Heroes in Black & White: Gaetano Scirea

Adam Digby@@Adz77Featured ColumnistJuly 24, 2009

11 Jul 1982:  Gaetano Scirea (left) of Italy celebrates with a fan as he opens a bottle of champagne after the World Cup match between Italy and West Germany in Madrid, Spain. Italy won the match 3-1. \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport

Gaetano Scirea is without doubt one of the great players of world football. He is one of the only five players in European football history—joining Antonio Cabrini, Sergio Brio, Stefano Tacconi and Danny Blind—to have won all national and international trophies for football clubs recognized by UEFA and FIFA.

He played for the azzurri for more than a decade during which he was almost irreplaceable as the leading defender, and became World Champion with the 1982 World Cup winning team.

Scirea was a graceful defender of great skill and tactical ability. In contrast to the ruthless tactics often employed by other defenders, Scirea was renowned for his class, fair play and sportsmanship. He was never sent off or suspended during his entire career, which is an amazing achievement for a defender of international level, and this says a lot about his temperament and the level of his skill.

During the '80s Juve was full of stars. Although there were players such as Bettega, Zoff, Tardelli, Platini, Brady, Boniek, Gentile and Furino, just to mention a few, there was one above of everyone else—the captain, Gaetano Scirea. 

He was a clean fighter, capable of transmitting confidence and strength at the same time. On the evening of the Heysel Stadium tragedy in Brussels in May 1985, it was Scirea who spoke on the microphone to try to calm the thousands of people traumatised by what was happening.

The absolute class of Scirea is the yardstick by which ALL Italian defenders are judged. He was calm and Baresi-esque before Franco had earned his first cap. Juventus has done what is right and proper by dedicating to Scirea the end where the hardcore fans gather. This is not named in his honour lightly.

Might I suggest any fan who doubts the greatness of il capitano to think of the endless list of legends who've worn the Juventus shirt, then think that above all these, the curva is named for our Scirea. This alone tells you all you need to know about the man known simply as THE captain.