Valentino Mazzola

Born at Cassano d'Adda in the province of Milan, Valentino Mazzola is known as one of the legendary Milanese football players who died in the infamous disaster involving a Superga aircraft in the 1940s. Mazzola first became interested in pursuing a career as a football player when he noticed a team playing near the factory in which he was working. Although Mazzola applied to the team almost immediately, he was accepted just before the outbreak of World War II. In 1939 Mazzola had to quit the team in order to join the Italian Army. While stationed near Venice, he began attending the trainings of a local football team, Venezia AC, but his initial achievements were rather underwhelming. Mazzola's first break came in 1941, when he led the team to victory in the Coppa Italia Final. Soon, the young player caught the attention of a rival football team from Torino, who eventually bought Mazzola out of his team. With Torino, Mazzola enjoyed a string of successes, winning the League title in 1943, 1946 and 1948. In 1949, Mazzola's team won the last title they would get until the mid-1970s. During his eight-year career at Venezia and Torino, the celebrated player scored 109 goals. On May 4, 1949, when Mazzola and his team were flying back from a game in Lisbon, their Superga aircraft crashed, killing all but one man on board.