Showing posts with label Renato Cesarini. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Renato Cesarini. Show all posts

11 April 2024

Renato Cesarini - footballer and coach

Marchigiano who played for Italy and Argentina

Renato Cesarini in action for Juventus  against Milan in the 1933-34 season
Renato Cesarini in action for Juventus 
against Milan in the 1933-34 season
Renato Cesarini, an attacking footballer who played for the national teams of both Italy and Argentina and whose name became part of the Italian language, was born on this day in 1906 near Senigallia, the port and resort town in Marche.

Cesarini’s family emigrated to Buenos Aires when he was an infant. He acquired Argentine citizenship and began his playing career in the Buenos Aires area, playing for Chacarita Juniors at a time when football in the South American country was still an amateur game.

He returned to Italy in 1929 to sign for Juventus, with whom he won five consecutive league championships.  His habit of scoring late goals, both for club and country, prompted a journalist to begin describing the last minutes of a match as the zona Cesarini.

The phrase not only became part of the language of football was adopted more broadly in different contexts, such as when a deadline loomed to complete a task or an agreement in an industrial dispute was reached just in time to avert a scheduled strike.

After retiring as a player, Cesarini became a successful coach, managing clubs such as River Plate and Boca Juniors, among others in Argentina, and returning to Italy to coach Juventus. 

Cesarini’s story began in the tiny village of Castellaro, set in agricultural land about 12km (7 miles) from Senigallia and about 4km (2.5 miles) from the Adriatic coast. With little work available in the area, his family took the decision to emigrate when Renato was just a few months old.

Cesarini in the colours of his first club in Argentina, Chacarita Juniors
Cesarini in the colours of his first
club in Argentina, Chacarita Juniors
Growing up in the bustling neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires, Renato’s passion for football was ignited at an early age and his success with Chacarita Juniors, for whom he scored 57 goals in 93 games, brought his name to the attention of European scouts. 

His Italian roots made a return to Italy an attractive proposition, especially since it offered the opportunity to play as a professional for the first time. He signed for Juventus in 1929, made his debut against Napoli in March 1930 and quickly became a fixture in the team that became known as Juve del Quinquennio, coached by Carlo Carcano, who were winners of the scudetto - the Italian Serie A championship - for five seasons in a row between 1930 and 1935. 

It was a record that was equalled twice - by Torino in the 1940s and Internazionale in the 2000s - but not surpassed until the Juventus of Massimiliano Allegri became champions in 2016, the sixth consecutive Serie A title in a run of nine in a row begun by Allegri’s predecessor Antonio Conte and completed by his successor, Maurizio Sarri.

An attacking player who could operate in midfield or as a striker, Cesarini scored 46 times in 128 Serie A matches in the black and white stripes of the Juventus shirt. He was top-scorer in the 1932 edition of the Coppa Mitropa, a forerunner of the European Cup that brought together the champions and runners-up from the Italian, Austrian, Hungarian and Czech championships. Cesarini scored five goals but the competition was won by the Serie A runners-up, Bologna.

Cesarini had already played for Argentina twice in the 1920s but with Italy on his birth certificate he qualified to turn out for the azzurri as well, which he did 11 times between 1931 and 1934 under coach Vittorio Pozzo.

The Juventus team that were crowned Serie A winners
in 1935. Cesarini is second from the right in the front row 
After the fifth Juventus title, Cesarini returned to Argentina to play and then coach. He had immediate success with River Plate, where he coached the iconic team known as La Máquina, which is still celebrated for its fluid, attacking style of play, winning the Argentine championship in 1941 and 1942. Juventus quickly tempted him back as coach, although his period on the touchline in Turin coincided with the peak years of Grande Torino and he had to be content with Juventus finishing runners-up to their city rivals in each of his three seasons as coach.

Later he would return to Juventus as technical director for the 1959-60, working alongside coach Carlo Parola as the Piemontese club completed a league-and-cup double for the first time in their history, thanks in no small part to the 28 goals scored by Omar Sivori, another Argentine-Italian dual international who had been Cesarini’s protégé at River Plate.

Cesarini ended his career with a brief stint as head coach of the Argentina national team. He died in 1969 at the age of 62, not long after finishing his career.

In 1975, a football club - Club Renato Cesarini - and training academy in Argentina was founded and named in his honour by former members of the Argentina national team.

The art nouveau pier, known as the Rotonda a Mare, is a feature of Senigallia's long, golden beach
The art nouveau pier, known as the Rotonda a Mare,
is a feature of Senigallia's long, golden beach
Travel tip:

Senigallia, the nearest sizeable town to the village where Cesarini was born, is a port and resort of around 44,000 inhabitants famous for its 13km (8 miles) of golden sandy beach known as the Spiaggia di Veluto - the Velvet Beach - which attracts thousands of visitors each year. The beach is punctuated by a small harbour and by the Rotonda a Mare, an art nouveau pier designed by the engineer Enrico Cardelli and opened in 1933, replacing a previous structure destroyed in World War One.  Although much of present-day Senigallia is modern, some relics of its historical past remain, notably the Rocca Roveresca, a castle of Gothic origins that was restored in 1492, built on a square plan with four round towers.

The 18m-high Roman Arch of Trajan still stands guard over the entrance to Ancona's harbour
The 18m-high Roman Arch of Trajan still stands
guard over the entrance to Ancona's harbour 
Travel tip:

Senigallia and Castellaro fall within the province of Ancona, a bustling port with a population of almost 102,000. Although the area around the port has an industrial feel, there are some notable beaches nearby and a good deal of history in the older part of the city, bearing witness to its Greek and Roman past. The 18m(59ft)-high Arch of Trajan, built in honour of the emperor who built the city’s harbour, is regarded as one of the finest Roman monuments in the Marche region. Ancona’s harbour contains the Lazzaretto, a pentagonal building constructed on an artificial island in the 18th century as a quarantine station designed to protect the city from diseases carried by infected travellers.

Also on this day:

1512: The Battle of Ravenna

1514: The death of painter and architect Donato Bramante

1890: The birth of dictator’s wife Rachele Mussolini

1987: The death of writer and Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi