Adolfo Baloncieri

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Adolfo Baloncieri
Adolfo Baloncieri.jpg
Personal information
Full name Adolfo Baloncieri
Date of birth (1897-07-27)27 July 1897
Place of birth Alessandria, Italy
Date of death 23 July 1986(1986-07-23) (aged 88)
Place of death Genoa, Italy
Position(s) Attacking midfielder
Youth career
US Alessandria
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1919–1925 US Alessandria 120 (74)
1925–1932 Torino 192 (97)
1932–1933 Comense 3 (0)
1943–1944 US Alessandria 1 (0)
National team
1920–1930 Italy 47 (25)
Teams managed
1931–1932 Torino (assistant)
1932–1933 Comense
1934–1936 Milan
1936–1937 Novara
1937–1939 Liguria
1939–1940 Napoli
1941–1945 Alessandria
1945–1946 Milan
1946–1947 Chiasso
1947–1950 Sampdoria
1950 Roma
1951–1952 Chiasso
1954–1955 Palermo
1961–1962 Chiasso
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Adolfo Baloncieri (Italian pronunciation: [aˈdolfo balonˈtʃɛːri]; 27 July 1897 – 23 July 1986) was an Italian football manager and former player who played as a midfielder.

Critically regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, Gianni Brera considered him one of the greatest Italian playmakers ever, alongside the likes of Giuseppe Meazza and Valentino Mazzola.[1] In 2010, Carlo Felice Chiesa wrote: "If it were possible to rank all-time great "registas" of world football, Adolfo Baloncieri, an athlete from a period so remote from our own, would end up among the first, if not first."[2] Baloncieri began his club career with Alessandria, but most notably played for Torino, where he won league titles in 1927 and 1928 (the 1927 title was later revoked). Following his retirement, he also coached several clubs in Italy.

At international level, he took part at three editions of the Summer Olympic games with Italy, captaining the Italy national team to a bronze medal at the 1928 Summer Olympics, and also won the 1927-30 Central European International Cup with Italy. With 25 goals, he is the sixth highest all-time scorer of the Italian national team, alongside Filippo Inzaghi and Alessandro Altobelli, and he is also the highest scoring midfielder in the history of the Italian national side.[3]

Early life[edit]

Baloncieri was born in Castelceriolo in the province of Alessandria, to a family originally from Caselle Torinese. During childhood he lived with his family in Rosario, Argentina for 12 years where he entered the world of football at age nine. Eager to play sport, he did not complete his studies in accountancy.

His older brother Mario was an amateur footballer in Alessandria and then a reporter, while his cousin William Brezzi, who died at a young age, was his teammate at Alessandria and the national team. His brother Carlo drowned in Finale Ligure in August 1933, while his son also died at a young age. With his other daughter, Flora, a teacher, and a sister, he lived in Genoa in later years. He died in 1986, days before he turned 89, from pneumonia.[4][5]

Club career[edit]

After spending much of his childhood in Argentina, Baloncieri returned to Italy in 1913 and joined Alessandria; for which he debuted in 1914 at the age of 17 before World War I suspended league fixtures. During the conflict he was at the front as a gunner. After football resumed he distinguished himself among the most famous footballers of the 1920s with Torino, with whom he won two national titles (one was revoked for the "Allemandi Case"). In 1930 he was knighted by the Crown of Italy on the recommendation of the Italian Football Federation's Leandro Arpinati. Baloncieri retired in 1931; interested in the development of young athletes, he was responsible for the development of the Torino youth system. He later became a manager.

International career[edit]

At International level, Baloncieri was the captain of the Italy national team that won the bronze medal at the 1928 Olympic Games,[6] and the winner of the 1930 Coppa Internazionale, alongside Giuseppe Meazza. He earned 47 caps for Italy between 1920 and 1930, and with 25 goals, he is Italy's sixth all-time highest goalscorer and the highest scoring midfielder in the history of the Italian national team.[7] He also played in two other editions of the Olympics, in 1920 and 1924, making him the player with the most all-time appearances and goals, eleven and eight respectively, at Olympic football tournaments for the Italian national side.[8][9]

Style of play[edit]

Usually deployed as an offensive playmaker, Baloncieri was a quick, talented, elegant, and creative midfielder, who had excellent technical skills, vision, passing ability, and a notable eye for goal from midfield.[5]





  • Torino F.C. Hall of Fame[5]


  • Brera, Gianni; Milano, Baldini & Castoldi (1998). Storia critica del calcio italiano.


  1. ^ Brera, Gianni; Milano, Baldini & Castoldi (1998). Storia critica del calcio italiano.
  2. ^ Chiesa, Il secolo azzurro. pp. 165-166.
  3. ^ "Nazionale, De Rossi raggiunge le 100 presenze" (in Italian). Il Corriere dello Sport. 1 November 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Adolfo Baloncieri". Archived from the original on 22 March 2009.
  5. ^ a b c "Hall of Fame: Adolfo Baloncieri". Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Adolfo Baloncieri". Olympedia. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Nazionale in cifre". FIGC. Archived from the original on 31 July 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Olimpiadi: Presenze" [Olympics: Appearances] (in Italian). Italia1910. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Olimpiadi: Gol Fatti" [Olympics: Goals scored] (in Italian). Italia1910. Retrieved 18 July 2016.

External links[edit]