039. Giuseppe Meazza
Milan born “Peppino” Meazza was Italy’s most prolific goal scorer in the 1930s and his 33 goals in 53 appearances for the national side was a record until beaten by Luigi Riva. Meazza began as centre-forward with Inter-Milan in 1927, at the age of 17. The following season he scored 33 goals and in 1929/30 was the Italian league’s top scorer, a feat he repeated twice more.
In all, he scored 355 goals at senior level. He scored twice on his international debut, against Switzerland in February 1930, and was a virtual ever-present until 1939.
Vittorio Pozzo moved Meazza to inside-forward and it paid dividends, culminating in Meazza playing a crucial role in Italy’s first World Cup success. He was captain when they retained the title four years later, but shortly afterwards he suffered an injury which put him out of action for most of 1938/39. He moved to AC Milan at the end of 1939, but played only occasionally until 1942.
He guested for Juventus and Varese during the war before moving to Atalanta for one season in 1945 and then became manager at Inter, occasionally turning out for them. Giuseppe Meazza died in 1979, aged 69. In 440 games in the Italian Serie A, he scored 269 goals.