A one-club man throughout his career, Italian Giacinto Facchetti was one of the players who helped to redefine the role of full back through the 1960. He was one of the first to become involved in attacking play, to help to create goals and to score goals himself from open play. Born in Treviglio in 1942, he had initially played as a forward at youth level with local side Trevigliese, but when Internazionale coach Helenio Herrera brought him into the professional game in the 1960-61 season he converted Facchetti into a defender.
With Inter, Facchetti formed part of the ‘Grande Inter’ team which enjoyed huge success through the 1960s. He won his first league championship medal in 1963, making his international debut against Turkey in the same year. The following season, Inter became European champions for the first time by beating Real Madrid in the European Cup final, and went on to claim the Intercontinental Cup as well. They retained both trophies in 1965, after coming back from 3-1 down after the first leg to beat Liverpool in the European Cup semi final, Facchetti scoring the crucial goal to seal a 4-3 aggregate win.
Further Serie A titles were won in 1965 and 1966, and later in 1966 Facchetti experienced World Cup football for the first time. However, it was not a happy experience, as Italy were sensationally beaten by North Korea and went out in the first round. Redemption would come two years later, as Facchetti captained the side which won the European Championship in 1968. He narrowly missed out on lifting the World Cup as well in 1970, when Italy were beaten 4-1 by Brazil in the final in Mexico.
1971 brought a fourth league title, but this time Inter could not add the European Cup. They had previously lost the final to Celtic in 1967, and this time found Johan Cruijff’s Ajax too strong, losing 2-0. Facchetti appeared in his third World Cup in West Germany in 1974, but there was to be no repeat of the run to the final four years earlier as a defeat by Poland in their last group game sent Italy out on goal difference.
The final major honour of Facchetti’s career came in his last season with Inter, the Italian Cup in 1978. Following that success, he retired at the age of 36, after making 634 appearances for Inter. After his playing career, he stayed with Inter in a variety of roles eventually becoming club president in 2004. Sadly, his health was declining and after a battle with pancreatic cancer, Giacinto Facchetti died in 2006, aged 64. He was given the unprecedented honour of having his shirt number retired by Inter.