Alfredo Foni

Italy national football team Giovanni Trapattoni 1938 FIFA World Cup

Alfredo Foni
Alfredo Foni (ca. 1930s–40s).jpg
Foni in the early 1930s–40s
Personal information
Date of birth (1911-01-20)20 January 1911
Place of birth Udine, Italy
Date of death 28 January 1985(1985-01-28) (aged 74)
Place of death Lugano, Switzerland
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Playing position(s) Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1927–1929 Udinese
1929–1931 Lazio
1931–1934 Padova
1934–1947 Juventus
National team
1936–1942 Italy 23 (0)
Teams managed
1947–1948 Venezia
1948–1949 Chiasso
1950–1951 Sampdoria
1953–1954 Inter
1954–1958 Italy
1960–1961 Roma
1961 Chiasso
1964–1967 Switzerland
1968–1969 Inter
1970–1971 Bellinzona
1972–1973 Mantova
1974–1975 Lugano
1976–1977 Lugano
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Alfredo Foni (Italian pronunciation: [alˈfreːdo ˈfɔːni]; 20 January 1911 – 28 January 1985) was an Italian footballer in the 1930s and later on a coach, who played as a defender. He is one of only four players to have won both an Olympic gold medal and the FIFA World Cup with the Italy national football team.

Club career

Foni was born in Udine, and he made his professional debut with local club Udinese at the age of 16, in 1927, in the Prima Divisione (the predecessor to the Italian Serie A); he later moved to Lazio in 1929. He later moved to Padova for a brief stint after a few seasons in Roma.

Foni later transferred to Juventus in 1934, replacing Virginio Rosetta. Along with teammate Pietro Rava at the Turin club, he formed one of the best defensive partnerships in Italy, and in the world, as they went on to win the 1936 Summer Olympics and 1938 FIFA World Cup with Italy, as well as the 1935 League title with Juventus, as well as two Coppa Italia titles in 1938 and 1942. He remained with the club until 1947, and between 1934 and 1947, he never missed a single match for seven consecutive seasons.

In total, he made 266 League appearances with Juventus, and 370 total appearances in Serie A, after making his debut in the competition on 2 February 1930, with Lazio, against Pro Vercelli. He moved to play with Chiasso during the 1948–49 season, making only three appearances in the league, before retiring.[1][2]

International career

Foni made his international debut with Italy on 3 August 1936, at the Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, in a 1–0 win over the United States, helping Italy to win a gold medal in the competition.[2]

He became a permanent member of the starting line-up at the 1938 FIFA World Cup, replacing Roma full-back Eraldo Monzeglio, starting alongside his Juventus team-mate Rava, and helping Italy to defend their World Cup title. He ended his international career in 1942, with 23 appearances; along with Pietro Rava, Sergio Bertoni, and Ugo Locatelli, Foni is one of only four Italian players ever to win both the Olympic tournament and the World Cup.[3][4]

Coaching career

Following his retirement, he coached in Italy and Switzerland, although Italy failed to qualify for the 1958 World Cup.[5] He won two consecutive scudetti with FC Internazionale in 1953 and 1954, and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup with Roma in 1961. He later coached Switzerland in the 1966 FIFA World Cup.

Style of management

Foni is known for having used the catenaccio tactic successfully during his time as Inter's manager in the 1950s; unlike Nereo Rocco's version of the system, however, Foni's teams's strong defensive play off the ball did not limit the offensive manner in which his team played while in possession of the ball. In his system, his team's right winger, Gino Armano, would drop back to mark the opposing the team's left winger (essentially acting as a tornante), allowing Ivano Blason, the right-back, to shift across and act as a sweeper and clear balls away.[6][7][8][9][10][11]


Foni died in Lugano, Switzerland.




Foni (standing, centre) with Juventus in the 1940–41 season








  1. ^ "Alfredo Foni". Archived from the original on 8 May 2008.
  2. ^ a b "Foni, Alfredo". (in Italian). Enciclopedia del Calcio. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Capitolo VIII: Ritratti dei Campioni del Mondo: 1938 Italia" (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Nazionale in cifre: Foni, Alfredo". (in Italian). FIGC. Archived from the original on 26 November 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Switzerland - Trainers of First and Second Division Clubs". 20 June 2007. Archived from the original on 27 June 2008.
  6. ^ Andrea Schianchi (2 November 2014). "Nereo Rocco, l'inventore del catenaccio che diventò Paròn d'Europa" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Storie di schemi: l'evoluzione della tattica" (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  8. ^ "Nereo Rocco" (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  9. ^ Damiani, Lorenzo. "Gipo Viani, l'inventore del "Vianema" che amava il vizio e scoprì Rivera". Il Giornale (in Italian). Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  10. ^ Chichierchia, Paolo (8 April 2013). "Piccola Storia della Tattica: la nascita del catenaccio, il Vianema e Nereo Rocco, l'Inter di Foni e di Herrera (IV parte)" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 20 August 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  11. ^ Wilson, Jonathan (2009). Inverting The Pyramid: The History of Soccer Tactics. London: Orion. pp. 159–66. ISBN 978-1-56858-963-3. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  12. ^ "1938 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team". Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2015.