Roberto Boninsegna (Italian pronunciation: [roˈbɛrto ˌboninˈseɲɲa, ˌbɔ-] born 13 November 1943) is an Italian former football player, who mainly played as a forward. After retiring, he worked as a football manager. As a player, he represented the Italian national side at two World Cups, reaching the final in 1970.
Boninsegna in Rotterdam, 1974
|Full name||Roberto Boninsegna|
|Date of birth||13 November 1943|
|Place of birth||Mantua, Italy|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|1967||→ Chicago Mustangs (American tour)||9||(10)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Born at Mantua, Boninsegna started his career in Serie B (the second tier of Italian professional football) with Prato in 1963–64 season. He transferred to Potenza, who was Serie B team in 1964–65 season. He also played for Varese in 1965–66 and Cagliari between 1966–1969, helping the club to a second-place finish during the 1968–69 Serie A season alongside Luigi Riva. During the summer of 1967, Cagliari came to the United States to play in the North American Soccer League as the Chicago Mustangs; Boninsegna led the club in scoring with 11 goals in nine matches. Boninsegna gained a status as an efficient striker with Internazionale Milano F.C. and the Italian national football team in the 1970s, playing alongside Sandro Mazzola. In Serie A, he totaled 171 goals in 281 games, and was top goalscorer in Italy during the 1970–71 and 1971–72 Serie A seasons, with Inter.
After moving to Inter in 1969, he also won the 1970–71 Serie A title with the club, and reached the 1972 European Cup Final, only to be defeated by Ajax. He transferred to Juventus F.C. in 1976 in exchange for Pietro Anastasi, and he played 3 seasons for the club, winning two Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia, and an UEFA Cup. After leaving Juventus in 1979, he finished his career with Verona, retiring from professional football at the end of the 1979–80 Serie B season.
Boninsegna made his debut for Italy on 18 November 1967, in an away UEFA Euro 1968 qualifying match against Switzerland, which ended 2–2, although he was not called up for the final tournament, which Italy ended up winning on home soil under manager Ferruccio Valcareggi, with whom he would have several disagreements throughout his international career. With the national side, he took part in two World Cups, the first in 1970, and the second in 1974. In total, he managed 9 goals for Italy in 22 appearances.
Boninsegna was a member of the Italian side that reached the final of the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, scoring two goals throughout the tournament. In the epic semi-final match against West-Germany, he scored a goal, and later set up Gianni Rivera's match-winning goal in extra time, which allowed Italy to advance to the final after a 4–3 victory. He scored Italy's only goal (though at the time it was an important equaliser) in the final against Brazil, which Italy ultimately lost 4–1; he came off for Rivera in the final minutes of the game.
Style of play
As a player, Boninsegna was a powerful, agile and acrobatic striker, who was known for his accurate finishing ability and intelligence in the penalty area. He was a prolific goalscorer, who excelled in the air, despite not being particularly tall or imposing physically. He was also gifted with pace, stamina, technical ability, opportunism and outstanding consistency, which enabled him to become one of the top Italian forwards of his generation. Because of his jumping ability and his power and accuracy with his head, the Italian sports journalist Gianni Brera gave him the nickname "Bonimba". Despite his talent, he was criticised on occasion for being a selfish player, although he was also capable of creating chances for team mates. He was also well known for his on the field rivalry with Juventus defender Francesco Morini, who later became his teammate.
|1963–64||Prato||Lega Calcio Serie B||22||1|
|1964–65||Potenza||Lega Calcio Serie B||32||9|
|summer 1967||Chicago Mustangs||United Soccer Association||9||10|
|1979–80||Verona||Lega Calcio Serie B||14||3|
|Total Lega Calcio Serie A||375||173|
|Total with clubs||443||186|
|Total career in top level (plus Italy NT)||465||195|
|0.42 goal per game|
- Serie A Top scorer: 1970–71, 1971–72
- Coppa Italia Top scorer: 1971–72
- United Soccer Association Top Scorer: 1967
- "Roberto Boninsegna" (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
- "NASL Chicago Mustangs Roster". Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- Alberto Cerruti (13 November 2013). "Boninsegna festeggia 70 anni: "Solo Inter, ma quanti tradimenti"" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
- "BONINSEGNA, Roberto" (in Italian). Treccani: Enciclopedia dello Sport (2002). Retrieved 23 December 2014.
- Stefano Bedeschi (13 November 2013). "Gli eroi in bianconero: Roberto BONINSEGNA" (in Italian). Tutto Juve. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
- "Boninsegna, Roberto" (in Italian). FIGC. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
- Diego Mariottini (17 June 2015). "Italia-Germania 4-3: la brutta partita che fece la storia" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
- Mario Sconcerti (28 March 2016). "Riva il migliore per i lettori di CM. Sconcerti: 'Ma Rivera era al suo livello'" (in Italian). Calciomercato.com. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- "Ecco perchè Brera mi ha chiamato Bonimba" (in Italian). Cremona Oggi. 19 January 2013. Archived from the original on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
- Fabio Monti. "BONINSEGNA, Roberto" (in Italian). Treccani: Enciclopedia dello Sport (2002). Retrieved 7 November 2017.
- Roberto Di Maggio; Igor Kramarsic; Alberto Novello (11 June 2015). "Italy - Serie A Top Scorers". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- Roberto Di Maggio; Davide Rota (4 June 2015). "Italy - Coppa Italia Top Scorers". RSSSF. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- Steve Holroyd; David Litterer (15 August 2008). "The Year in American Soccer - 1967". US Soccer History Archives. Retrieved 10 February 2017.