Juan Alberto Schiaffino, one of the greatest and most significant footballers inthe game’s history, has died aged 77.
‘Pepe’ Schiaffino was born on July 28, 1925, in Montevideo, Uruguay, where his career began with top club Penarol.
As a boy Schiaffino always dreamed of playing centre-forward but the club’s youth coaches considered him too thin and fragile. They switched him to inside forward and, at 20, he was playing for Uruguay at the South American championship and top-scoring with 19 goals in Penarol’s league-winning side.
In World Cup terms, Schiaffino peaked in 1950 when he scored Uruguay’s equaliser at 1-1 on the way to their shock victory over Brazil. After starring again at the finals in 1954, where Uruguay lost to Hungary in the semi-finals, he was sold to Milan for a world record œ72,000.
Schaffino counts among the greatest of players to have graced Calcio, winding down his career with Roma after failing narrowly to lead Milan to victory over Real Madrid in the 1958 Champions Cup Final.
They lost 3-2 despite Schiaffino’s fine solo goal. As well as playing 40 times for Uruguay, Schaffino also played four games for Italy between 1954-55 and 1957-58.
He is the third member of Uruguay’s 1950 World Cup-winning side to have died recently after Julio Perez and Eusebio Tejera.
By Keir Radnedge