Giacomo Bulgarelli

Giacomo Bulgarelli (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdʒaːkomo bulɡaˈrɛlli]; 24 October 1940 – 12 February 2009) was an Italian international footballer who played as a midfielder. Regarded as one of Italy's greatest ever midfielders, Bulgarelli spent his entire club career with Italian side Bologna, where he also served as the team's captain; an important figure with the club, he is the team's record all-time appearance holder, and won the Serie A title with the Bolognese side in 1964, among other trophies. Following his retirement, he had a brief spell in America with the Hartford Bicentennials in 1975, and later also had a successful career as football commentator in the 90s.

Giacomo Bulgarelli
Bologna FC - Giacomo Bulgarelli.jpg
Bulgarelli with Bologna
Personal information
Full name Giacomo Bulgarelli
Date of birth (1940-10-24)24 October 1940
Place of birth Portonovo di Medicina, Italy
Date of death 12 February 2009(2009-02-12) (aged 68)
Place of death Bologna, Italy
Position(s) Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1959–1975 Bologna 391 (43)
1975 Hartford Bicentennials 2 (0)
Total 393 (43)
National team
1962–1968 Italy 29 (7)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

At international level, Bulgarelli represented Italy at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome,[1] where the team finished in fourth place, and in two FIFA World Cups; he made his senior international debut at the 1962 edition of the tournament, and marked the occasion with two goals, becoming Italy's youngest ever World Cup goalscorer. He was also a member of the Italian side that won UEFA Euro 1968.

Club careerEdit

Bulgarelli was born in Portonovo di Medicina, Bologna.[2]

Bulgarelli (kneeling, second from left) with the 1963–64 rossoblù Italian champions

His entire Italian club career was spent with Bologna, for whom he also served as captain.[3] He made 391 Serie A appearances for the club between 1958–59 and 1974–75, as well as 54 in the Coppa Italia, 3 in the European Cup, 2 in the Cup Winners' Cup, 20 in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, 4 in the Mitropa Cup, and 2 in the Anglo-Italian League Cup; he scored 58 goals in all competitions, 43 of which came in Serie A.[4][3]

He won the title with the club in 1964, after they defeated Herrera's "Grande" Inter Milan 2–0 in a play-off match; this was the only time in history that the league title had been decided in such a manner.[5] He also won the Coppa Italia twice with the club during the 1970s, as well as a Mitropa Cup and an Anglo-Italian League Cup.[3][6] With 488 appearances in all competitions, he is Bologna's record all-time appearance holder.[3][7]

He finished his career with a brief spell in 1975 with the Hartford Bicentennials in the USA.[4]

International careerEdit

Bulgarelli played three matches for Italy at the 1960 Summer Olympics.[8]

Bulgarelli with the Italian national team in 1965

He made his senior debut for the Italian national team at the 1962 World Cup, on 7 June, scoring two goals in a 3–0 win in Italy's final group match against Switzerland, which were unable to prevent the team from being eliminated in the first round. With these goals, he became the youngest ever goalscorer for Italy at the FIFA World Cup, at the age of 21 years and 226 days.[9] He played all three matches for Italy at the 1966 World Cup.[2] Throughout the tournament, he also featured as the team's captain ahead of Sandro Salvadore in the team's infamous and historic 1–0 defeat to North Korea in Middlesbrough, on 19 July, which led to the Italians' elimination from the World Cup. During the match, Bulgarelli was forced off due to a knee injury when the score was still 0–0, leaving the Italians a man down for the remainder of the match, as substitutions were not permitted at the time.[3][5][10] His only other appearance as Italy's captain came on 18 June 1966, in a friendly match against Austria.[11]

He was a member of the Italy squad that won the 1968 UEFA European Championship on home soil,[3] where his leadership and experience played an important role in the team's success, even though he did not appear throughout the final stages of the tournament; his last international appearance came against Romania, in 1967.[5][11] He made a total of 29 appearances for the Italy national side, scoring 7 times.[3][10]

Style of playEdit

Bulgarelli was a tenacious, hard-working, and complete midfielder, who was known for his positional sense, consistency, and footballing intelligence, as well as his influence and leadership on the pitch. In addition to being adept defensively as a ball-winner, where he excelled at breaking down plays and subsequently distributing the ball to teammates, he also possessed excellent vision, passing ability and technical skills, and was therefore also capable of setting the tempo of his team in midfield as a playmaker. He was also known for his offensive attributes, which saw him score several goals from midfield. Fabio Capello described him as Italy's greatest ever midfielder.[3]

After retirementEdit

After his retirement from professional football, he worked as a sporting director, and he also had a successful career as a football commentator and pundit, in particular during the 90s, working with RAI, Mediaset, and La Gazzetta dello Sport; he also partnered up with fellow pundit Massimo Caputi to provide the Italian commentary for the EA Sports FIFA video game series from 1998–2002.[3][12]

He died in Bologna, on 12 February 2009, after a lengthy illness.[3][6]

Outside of footballEdit

On 3 July 1968, Bulgarelli founded the Italian Footballers' Association (AIC), in Milan, along with several fellow footballers, such as Gianni Rivera, Sandro Mazzola, Ernesto Castano, Giancarlo De Sisti, and Giacomo Losi, as well as the recently retired Sergio Campana, also a lawyer, who was appointed president of the association.[13]








  1. ^ "Giacomo Bulgarelli". Olympedia. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Giacomo Bulgarelli". Olympic Sports. Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 3 December 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Addio Bulgarelli, bandiera del Bologna" (in Italian). Il Corriere della Sera. 13 February 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b Bulgarelli's stats by season at enciclopediadelcalcio (in Italian)
  5. ^ a b c "L'Italia piange Bulgarelli" (in Italian). 13 February 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b CORRADO SANNUCCI (13 February 2009). "Morto Giacomo Bulgarelli storica bandiera del Bologna". La Repubblica (in Italian). L'Espresso. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  7. ^ "I Rossoblu di tutti i tempi" (in Italian). Bologna FC. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Giacomo Bulgarelli". FIFA Tournaments. FIFA. Archived from the original on October 12, 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Record e Curiosità" (in Italian). La Repubblica. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Nazionale in cifre: Bulgarelli, Giacomo" (in Italian). FIGC. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  11. ^ a b "La Figc ricorda Bulgarelli, campione azzurro scomparso cinque anni fa" (in Italian). FIGC. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  12. ^ "E' morto Giacomo Bulgarelli Con lui scudetto a Bologna" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 13 February 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  13. ^ "La storia". (in Italian). Associazione Italiana Calciatori. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  14. ^ "Hall of fame, 10 new entry: con Vialli e Mancini anche Facchetti e Ronaldo" [Hall of fame, 10 new entries: with Vialli and Mancini also Facchetti and Ronaldo] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 27 October 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2015.