Gianni Rivera
Nickname: Golden Boy, Little Prince
Nationality: Italy
Stature: 175 см
Position: halfback
Number: 10

1959 - 1960Italy ItalyAlessandria266
1960 - 1979Italy ItalyMilan501122
All:Gols in match: 0.24527128
Years performancesNational teamGamesGols
1962 - 1974Italy Italy6014
All:Gols in match: 0.236014

Gianni Rivera was born on August 18, 1943 in Alessandria, in the family of a railway worker. From a young age, Rivera began to get involved in football, playing behind the old chapel, supported by parish priest Elikio. Soon he enrolled in the Alessandria club academy, which played in Serie A. on June 2, 1959, at the age of 15, Rivera made his debut in the first team at the Italian championship home club against Inter. For a successful and out-of-age mature game in the position of "trekkartista", one of the journalists called him the “Golden Boy”, under this nickname Rivera was known throughout his career. After the first games, the leading sports and football publications in the country began writing about Rivera.

After a certain number of weeks after his debut in Alessandria, they began to receive offers to purchase young talent from much more famous and wealthy clubs of series A. Milan was the most generous. However, when signing the contract, it was agreed that the next season he will hold in Alessandria.

Later it turned out that for the purchase of Rivera, the most famous midfielder and Milan favorite was Niels Lidholm, the Swede. The leaders of the Milan club at first doubted the physical condition of the frail low lad from Alessandria, but Liedholm, whose word was quite significant, assured everyone that Rivera is the upcoming football genius. As it turned out very soon, the great Swede was completely right.

In his first season at Milan in 1960-1961, Rivera still had a chance to play together with Liedholm, who was already finishing his playing career. And in 1964, the great Swede headed the club already as a coach. But when he was still a player, Rivera learned from him the art of a narrow pass and the ability to see a field.

The football player was professional player for a very long period, but in Milan, where his entire football career went, he reached excellent heights. Already a couple of years later, Rivera’s inspired game was called football poetry — his technical art and skill in organizing the game of the whole team, combining together, turned every match with his role into a magnificent football performance that led the audience to admiration. At the same time, he himself scored not a lot of goals - the most successful was the season of 1972-1973, when in Serie A he spent 17 goals. But despite the above, a large number of goals, Milan was accomplished with his specific participation.

The endless football career of Gianni Rivera was one of the most brilliant and successful in the history of Italian football. He led the whole game, Milan, and the club went from one football top to another. Already in the 1961-1962 season, Rivera won the title of Italian champion for the first time. At the end of the winter of 1963, Milan for the first time in its own history captured the European Cup, beating the Portuguese Benfica in the final meeting, at which time the incomparable Eusebio glittered.

Gianni Rivera and fans
Gianni Rivera and fans (mid 1960s)

In the 1967-1968 season, Milan again became the favorite of Italy, and in addition won the Cup Winners' Cup - in the final meeting the German Hamburg was beaten. But the top of the Golden Boy achievements was 1969.

Almost at the end of the winter, Milan re-won the European Champions Cup, in the final almost crushed Amsterdam's Ajax - 4:1. Gianni Rivera himself at the end of the year was recognized as the best football player in Europe and received the "Golden Ball", he became the first Italian to be honored. It is possible, however, to recall that in 1961 this prize was awarded to the Juventus player Omar Sivory, but he was an Argentinean who received Italian nationality.

And ahead of Gianni Rivera was still as much as 10 seasons brilliant game. He had to win the Cup of Italy three times, to become the champion of the country, and at the end of the winter of 1973 to win the Cup of Cup winners together with Milan.

But despite all the above, in a great way, he's wins didn’t have anything to do with the Italian team. His only achievement was winning the European Championship in 1968. It took place in Italy, and, in the general opinion, in the final the judges obviously favored to it's owners.

The competitor of the Italian team was the national team of Yugoslavia, which for a long time led the score - 1:0. The judge did not count the next goal scored by the Yugoslavs, but in spite of all the above, the Italians undoubtedly helped level the score. That year there was no penalty shootout rule, so a replay was scheduled. In the 2nd meeting, the Italians won - 2:0, but their first goal was scored from the clear position "out of the game".

