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11/06/2010

8 Greatest Players Never to Have Played at a World Cup

8 Greatest Players Never to Have Played at a World Cup

The jersey of Valentino Mazzola, Torino Captain and midfielder, who died in the Superga tragedy, is exhibited in a Museum in Grugliasco, Turin, Italy.

Valentino Mazzola (Italy 1942-49; 12 Caps, 4 goals)

You may be unfamiliar with this prestigious attacking midfielder, but this great unknown of Italian football is rated by many to be a player who changed the face of football back in the 1940s.

He scored a whopping 118 goals in 195 appearances whilst captaining the legendary Grande Torino side that won five Serie A titles between 1942 and 1949, and was tragically killed along with the entire team in the Superga air disaster in May 1949. The general consensus from anybody who saw Valentino play was that he was a footballer ahead of his time, an inspirational leader who could carry any team.

In 1947, Torino were 1-0 down to Roma at the end of the first half and as the team were trudging back on to the pitch, Valentino asked his teammates if they wanted to show the opposition how football should be played. It finished 7-1 to Torino.

That story sums up a view shared by almost everyone who saw him kick a ball. He was a true force of nature and when he rolled up his sleeves you knew he meant business. When Mazzola took a game by the scruff of the neck it was hard for anyone else to get a look in.

It was an approach which he based on the most straightforward of football principles, "I think football is a simple game where you can win as long as you don't become predictable," he once explained. "You can add some variations to make your play more dynamic and you can improvise outside of the classic structures. But, above all, I think modern football has to be built on team play."

He was described by his great team mate, Mario Rigamonti as, "He alone is half the squad. The other half is made by the rest of us together".

Mazzola's was dominant during the years the World Cup wasn't played and his untimely death meant that it was Uruguay and perhaps not Italy that won the Jules Rimes in 1950. His legacy was his son, Sandro, who had a fantastic 17 year career with Inter Milan and played in three World Cups.

11/06/2010

8 Greatest Players Never to Have Played at a World Cup

8 Greatest Players Never to Have Played at a World Cup

The jersey of Valentino Mazzola, Torino Captain and midfielder, who died in the Superga tragedy, is exhibited in a Museum in Grugliasco, Turin, Italy.

Valentino Mazzola (Italy 1942-49; 12 Caps, 4 goals)

You may be unfamiliar with this prestigious attacking midfielder, but this great unknown of Italian football is rated by many to be a player who changed the face of football back in the 1940s.

He scored a whopping 118 goals in 195 appearances whilst captaining the legendary Grande Torino side that won five Serie A titles between 1942 and 1949, and was tragically killed along with the entire team in the Superga air disaster in May 1949. The general consensus from anybody who saw Valentino play was that he was a footballer ahead of his time, an inspirational leader who could carry any team.

In 1947, Torino were 1-0 down to Roma at the end of the first half and as the team were trudging back on to the pitch, Valentino asked his teammates if they wanted to show the opposition how football should be played. It finished 7-1 to Torino.

That story sums up a view shared by almost everyone who saw him kick a ball. He was a true force of nature and when he rolled up his sleeves you knew he meant business. When Mazzola took a game by the scruff of the neck it was hard for anyone else to get a look in.

It was an approach which he based on the most straightforward of football principles, "I think football is a simple game where you can win as long as you don't become predictable," he once explained. "You can add some variations to make your play more dynamic and you can improvise outside of the classic structures. But, above all, I think modern football has to be built on team play."

He was described by his great team mate, Mario Rigamonti as, "He alone is half the squad. The other half is made by the rest of us together".

Mazzola's was dominant during the years the World Cup wasn't played and his untimely death meant that it was Uruguay and perhaps not Italy that won the Jules Rimes in 1950. His legacy was his son, Sandro, who had a fantastic 17 year career with Inter Milan and played in three World Cups.

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