One of the championship's protagonists has died

“All of Cagliari Calcio mourns the death of Comunardo Niccolai, the unforgettable protagonist of the 1970 Scudetto. Niccolai leaves behind the memory of a great sportsman, a polite, kind, respectful, friendly man who knew how to make himself loved. Hello Communard.” Cagliari Calcio, with a post on its Instagram profile, thus remembered the former defender on the day of his death. A historic stopper for the Sardinians who were Italian champions in 1970, he was hospitalized at the San Jacopo hospital in Pistoia following an illness, he was 77 years old.

He arrived at the Rossoblu in 1964, initially as a reserve for the more experienced Vescovi, and in 1968 he definitively took possession of the number 5 jersey. He remained at Cagliari until 1976, before moving to Perugia and ending his career at Prato. With Cagliari he played over 270 matches, scoring 6 goals. After hanging up his boots, he began his career as a coach in the FIGC: he was a popular coach of the Italian youth team, introducing players who would go on to write the history of the national team, such as Gianluigi Buffon and Francesco Totti. In 1993-94 he managed the senior women's national team. He made three appearances for the national team, with which he took part in the 1970 World Cup.

Comunardo Niccolai (right) with Francesco Rocca at the 1988 Seoul Olympics The Press

Comunardo Niccolai (right) with Francesco Rocca at the 1988 Seoul Olympics

Considered the best goalkeeper in the history of the Rossoblu, he also wore the national team jersey 3 times. Niccolai was born in Uzzano in the province of Pistoia on December 15, 1946, his baptismal name was chosen by his father, who called him Comunardo in homage to the Paris Commune. He started playing in the Montecatini training center and in 1963 he joined Torres, in Serie C. Thanks to the excellent season, he was reported to Cagliari and, as the club writes in its memoir “Niccolai confirmed his skills also in the rossobl├╣, even if he had to initially serve as a reserve to the more experienced bishops”. After Vescovi's departure in 1968, he became the owner of the number 5 jersey. He remained at Cagliari, as mentioned, until 1976 before moving to Perugia and ending his career at Prato in Serie C.

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