At the world championships Gianni Rivera played in the team 4 times. In itself, this is also a great achievement that only few footballers succeeded, but the team of Italy, for the most part, was not lucky. As part of the state team, Rivera debuted in 1962. In the same year, he went to the World Championship in Chile, but the Italians did not even succeed in getting out of the group. The same thing happened again in the 1966 British Championship, where the Italian national team suffered one of the most unpleasant defeats in its history, losing to the North Korean team - 0:1.

More successful was the Mexican championship in 1970, when the Italian team reached the final. But then there was a rift in the Italian team, and Rivera was the culprit. The fact is that the temper of the football genius was difficult. He absolutely could not stand the rivalry, and at that time the team had another star of the first magnitude - Sandro Mazzola, who also performed dispatch functions. Rivera and Mazzola out of football were good buddies. They were the initiators of the creation of a union of players who defended the rights of football players who suffered from the arbitrariness of clubs that often refused to pay salaries.

Alessandro Mazzola and Gianni Rivera
Alessandro Mazzola and Gianni Rivera

In 2013, Mazzola in an interview for the 70th anniversary of Gianni Rivera to the question: "How would you explain to today's youth who is Gianni Rivera?" said:

I would tell them that it was a champion who could do absolutely anything with the ball. And the one who always led the team forward.

In the championship there was a moment when, having quarreled with the coaches, Rivera even got ready to return to Italy, but in the end the solution was found: Mazzola played in the first half, and Rivera replaced it.

Rivera, coming on as a substitute, became the hero of a famous semi-final match with the German team. Italians played almost the entire match with a score of 1: 0, and the Germans equalized it only at the third minute added. In addition, 5 goals were scored. At first, Muller led the German national team forward, after which the Italians equalized the score and in turn took the lead, but Muller scored a return goal. Decisive, the fourth ball held Gianni Rivera, and the Italian team reached the final.

But in the final meeting, the Brazilian national team with Pele and other brilliant Brazilians turned out to be stronger, ending the match with a rival of the competitor - 4:1.

Pele and Gianni Rivera
Poster Pele and Gianni Rivera (1970)

In 1974, Gianni Rivera once again played at the World Championships held in Germany, but the Italian national team again was not even able to leave the group. In the aftermath of the championship a great football player left the team. In Milan, he finished the performance after the season of 1978-1979, becoming in the end the champion of Italy. A coached Milan in that year, renowned Swede Nils Lidholm, who came to the club as a coach again.

The end of the career of a great football player was noted because of his difficult temper conflicts with judges, the Italian Football Federation and journalists. As a result, it is not surprising that in the end Rivera became a politician and was elected to the Italian parliament.

While working in parliament, Rivera repeatedly changed his political views. After leaving Patto Segni, he entered the Italian Renaissance, and then the party of the Democrats and Daisies. After the merger of the parties efforts Romano Prodi received a mandate from the Democratic Party. Since April 2005, Rivera has been a member of the European Parliament for the Olive Tree Party. In early 2008, Rivera was already in the party of the Centrian wing White Rose. Rivera also invests money to help young footballers.

Based on:,,

Award nameYearAmount
1 Golden Ball 1969 1
2 The best scorer of the Italian Cup (7 goals) 1967, 1971 2
3 The best scorer of the championship of Italy (17 goals) 1973 1
4 Footballer of the Year in Italy according to Guerin Sportivo (special award) 1987 1
5 Introduced to the hall of fame of the club Milan
6 In list FIFA 100

Club "Milan "
Award nameYearAmount
1 Italian Champion 1962, 1968, 1979 3
2 Winner of the European Champions Cup 1963, 1969 2
3 Cup of Italy 1967, 1972, 1973, 1977 4
4 Winner of the Cup of Cups 1968, 1973 2
5 Winner Intercontinental Cup 1969 1