Heroes In Black and White: Roberto Bettega

Adam Digby@@Adz77Featured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2010

Having recently being re-appointed as a director of Juventus, now seems like an appropriate time to look back at the career of Bianconeri hero Roberto Bettega.

Born in Turin in 1950, he became one of the club's all-time greats. During his time at the club Juventus enjoyed a fantastic spell of dominance, and finally lifted a European trophy. He will be remembered as a fine goal scorer, as well as a man dedicated to the club he loves.

Bettega joined the club as a youngster and stayed for 13 seasons in the first team, making 481 appearances and only leaving to see out his playing days in Canada with the Toronto Blizzard.

After spending a year on loan in Serie B, Bettega made his full debut in 1970, scoring the winner away to Catania.

This was the start of an amazing period for both Juve and Bettega, who won Lo Scudetto in 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978 , 1981 and 1982, as well as the Coppa Italia in 1979 and 1983. The title win in 1982 was an especially important one, as it gave the Bianconeri their second star, noting 20 title wins. During this spell they also reached the 1973 European Cup Final, only to lose to Johan Cruyff's Ajax.

As impressive as this dominant spell was, there two more achievements that Bettega made to the club's history that mark him out as a true Bianconeri legend.

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First is that he remains the club's third all-time leading scorer, with 178 goals. The only players ahead of him are Giampiero Boniperti and Alessandro Del Piero. He also won the Serie top scorer title in 1980.

The UEFA Cup victory in 1977 remains perhaps his finest contribution. Juventus played Athletic Bilbao over two legs, and it was Bettega's second leg goal in Bilbao that gave Juventus their victory.

One more point of interest is that the win was the only time an Italian team has won an International trophy with a team made up of only Italian players.

Bettega made 42 appearance for the Italian National team, finishing fourth at both the 1978 World Cup and the 1980 European Championships. Sadly, a knee injured prevented him taking his place at the 1982 World Cup, robbing him of a winner's medal as Italy triumphed.

After retirement, he return to the club at the request of Umberto Agnelli, serving as Vice-President from 1994 to 2006, overseeing yet another dominant spell for the Old Lady. He has returned to a similar role recently. Let's hope it signals the start of another period of success for Juventus.


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