Legendary former Inter and Fiorentina goalkeeper Giuliano Sarti has died at the age of 83 after a sudden illness.
The Italian international was the man between the posts for Helenio Herrera’s ‘Grande Inter’ winning two Scudetti and two European Cups with the Nerazzurri.
He was also a Fiorentina hero, helping the Viola to their first-ever Scudetto.
Having started his career in the youth sides of first San Matteo della Decima and then Centese, Sarti began his career with Bondenese.
After two seasons in Emilia-Romagna, he moved to Fiorentina at the age of just 22 ahead of the 1955-56 season.
With Sarti in goal, the Viola conquered the first Scudetto in their history, losing just one match which was against Genoa on the final day with the title already secured.
The goalkeeper conceded just 20 goals in the 34 League games that season.
The following campaign saw the Italian champions reach the European Cup final, but Fulvio Bernardini’s men were defeated by Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Sarti also won a Coppa Italia and the Cup Winners’ Cup with Fiorentina, before joining Inter in 1963.
It is popularly said in Italy that all Interisti can name by rote the team which made up the ‘Grande Inter’: Sarti, Burgnich, Facchetti, Bedin, Guarneri, Picchi, Jair, Mazzola, Peirò, Suarez, Corso.
The Nerazzurri swept all before them in the coming years, winning the Scudetto in 1965 and 1966, as well as the European Cup in 1964 and 1965 - each of those triumphs also followed by the European Cup.
The 1966-67 season brought heartbreak though, as Herrera’s men threw away the chance for a third consecutive Scudetto and a third European Cup in four years.
Though Sarti was excellent in the latter, Celtic’s ‘Lisbon Lions’ defeated the ‘Grande Inter’. Legend has it that the Scottish supporters gave the Inter goalkeeper a round of applause when they saw him in the airport after the match.
A rare mistake from Sarti in the final match of Serie A against Mantova also saw Juventus pip the Beneamata to the Scudetto by one point.
The goalkeeper spent another year with the Nerazzurri before winding down his career with a brief spell at Juventus and three seasons in Serie D with Unione Valdinievole.
A move into Coaching proved largely unsuccessful, but Sarti will always be remembered as the first name uttered by Inter fans when they recite their greatest team.
image via storiainter.com