Perhaps more than other leagues, Serie A has been the backdrop to some great footballing families. Torino’s Valentino Mazzola’s death at Superga saw his son Sandro follow his father’s career path as he became an Inter icon. There’s the iconic image of Franco Baresi in the red and black of AC Milan and Giuseppe by his side in Inter’s blue and black. Simone Inzaghi’s achievements as a striker never quite matched up to his brother Filippo’s, but in the world of management, he’s doing better on the bigger stage of Lazio than his older brother who’s looking to lead the American-backed Venezia into Serie B. Nowadays, Federico Chiesa is the young hope for Fiorentina as he looks to match what his father Enrico did at Sampdoria, Parma and the Viola.
Yet, not all footballing families have it in them to morph into dynasties. So, what about those players with a famous name on the back of shirt who don’t quite match up to their more well-known relatives?
The midfielder born in 1945 certainly had big boots to fill as the younger brother of Sandro and the son of Valentino. A good player, his famous name was something of a burden early on as he struggled to live up to expectations. His youth career started at his brother’s club Inter but he only made one senior appearance for the Nerazzurri and he needed to go to down to Venezia in search of regular playing time.
He then became an important player for Lazio before going on loan to Fiorentina for the 1971-72 season before moving back to the Biancocelesti where he was part of the famously unhinged Lazio team which won the 1973-74 Scudetto although he did not feature at all. His managerial career started off in women’s football before bouncing around lower-league clubs like SPAL, Siena, Perugia and Venezia.
He became a famous figure after retirement and that was again linked to the legacy of his brother Sandro. He accused the great Inter side of Helenio Herrera of being in part fuelled by doped coffee and the club sued with Mazzola eventually winning out. Following his death in 2013, Sandro confirmed that he did remember that the squad would be handed coffees pre-match without knowing what was inside and the most famous Italian journalist Gianni Brera had previously addressed the topic of ‘additives’ in an age before a great knowledge of sports science.