Vittorio Pozzo: Il Vecchio Maestro’s All-Time Best XI

Vittorio Pozzo is number 27 in 90min’s Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next six weeks. You can find Jack Gallagher’s Il Vecchio Maestro’s career overview ?here.


Vittorio Pozzo is the only manager to ever win the World Cup on two separate occasions. Impressive, eh? 

What’s even more impressive is the fact that he did so while tactically reinventing Italy football. Dropping two of the five forwards in the Cambridge Pyramid formation back into the midfield, Pozzo is the first man to actively set-up his team to defend and win at all costs; something that basically every Italian team has done since. 

Below are the best players he did it with. 


Goalkeeper & Defenders


Gianpiero Combi (Goalkeeper): Before there was Dino Zoff, before there was Gianluigi Buffon, there was Gianpiero Combi; a Juventus stalwart who spent 13-years in Turin and was a key component in Italy’s 1934 World Cup winning side. Which is a bit crazy, considering he was only six inches taller than Prince (5 foot 8). 

Pietro Rava (Full Back): Another Juventus legend, Rava was crucial to Italy’s 1938 World Cup win, making the all-star team for his exceptional performances at full back. 

Eraldo Monzeglio (Full Back): One of the very few players to win both the 1934 and 1938 World Cup, it was at the former that Monzeglio performed at his best, making the all-star team. Away from the national team, the full-back enjoyed a fruitful spell with Bologna, winning the Serie A in 1929. Imagine Bologna winning the Scudetto now? That’s right, you can’t.

Attilio Ferraris (Right Halfback): An AS Roma hall of famer (that’s a thing, apparently), Ferraris made the 1934 all-star team and, you guessed it, won the World Cup. He also played for Lazio, but don’t tell Roma fans that. 

Luis Monti (Centre Back): The only player to appear in two FIFA World Cup finals with two different nations. He lost the 1930 World Cup final as part of the Argentina team that were beaten 4-2 by hosts Uruguay, and then won the 1934 World Cup with Italy. 

Ugo Locatelli (Left Halfback): 1938 World Cup winner. 1938 World Cup all-star team maker. Two-time Serie A winner. Olympic gold medallist. Ugo Locatelli must’ve been pretty good at football. 


Inside Forwards:

Giuseppe Meazza (Right Inside Forward): So good they named the most famous stadium in the world after him, Giuseppe Meazza is regarded by many to be the greatest Italian footballer of all time. The heartbeat of two World Cup-winning Italy sides, Vittorio Pozzo leaned on Meazza in the big moments, and he always delivered.

Giovanni Ferrari (Left Inside Forward): So fast they named the most famous car company in the world after him…ok that’s not true, but apparently Ferrari was a great player. He starred in both of Italy’s World Cup triumphs under Pozzo, and in Juve’s historic five-Scudetti run in the 1930s. Oh, and what a name. 


Forwards

Raimundo Orsi (Right Winger): Everybody loves Raimundo, especially Juventus fans, as he helped their team win five consecutive Serie A titles. 

Silvio Piola (Striker): So good they named two stadiums after him! It was at Lazio were Piola really made his mark however; he is still the club’s all-time record goalscorer. He also scored 30 goals in 34 appearances for Italy. So, yeah, good player. 

Gino Colaussi (Left Winger): A Triestina legend, and a big game player. Colaussi was instrumental in Italy’s 1938 World Cup triumph, scoring in the quarter-final, semi-final, and two in the final itself. Oh, he also has the same first name as Gino D’Acampo.


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Number 47: Bill Nicholson: The Tottenham Legend’s All Time Best XI

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Number 37: Franz Beckenbauer: Der Kaiser’s All-Time Best XI

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Number 30: Arsene Wenger: The Legendary Arsenal Manager’s All-Time Best XI

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Number 28: ?Jock Stein: Big Jock’s All-Time Best XI


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