Obituary: footballer Giampiero Boniperti

The footballer Giampiero Boniperti, who has died at 92, won 38 caps for Italy between 1947 and 1960 and played in both the 1950 and 1954 World Cup finals.

Giampiero Boniperti with Juventus teammates in December 1957. From left: Boniperti, Stivanello, Nay, Turchi and John Charles.
Giampiero Boniperti with Juventus teammates in December 1957. From left: Boniperti, Stivanello, Nay, Turchi and John Charles.

The footballer Giampiero Boniperti, who has died at 92, won 38 caps for Italy between 1947 and 1960 and played in both the 1950 and 1954 World Cup finals.

A long-time “golden boy” at Juventus, recognisable for his blue eyes and blond curls, he made 443 Serie A appearances for the club between 1946 and 1961, before becoming its chairman and an elected deputy in the European Parliament.

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Born in Barengo, north-west Italy, he was the son of the town mayor and joined Juventus after gaining experience with his local club, Momo, as centre-forward. From there, his rise to the top rank was swift. At 18 and playing for Juventus reserves, he scored seven goals, and by the end of the season he was in the first team and the national side.

But it was Juventus with which he was synonymous. He saw out his career there, and in tandem with the Leeds United legend and Welsh international John Charles, became its record goal-scorer.

When Charles left Elland Road for Italy in 1957, he and Boniperti, alongside Omar Sivori, formed a partnership known as the “magic trio” – each creating chances for the others.

In an age before football agents, it also fell to Boniperti to negotiate the players’ contracts on the club’s behalf, and his management acumen did not go unnoticed by the Agnelli family, which had founded the Fiat motor company and ran Juventus. When he stepped down as a player, they handed him an executive position as a director in the club’s management team, and by 1981 he was chairman of the board of directors.

From 1994 until 1999, Boniperti was elected as a deputy in the European Parliament with the centre-right wing party, Forza Italia.

Meanwhile, his grandson, Filippo, followed in his footsteps by playing for Juventus and the Italy under-19 team.

Boniperti is survived by his wife Rosi, two sons, a daughter and their families.