Alessandro Altobelli was born on 28 November 1955 in Sonnino, a small town in the province of Latina. He is 62 today. He developed in Latina’s youth academy before making his debut for the club in Serie C1. He then moved to Brescia in 1974 and spent three seasons with the Rondinelle in Serie B as his growing reputation paved the way for a move to Inter.
In the eleven seasons he spent with the Nerazzurri, ‘Spillo’ won the Scudetto once in the 1979/80 season. He won the Coppa Italia twice (1977/78 and 1981/82), making a total of 466 appearances and scoring 209 goals as he became the second top goalscorer in club history behind only Giuseppe Meazza. He spent the 1988/89 season with Juventus before ending his career in Serie B with Brescia during the 1989/90 season.
His international career began with the 1980 European Championship when he was called up by Enzo Bearzot. He played twice in that tournament, including in the third place playoff against Czechoslovakia where he started for the first time before scoring his penalty in a shootout which Italy lost.
His first Italy goals came on his third appearance as he scored twice against Portugal in a friendly held in Genoa on 24 September 1980. He wouldn’t score after that game for his country until the 1982 World Cup final when he made it 3-0 at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium as the Azzurri went on to beat West Germany 3-1.
After becoming a World Champion in Spain, he took part in the next World Cup in Mexico where he scored four goals in four games. He also played at the 1988 European Championship where he made his final international appearance as Italy lost 2-0 to the USSR on 22 June in Stuttgart.
In total, Altobelli made 61 appearances and scored 25 times during his Italy career. He is the sixth most prolific scorer in the country’s history, level with Baloncieri and Inzaghi on 25 goals. Only Riva (35), Meazza (33), Piola (30), Del Piero and Baggio (27) have scored more than Altobelli for the Azzurri.
Fabio Grosso was born on 28 November 1977 in Rome and he turns 40 today. His professional career began with Chieti in Serie C2 before he moved up to the top flight in 2001 with Perugia. Two and a half seasons with the Umbrian side led to an international call-up and a move to Palermo where he helped the Sicilians return to Serie A after 31 years away.
His two seasons with the Rosanero ended with a World Cup triumph in Berlin in 2006 and he then moved to Inter over the summer. He stayed with the Nerazzurri for only one season where he won both the Scudetto and the Supercoppa Italiana before moving to Lyon. He won the Ligue 1 title, one French Supercup and the French Cup during his time in France. He ended his playing career with Juventus where he was part of the side which won the 2011-12 Serie A title.
As mentioned, his international career began while he was at Perugia. He made his debut on 30 April 2003 in Geneva during a 2-1 friendly win over Switzerland after coach Giovanni Trapattoni chose him as a starter. His first Italy goal came on 3 September 2005 in Glasgow during a 1-1 draw with Scotland in a World Cup qualifier.
The greatest moments of his career came during the 2006 World Cup. He scored the goal which broke the deadlock in Italy’s 2-0 semi-final win over Germany. Then, in the final, he scored the decisive penalty in the shootout to beat France and give Italy the fourth World Cup title in their history.
After playing a part in the 2008 European Championship and the 2009 Confederations Cup, Grosso’s international career drew to its conclusion with him making his 48th international appearance on 14 November 2009 in a goalless draw with the Netherlands during a friendly in Pescara.