscorer: 1956
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