InterLegend: Giuseppe Bergomi
Giuseppe Bergomi like Inter’s other two great captains, Giacinto Facchetti and more recently Javier Zanetti was fiercely loyal to his beloved Inter. For many years Bergomi held the record for most appearances for the Nerazzurri, though he has recently lost this achievement to the forever young ‘il Capitano’ Zanetti who is still adding to his impressive total.
Bergomi was born in Milano on the 22nd December 1963, His career as a defender began at a young age when he started training with Inter’s first team at the age of just 16 and made his full professional debut a year later. He went on to spend 20 years with the Nerazzurri, for many years wearing the captains armband.
From a young age Bergomi wore a moustache that earned him the nickname that he was affectionately known as “Lo zio” (“the uncle”). In his 20 years with the mighty Inter he made an astonishing 519 appearances in Serie A scoring 23 goals, which isn’t a bad tally when you consider he played as a right back or center back. The loyalty he showed during his years with Inter only earned him a single Scudetto in the 1988/89 season when Inter won their 13th title beating the legendary Maradona era Napoli by a huge 11 points. This title was testament to the defensive capabilities of Bergomi and Inter as there was only 19 goals conceded and they only lost two games in the league. The Scudetto win also led to Bergomi lifting the Italian Supercoppa too.
Another competition Bergomi only received one honor for is the Coppa Italia which Inter won their third in the 1981/82 season. Even though he only won the cup once Bergomi made 120 cup appearances and scored five goals in the competition two of which were in that winning year.
Despite not having the success domestically that Inter have enjoyed in the last decade, Bergomi did have considerable success in Europe with the Nerazzurri, winning the UEFA Cup three times in 1990/91, 1993/94 and 1997/98. Ok so it’s hardly as prestigious as the European cup/ Champions League but when you consider the lack of silverware Inter achieved during the two decades that Bergomi was playing these were important honors for both Giuseppe and the club. The 1997/98 UEFA Cup win is a special memory for me as it was the first taste of success I witnessed as an Interisti and at the time for me that win felt as glorious as the treble did 12 years later. In continental competitions Bergomi didn’t manage to score but he made 117 appearances for Inter.
All in all our legendary captain Bergomi made 756 appearances and scored 28 goals in the Nerazzurri colours he loves so much and for a while he held records for most European appearances by an Italian player and also most Milan Derby appearances, both these records were eventually broken by Paolo Maldini. His record for most FC Internazionale appearances was held until September 2011 when Javier Zanetti overtook his total.
As well as being considered a legend by Inter and it’s fans Bergomi is also a legend of the world game too, being a crucial part of the Azzurri squad from his debut on the 14th April 1982 when the Italy team lost 0-1 to East Germany, aged just 18 until the Euro 1992 qualifier against Norway when he was sent off. This sending off pretty much signalled the end of his International career apart from a surprise recall by the Azzurri for the 1998 World cup. Bergomi appeared in four World cups for Italy but amazingly never played in a single World cup qualifying match. For his country he appeared 81 times and found the back of the net six times, but like his domestic achievements he only won one major title with Italy when they won the World cup in 1982.
Bergomi retired from his illustrious playing career in 1999 at the age of almost 36. After retiring he became a licensed football coach and became youth coach of Esordienti at Inter in 2008. In July 2009 he was appointed youth coach of Allievi Nazionali (under-17) at A.C. Monza Brianza 1912, being promoted as head of the Berretti under-19 team, in co-operation with Giuseppe Chieppa, one year later. July 2011 saw him leave Monza to take up the same role at Atalanta. In addition to coaching he also worked as a pundit and commentator for Sky Italia, including commentating on the 2006 World cup in which Italy were victorious.
Bergomi really is a true legend of the game and in 2004 was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers. Of course to all us Interisti he will always be known as one of our greatest captains and a true Inter legend that will forever hold a special place in our hearts. I hope that one day I may meet this great man and eventually he will accept a role within the structure of the club, returning to the club he loves.
Until that day InterFamily stand up and salute the legend that is Giuseppe Bergomi!
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