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Roberto Boninsegna
Roberto Boninsegna - Rotterdam, 1974 (cropped).jpg
Boninsegna in Rotterdam, 1974
Personal information
Full name Roberto Boninsegna
Date of birth (1943-11-13) 13 November 1943 (age 79)
Place of birth Mantua, Italy
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
Inter Milan
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1963–1964 Prato 22 (1)
1964–1965 Potenza 32 (9)
1965–1966 Varese 28 (5)
1966–1969 Cagliari 83 (23)
1967 → Chicago Mustangs (American tour) 9 (10)
1969–1976 Inter Milan 197 (113)
1976–1979 Juventus 58 (22)
1979–1980 Verona 14 (3)
Total 443 (186)
National team
1967–1974 Italy 22 (9)
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Roberto Boninsegna (Italian pronunciation: [roˈbɛrto ˌboninˈseɲɲa, ˌbɔ-] born 13 November 1943) is an Italian former football player, who mainly played as a forward. After retiring, he worked as a football manager. As a player, he represented the Italian national side at two World Cups, reaching the final in 1970.

Club career

Born at Mantua, Boninsegna started his career in Serie B (the second tier of Italian professional football) with Prato in 1963–64 season. He transferred to Potenza, who was Serie B team in 1964–65 season. He also played for Varese in 1965–66 and Cagliari between 1966 and 1969, helping the club to a second-place finish during the 1968–69 Serie A season alongside Luigi Riva. During the summer of 1967, Cagliari came to the United States to play in the North American Soccer League as the Chicago Mustangs; Boninsegna led the club in scoring with 11 goals in nine matches. Boninsegna gained a status as an efficient striker with Internazionale Milano F.C. and the Italian national football team in the 1970s, playing alongside Sandro Mazzola. In Serie A, he totaled 171 goals in 281 games, and was top goalscorer in Italy during the 1970–71 and 1971–72 Serie A seasons, with Inter.

Roberto Boninsegna - 1960s - US Cagliari
Boninsegna scoring for Cagliari in the late 1960s

After moving to Inter in 1969, he also won the 1970–71 Serie A title with the club, and reached the 1972 European Cup Final, only to be defeated by Ajax. He transferred to Juventus F.C. in 1976 in exchange for Pietro Anastasi, and he played 3 seasons for the club, winning two Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia, and an UEFA Cup. After leaving Juventus in 1979, he finished his career with Verona, retiring from professional football at the end of the 1979–80 Serie B season.

International career

Boninsegna made his debut for Italy on 18 November 1967, in an away UEFA Euro 1968 qualifying match against Switzerland, which ended 2–2, although he was not called up for the final tournament, which Italy ended up winning on home soil under manager Ferruccio Valcareggi, with whom he would have several disagreements throughout his international career. With the national side, he took part in two World Cups, the first in 1970, and the second in 1974. In total, he managed 9 goals for Italy in 22 appearances.

Boninsegna was a member of the Italian side that reached the final of the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, scoring two goals throughout the tournament. In the epic semi-final match against West-Germany, he scored a goal, and later set up Gianni Rivera's match-winning goal in extra time, which allowed Italy to advance to the final after a 4–3 victory. He scored Italy's only goal (though at the time it was an important equaliser) in the final against Brazil, which Italy ultimately lost 4–1; he came off for Rivera in the final minutes of the game.

Style of play

Morini Boninsegna 1973-74
Boninsegna (right) playing for Inter Milan in 1974 against his iconic rival, the juventino and future teammate Francesco Morini.

As a player, Boninsegna was a powerful, agile and acrobatic striker, who was known for his accurate finishing ability and intelligence in the penalty area. He was a prolific goalscorer, who excelled in the air, despite not being particularly tall or imposing physically. He was also gifted with pace, stamina, technical ability, opportunism and outstanding consistency, which enabled him to become one of the top Italian forwards of his generation. Because of his jumping ability and his power and accuracy with his head, the Italian sports journalist Gianni Brera gave him the nickname "Bonimba". Despite his talent, he was criticised on occasion for being a selfish player, although he was also capable of creating chances for teammates. He was also well known for his on the field rivalry with Juventus defender Francesco Morini, who later became his teammate.

Career statistics


Season Club League
Competition Games Goals
1963–64 Prato Lega Calcio Serie B 22 1
1964–65 Potenza Lega Calcio Serie B 32 9
1965–66 Varese Serie A 28 5
1966–67 Cagliari Serie A 34 9
summer 1967 Chicago Mustangs United Soccer Association 9 10
1967–68 Cagliari Serie A 19 5
1968–69 Serie A 30 9
1969–70 Internazionale Serie A 30 13
1970–71 Serie A 28 24
1971–72 Serie A 28 22
1972–73 Serie A 27 12
1973–74 Serie A 29 23
1974–75 Serie A 29 9
1975–76 Serie A 26 10
1976–77 Juventus Serie A 29 10
1977–78 Serie A 21 10
1978–79 Serie A 8 2
1979–80 Verona Lega Calcio Serie B 14 3
Total Lega Calcio Serie A 375 173
Total with clubs 443 186
Total career in top level (plus Italy NT) 465 195
0.42 goal per game



Year Apps Goals
1967 1 0
1970 7 3
1971 6 4
1972 3 1
1974 5 1
Total 22 9



Inter Milan





  • Serie A Top scorer: 1970–71, 1971–72
  • Coppa Italia Top scorer: 1971–72
  • United Soccer Association Top Scorer: 1967
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