Armando Picchi

Armando Picchi (Italian pronunciation: [arˈmando ˈpikki]; 20 June 1935 – 27 May 1971) was an Italian football player and coach. Regularly positioned as a sweeper, he captained the Internazionale side known as "La Grande Inter".

Armando Picchi
1962–63 Inter Milan - Armando Picchi.jpg
Picchi with Inter Milan in the 1962–63 season
Personal information
Date of birth (1935-06-20)20 June 1935
Place of birth Livorno, Italy
Date of death 27 May 1971(1971-05-27) (aged 35)
Place of death Sanremo, Italy
Height 1.71 m (5 ft 7 12 in)
Playing position(s) Defender/Libero
Youth career
1949–1954 Livorno
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1954–1959 Livorno 99 (5)
1959–1960 SPAL 27 (1)
1960–1967 Internazionale 206 (1)
1967–1969 Varese 46 (0)
Total 378 (7)
National team
1964–1968 Italy 12 (0)
Teams managed
1968–1969 Varese
1969–1970 Livorno
1970–1971 Juventus
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Club careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Born in Livorno, Picchi started his career by playing for A.S. Livorno Calcio. In 1959 he moved to SPAL, before later at the peak of his time, and most of his career, at Milanese powerhouse F.C. Internazionale Milano.

Captain of Grande InterEdit

Picchi in action as Inter Milan captain in the 1960s

A versatile defender, Picchi started to play in Internazionale as a right back, a role he previously held at SPAL. During the course of 1961–62 season, the legendary Grande Inter coach Helenio Herrera experimented by placing him as a libero. The new position was successful; he became an important figure in the team's strong defence, and indirectly set examples for teammates Tarcisio Burgnich and Giacinto Facchetti with his leadership. During that time, Internazionale was still captained by Bruno Bolchi.

When Bolchi moved to Verona, Picchi was then selected as team captain. It was in his captaincy that Internazionale evolved into the era famously known as Grande Inter, when they won three scudetti, two European Champions Cups and two Intercontinental Cups in the 1960s.[1][2]

Later careerEdit

After his time at Inter, he played for two seasons at Varese before retiring in 1969, at the age of 34.

International careerEdit

He made his debut for Italy several months after becoming Intercontinental champion with Internazionale, in a 6–1 victory over Finland in November 1964. However, Italy coach at that time, Edmondo Fabbri, deemed him unsuitable for the team's scheme, as he felt he was too defensive minded, and subsequently left him out of the squad for 1966 World Cup in England.[3]

Under the management of Ferruccio Valcareggi, he was regularly called for the qualifying matches of Euro 1968. Yet a fractured pelvis injury in a match against Bulgaria in April 1968, ruled him out of the competition, which concluded his last match with the Azzurri, totalling 12 international appearances.[4]

Style of playEdit

From right to left: Picchi in training for Nerazzurri in 1966 with teammate Luís Vinício and coach Helenio Herrera.

A quick, versatile, and tenacious defender, Picchi began his career playing as a forward or as a central defensive midfielder, before being moved to right back, where he excelled, but later came into his own in the libero role. Picchi was primarily an old-fashioned sweeper, who was mainly known for his defensive skills, strong physique, and ability to win back, intercept and clear loose balls as a last man, while he was not particularly good in the air, due to his small stature; despite his more traditional, defensive-minded interpretation of the role, he was, however, also occasionally capable of getting forward, and of carrying the ball out into midfield, or starting plays from the back-line, due to his good technique and ability to read the game. Regarded as one of Italy's greatest defenders, and as one of the best sweepers of his generation, he was highly regarded for his tactical intelligence as well as vocal leadership on the pitch, and was known for his ability to organise the back-line and motivate his teammates.[3][5][6][7][8][9]

Coaching career and deathEdit

Picchi as Juventus coach in the 1970–71 season

After his playing career was over, Picchi pursued a coaching career in 1969; he went on to coach Varese, Livorno, and then Juventus, until 16 February 1971, when he was hospitalised because of cancer, which ended his coaching career prematurely. He died three months later, at the age of 36, due a tumour in his sixth left rib.[6][7]


After his death in 1971, a memorial tournament, Memorial Armando Picchi, was played in his honour.[10] On 21 October of the same year, the football club Armando Picchi Calcio was founded in his memory.[11]

As of 1990, the football stadium of Livorno, his hometown club, is named after him.[8]





  1. ^ "Armando Picchi, archive". 10 July 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  2. ^ "La leggenda della Grande Inter" [The legend of the Grande Inter] (in Italian). Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b Mario Gherarducci (25 May 2001). "Picchi, il battitore libero che mandava in crisi il Mago" (in Italian). Il Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Nazionale in cifre: Picchi, Armando". (in Italian). FIGC. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  5. ^ Mario Sconcerti (23 November 2016). "Il volo di Bonucci e la classifica degli 8 migliori difensori italiani di sempre" (in Italian). Il Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Fabio Monti. "PICCHI, Armando" (in Italian). Treccani: Enciclopedia dello Sport. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Armando Picchi: storia di un eroe malinconico" (in Italian). Tutto Calciatori. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  8. ^ a b Simone Bernabei (20 June 2016). "Armando Picchi, il libero livornese capitano all'Inter con Helenio Herrera" (in Italian). Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Moratti ricorda Picchi "Era il perno dell'Inter"" (in Italian). 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  10. ^ Il 19 inizia il quadrangolare Armando Picchi - l'Unità Archived 2014-02-22 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Armando Picchi Calcio Livorno – La storia" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 7 May 2006. Retrieved 25 October 2018.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Bruno Bolchi
Internazionale captain
Succeeded by
Mario Corso