- Category : Sports-Soccer
- Type : GP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (15,46)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Unexpected 1
Giuseppe "Beppe" Bergomi (born 22 December 1963) is a retired Italian footballer who spent his entire career at Internazionale, being equally at ease as a central or right defender.
He held the record of most appearances for the club for several years, while also being the side's longtime captain. He was affectionately referred to as "Lo zio" ("the uncle") because of the impressive moustache he wore even as a youngster.
Bergomi won more than 80 caps for the Italian national team, appearing in four World Cups – including the 1982 edition which ended in triumph – and Euro 1988, where Italy reached the semi-finals. Bergomi is regarded as one of the greatest Italian defenders of all time, and was elected by Pelè to be part of the FIFA 100 greatest living players in 2004.
Born in Milan, Bergomi began training with F.C. Internazionale Milano's first team at the age of only 16, and made his professional debut in the 1980–81 season, the following year. The 20 Serie A seasons he went on to spend with his sole club were often in the shadow of A.C. Milan, as he only won the Scudetto once, in 1989 (he did conquer the UEFA Cup on three occasions). For a moment in his career, he held the records for both the most appearances in European competition by an Italian player and the most Milan derbies played, both broken by Paolo Maldini.
Bergomi retired in 1999 at the age of almost 36, holding the record of most appearances for Inter until late September 2011, when he was overtaken by Argentine Javier Zanetti. He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.
With Italy Bergomi won the 1982 FIFA World Cup, and also played in the 1986 and 1990 campaigns (being team captain in the latter), as well as UEFA Euro 1988, where Italy reached the semi-finals of the tournament, and Bergomi was elected part of the team of the tournament, keeping 2 clean sheets. Alongside the likes of Inter legend Giuseppe Baresi, his younger brother, AC Milan legend Franco Baresi, and Juventus duo Antonio Cabrini and Gaetano Scirea, he formed the backbone of the national team's defence for much of the 1980s, making his debut on 14 April 1982 in a 0–1 friendly loss in East Germany, aged only 18 years and 3 months; in the victorious World Cup run in Spain he appeared in three games, including the full 180 minutes in the last two matches, keeping a clean sheet in the semi-final.
In the 1986 edition, Italy were rather disappointingly eliminated in the round of 16, however, Bergomi captained Italy to a third-place finish on home soil in the 1990 World Cup, playing in all of Italy's seven matches. Italy won all of their matches, except for the semi-final, which ended in a 1-1 draw, and Italy were eliminated by defending champions Argentina following a penalty shoot-out; as a result, Italy finished the World Cup as the third placed team with best historical record. During the tournament, Bergomi helped Italy to win five consecutive matches, and was a starting member of the defence that kept a World Cup record of five consecutive clean sheets, alongside Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi. The Italian defence eventually conceded an equalising goal in the semifinal match against Maradona's Argentina, after going a World Cup record total of 518 minutes without conceding a goal. Italy eventually placed third, after defeating England 2–1 in the 3rd–4th Place final match, capturing the bronze medal, and finishing the tournament with the best defence, only have conceding two goals throughout the entire World Cup.
After being sent off in a match against Norway in an Euro 1992 qualifier, Bergomi spent years without getting a callback to the Azzurri, but received a surprise recall for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, at 34, after playing 28 times in the league and leading the Nerazzurri to the UEFA Cup – his third and last; despite playing in four World Cups, he failed to make one single appearance in qualifying stages. Bergomi partnered with Maldini, Cannavaro, Nesta, and Costacurta in defence at the 1998 World Cup, making 3 appearances and keeping 2 clean sheets, and leading Italy to a quarter final finish, where they would be eliminated by hosts and eventual champions France, on penalties.