Roberto Rosato

Roberto Rosato (Italian pronunciation: [roˈbɛrto roˈzaːto]; 18 August 1943 – 20 June 2010) was an Italian footballer, who played as a defender.

Roberto Rosato
Rosato in 1969
Personal information
Date of birth (1943-08-18)18 August 1943
Place of birth Chieri, Kingdom of Italy
Date of death 20 June 2010(2010-06-20) (aged 66)
Place of death Chieri, Italy
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9+12 in)
Position(s) Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1960–1966 Torino 131 (4)
1966–1973 Milan 187 (5)
1973–1977 Genoa 84 (1)
1977–1979 Aosta 48 (1)
Total 450 (11)
National team
1965–1972 Italy 37 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

A strong, hard-tackling, and reliable centre-back, he is regarded as one of Italy's greatest defenders.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Rosato played for four different Italian clubs throughout his career, but is mainly remembered for his successful stint with A.C. Milan, where he won several domestic and international titles. At international level, he represented Italy in two FIFA World Cups, reaching the final in 1970, and won UEFA Euro 1968.

Club career

Rosato played for 15 seasons (351 games, 10 goals) in the Serie A for A.C. Torino (1960–66), A.C. Milan (1966–1973) and Genoa C.F.C. (1973–1977), before moving to Aosta (1977–79), playing in Serie D for two seasons before officially retiring in 1979. He made his Serie A debut with Torino, in a 1–1 away draw against Fiorentina on 2 April 1961. Rosato is mostly remembered for his highly successful period with Milan, where he won several domestic and international trophies (1 Serie A A title, 3 Coppa Italia titles, 1 European Cup, 2 European Super Cups, and 1 Intercontinental Cup), forming a formidable back-line alongside Cudicini, Schnellinger, Anquilletti, and Trapattoni. He made his Milan debut on 4 September 1966, in a 3–0 away Serie A win over Pisa; in total he made 269 appearances with the club, scoring 8 goals, 5 of which came in Serie A in 187 appearances.[1][2][6][7][8]

International career

Rosato also played 37 matches for the Italy national football team from 1965 to 1973.[9] An important member of the Italian national side, he gave one of his best performances during his debut under manager Edmondo Fabbri in 1966, in a 1–1 away draw against West Germany; after the match, he was dubbed the “Hammer of Hamburg” (Il Martello d'Amburgo) by the media, due to his tenacity and determination throughout the match. He participated in two World Cups (1966 and 1970), where is widely remembered for an important goal-line clearance on Gerd Müller in Italy's 4–3 semi-final win over West Germany, which is known as "the Match of the Century".[4][10] Rosato was also a member of the team that lost 4–1 to Brazil in the 1970 FIFA World Cup Final; after the tournament he was elected the best central defender of the tournament.[11] At the end of the game he swapped shirts with Pelé. He sold the shirt for a record £157,750 at auction in 2002.[12][13] was also part of the Italian team that won the 1968 UEFA European Football Championship and the Gold Medal at the 1963 Mediterranean Games.[1][7]

Style of play

A powerful, consistent, hard-tackling, and tenacious man-marking centre-back, Rosato is regarded as one of the greatest and most complete Italian defenders of all time, due to his strong performances throughout his career. In addition to his tough, determined, physical, and aggressive style of play, he was also extremely composed and elegant on the ball, due to his notable technical ability and balance; he was also known for his commanding influence on the pitch.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Personal life

Rosato was frequently known by his team-mates and the media as "Angel Face" (Faccia d'Angelo) under manager Nereo Rocco, due to his delicate, handsome physical features, which were thought to contrast with his determination and ruggedness on the pitch. Rosato is born on the same day as his Milan team-mate and "twin", as he was known, Gianni Rivera.[1][3][6]

Rosato died on 20 June 2010, at the age of 66, after struggling with a lengthy illness; after news of his death was aired, the Italian team wore black armbands in memory of Rosato in their 2010 FIFA World Cup game against New Zealand later that day.[4][5][14]







  • A.C. Milan Hall of Fame[1]
  • Medaglia d'oro al valore atletico[7]


  1. "A.C. Milan Hall of Fame: Roberto Rosato". Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  2. "Addio a Rosato, Faccia d'angelo uno dei più forti difensori italiani". (in Italian). Il Messaggero. 20 June 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  3. "Addio a Rosato, stopper implacabile dalla faccia d'angelo". (in Italian). Il Sole 24 Ore. 20 June 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  4. "Addio al grande Rosato Fece volare Milan e Italia". (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 20 June 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  5. "Lutto nel calcio: addio a Roberto Rosato" (in Italian). Tutto Sport. 20 June 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2016.[dead link]
  6. "Roberto Rosato" (in Italian). Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  7. "Roberto Rosato". (in Italian). CONI. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  8. "Rosato, Roberto" (in Italian). Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  9. "Nazionale in cifre: Rosato, Roberto". (in Italian). FIGC. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  10. Roberto RosatoFIFA competition record (archived)
  11. "Italia in lutto, è morto Rosato". (in Italian). Sport Mediaset. 20 June 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  12. Retrieved 19 June 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. Italy to honor Rosato against New Zealand. Usatoday.Com (2010-06-20). Retrieved on 2015-07-18.