When Napoli signed football’s first million pound player

by | Jan 21, 2022 19:23

Today marks the 75th birthday of Giuseppe Savoldi, who became football’s first million pound player following his move from Bologna to Napoli.

The Italian forward broke through with his local side Atalanta in 1965 and he quickly established himself as a key player in the squad, scoring 17 league goals in 57 Serie A appearances. In the summer of 1968, three years after his debut with Atalanta, he joined Bologna in exchange for Brazilian striker Sergio Clerici and around €90,000.

Savoldi became a talismanic figure in the Emilia-Romagna capital, helping the team win two Coppa Italia and an Anglo-Italian League Cup during his seven years with the Rossoblu.

The Italian forward was Capocannoniere once and he was a consistent goalscorer for the club; over 299 appearances across all competitions, Savoldi scored 130 goals, scoring over double figures in five of his seven league campaigns.

In July 1975, Bologna finally sold their talisman, sending Savoldi to Napoli for two billion lira, or £1.2m. The deal was bitterly contested in the Campania capital, which was dealing with a severe economic crisis and recession, but eventually the transfer was concluded, making the Italian forward the first player to be sold for over a million pounds.

Savoldi spent four years with Napoli, from 1975 to 1979, and he helped the Partenopei win one Coppa Italia and one Anglo-Italian League Cup. He netted 77 goals across 162 appearances for the Neapolitans, being a popular figure at the club. During his time in Naples, Savoldi also tried his hand at music, releasing the single ‘La favola dei calciatori’, which was fairly well received by both critics and fans.

The Italian forward’s playing career finally came to a close in 1983, following brief returns to both Bologna and Atalanta. Savoldi could be considered one of Serie A’s forgotten stars, with the player having scored 168 goals in 402 league appearances, and today is the perfect time to remember his exploits both on and off the pitch.

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