Giorgio Chinaglia, the best and most controversial player to ever participate in the NASL, has rejoined the New York Cosmos as their international ambassador.
"It is important for us to respect the heritage of the New York Cosmos and Giorgio has been a big part of the club’s history. We are honored to have a true legend endorse our vision during this exciting new era,” says Terry Byrne, the Director of Soccer for the New York Cosmos.
While Pelé was the most beloved Cosmos player, Chinaglia was the team's "Ultimate Winner." Whether you loved or loathed him, one thing was certain... Chinaglia always played to win.
Prior to arriving to the Cosmos, Chinaglia led Lazio to their first title in the 1974. During his time with Lazio, Chinaglia was also part of the Italian national team where he scored four goals in 14 games.
Joining the Cosmos in 1976, Chinaglia scored 19 goals in 19 games as New York eventually lost to the Tampa Bay Rowdies 3-1 in the Division Championship.
The 1977 season, Pelé's final season, the New York Cosmos added Franz Beckenbauer, and Carlos Alberto to their roster. However, it was Chinaglia's game winning the goal in Soccer Bowl '77 that gave Pelé a championship in his final season.
Following Pelé's retirement, he led the New York Cosmos to three additional Soccer Bowl titles. The four-time Soccer Bowl winner ('77, '78, '80 and '82) scored a whopping 243 goals in 254 games as a New York Cosmos.
Never gun-shy with his comments, Giorgio Chinaglia always spoke his mind. Whether you agreed or disagreed with him, you at least knew where he stood. Currently, Chinaglia fans can listen to him on his radio show The Football Show on the Sirius satellite radio, channel 125 (weekdays 7-9 a.m. EST).
"It was over 30 years ago when I first came to this club. To see it come back for our loyal fans of the past, as well as for the next generation of fans, is very exciting to me. The New York Cosmos name resonates all over the world and I look forward to being involved to bring back the excitement of American soccer," says Giorgio Chinaglia.
Prior to joining the New York Cosmos, Chinaglia also recorded a song titled "Football Crazy" in 1974. Along with Pelé, Chinaglia is the other New York Cosmos player to ever appear in the cover of Sports Illustrated (May 21, 1979). To read the article, click here.
Retiring as the NASL's all-time leading scorer in 1983, Giorgio Chinaglia was inducted into the United States Soccer Hall of Fame in 2000 for his marvelous contribution to American soccer during his playing days with the New York Cosmos.
Cesar Diaz covers soccer for Latino Sports. Please E-mail your questions and comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.