074. Roberto Bettega
Italian striker Roberto Bettega is one of Juventus’ all-time greatest players. One of the finest goalscorers in Italy at his peak, his fifteen year spell at the club saw great domestic success, and he went on to become one of the most popular players at Juventus even after his retirement.
Having come into Juventus’ first team squad in the 1968-69, Bettega was initially unable to break into the team and so in 1969 he was sent out on loan to Serie B club Varèse. In his one season with the club he scored 13 league goals, and helped Varèse to win promotion to Serie A. Recalled to Juventus, he made his first team debut in the autumn of 1970 and went on to become one of most important players in a decade of great success.
Bettega won Serie A Championship medals in 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977 and 1978, as well as the U.E.F.A. Cup in 1977, and by the time of the 1978 World Cup in Argentina he was leading the attack for the Italian national team. He played in all seven games and scored two goals for Italy in that World Cup as they eventually finished fourth.
Over the next few years domestic success continued for Juventus, and Bettega would go on to add two more league titles and two Italian Cups to his list of medals, as well as finishing as Serie A’s leading scorer in 1980. Having played in the Italian team that finished fourth again in the European Championships in 1980, a bad knee injury robbed him of the chance to be a part of Italy’s World Cup winning team of 1982.
After spending a long time on the injury list, Bettega returned for one final season with Juventus in 1982-83 before moving on to North America for two seasons with the Toronto Blizzard, where he played in two North American Soccer League finals. Ending his playing career in 1984, he returned to Juventus to work behind the scenes, eventually becoming the club’s vice-president and enjoying more success with the club throughout the 1990s.