- Category : Footballer
- Type : ME
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (43)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Planning 1
Dino Zoff (born 28 February 1942 in Mariano del Friuli) is an Italian former football goalkeeper and is the oldest winner ever of the World Cup, which he earned as captain of the Italian team in the 1982 tournament in Spain, at the age of 40 years, 4 months and 13 days.
Zoff was a goalkeeper of outstanding ability and has a place in the history of the sport among the very best in this role, being named the 3rd greatest goalkeeper of the 20th century by the IFFHS behind Lev Yashin and Gordon Banks. He holds the record for the longest playing time without allowing goals in international tournaments (1142 minutes) set between 1972 and 1974. With 112 caps, he is the fourth most capped player for the Azzurri. In 2004 Pelé named him as one of the 125 greatest living footballers.
After retiring as a footballer, Zoff went on to become coach for the Italian national team and several other Italian clubs.
Dino Zoff was born in Mariano del Friuli, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, and was elected in a poll by the IFFHS as the third best goalkeeper of the 20th Century – after Lev Yashin (1st) and Gordon Banks (2nd).
Zoff's career got off to an inauspicious start, when at the age of fourteen he had trials with Inter Milan and Juventus, but was rejected due to a lack of height. Five years later, having grown by 33 centimetres, he made his Serie A debut with Udinese, though Zoff made only four appearances for Udinese before moving to Mantova in 1963.
In 1968, Zoff was transferred to Napoli. In the same year he made his debut for Italy, playing against Bulgaria in the quarter final of the 1968 European Championships. Italy proceeded to win the tournament, Zoff taking home a winners' medal after only his fourth international appearance.
Left out of the Italian starting eleven in the 1970 World Cup, Zoff resumed his success after signing for Juventus in 1972. In eleven years with Juventus, Zoff won the Serie A championship six times, the Coppa Italia twice and the UEFA Cup once. However, Zoff's greatest feat came in the 1982 World Cup, where he captained Italy to victory in the tournament at the age of 40, making him the oldest ever winner of the World Cup. He followed in the footsteps of compatriot Gianpiero Combi (1934) as only the second goalkeeper to captain a World Cup-winning side (later Iker Casillas repeated this feat for Spain in the 2010 World Cup). He was also voted as the Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament. His manager Enzo Bearzot said:
"He was a level-headed goalkeeper, capable of staying calm during the toughest and the most exhilarating moments. He always held back both out of modesty and respect for his opponents. At the end of the Brazil match, he came over to give me a kiss on the cheek, without saying a single word. For me, that fleeting moment was the most intense of the entire World Cup."
Zoff is also the oldest player ever to have won the trophy. He holds the record for the longest stretch (1142 minutes) without allowing any goals in international football, set between 1972 and 1974. That clean sheet stretch was ended by Haitian player Manno Sanon's beautiful goal during the 1974 World Cup. He also held the records for the oldest Serie A player and most Serie A appearances (570 matches) for more than 20 years, until the season 2005–06 when the record was broken by S.S. Lazio goalkeeper Marco Ballotta and A.C. Milan defender Paolo Maldini respectively.
At the time of his retirement, Zoff's 112 caps were the most ever by a member of the Italian national team. He currently sits in fourth place in this category, as well as second among goalkeepers, Gianluigi Buffon having surpassed the latter record.
After his retirement as a player, Zoff went into coaching, joining the technical staff at Juventus, where he was head coach from 1988 to 1990. In 1990 he was sacked, despite winning the UEFA Cup. He then joined Lazio, where he became president in 1994. In 1998 Zoff was appointed coach of the Italian national team. Using a more open and attacking style than usually used by Italian sides, he coached Italy to a second-place finish in Euro 2000, suffering an extra-time defeat at the hands of France in the final, when in the 90th minute of the game, Italy were 1–0 up and less than sixty seconds from winning the tournament before France scored to equalise and go to extra time. A few days later Zoff resigned, following strong criticism from A.C. Milan president and politician Silvio Berlusconi.
Zoff returned to Lazio, but resigned following a poor start to the 2001–02 season. In 2005, he was named the coach of Fiorentina. But after saving the team from relegation on the last day of the season, Zoff was let go.