Greatest Footballers Of All Time | Top 50 List

18. Giuseppe Meazza

The bloke after whom the San Siro is officially named. Italy coach Vittorio Pozzo said of Meazza, “To have him in your team meant to start 1-0 up”.  Rejected by Milan at the age of 13 for being too skinny, he was picked up by cross-city rivals Inter.  He repaid them by delivering three national titles and played a key role in two World Cup wins for the Italian national side, including the controversial 1934 tournament hosted by Mussolini’s fascist regime.

Inter fans who’d worshipped him between 1927 and 1940 were furious when he briefly played for deadly rivals Milan during the Second World War; some never forgave him despite his return to remain a part of Inter until his death in 1979.

Career highlight: Meazza scored twice in four minutes against England in the infamous ‘Battle of Highbury’ just after the 1934 World Cup. For the rest of his life, he regretted not completing his hat-trick.

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