Greatest Footballers Of All Time | Top 50 List

26. Valentino Mazzola

The captain of the fabled Grande Torino side that perished in the 1949 Superga air disaster, he led Il Toro to five consecutive championships scoring 102 goals from central midfield along the way.  Italian journalist Nino Nutrizio described Mazzola as “Captain Valentino… inspired, eccentric, spoilt, talkative, surly.”

An intensely private man but well aware of his own value, Mazzola frequently asked for more money and fell out regularly with team-mates, but the club president invariably backed his captain – basically because he was priceless. In return, Mazzola named his second son Ferruccio after the president.

Career highlight: Using his prodigious heading ability to great effect, he scored an outstanding 29 goals from central midfield in 1946/47, eight more than anyone else.

25. Carlos Alberto

Carlos Alberto was named in the preliminary squad for the 1966 World Cup but didn’t make the final 22.  Following Brazil’s elimination in the group stage in England, new boss Joao Saldanha made him captain.  He further developed – perfected, even – the tradition of the attacking full-back started by Nilton Santos a generation before as Brazil went on to lift the World Cup in 1970, finishing arguably the best goal the tournament has ever seen in the final against Italy.

Carlos Alberto also enjoyed success along with Pele at Santos, where he spent eight years and celebrated two Brazilian championships with five Sao Paulo State titles, and enjoyed further success in the NASL with New York Cosmos, playing alongside his friend, Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia.

Career highlight: His triumphant finish to the closing goal of Mexico 70 – a superb team goal from perhaps the greatest side ever assembled.

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