Salvatore Schillaci, the story of the scorer that nobody saw coming

The sporting life of salvatore schillaci It is a clear sign that you have to live for today, because yesterday is not always the best presentation, nor is tomorrow the ideal future. And Toto Schillaci, who was summoned almost on time to be part of the Italian squad nothing less than in the World Cup that was being played in that country, he turned out to be the great figure.

If the commonplace says that “goals are love”, Salvatore conquered the hearts of all Italians and sustained them the illusion of a title that did not come. and he stayed in history as the scorer that nobody saw coming because, in a way, no one was very clear about where it came from.

Sicilian born in December 1964, he was always a player of the Italian rise, more precisely from Messina, a club that knew how to have a few years of resonance in Serie A but that today literally does not exist, because in 2021 it disappeared. Quite a parable in the case of Toto, who was a forward with several goals converted between 1983 and 1989. And that was when the powerful Juventus put his eye on him and Toto started what would be the best year of his life.

Salvatore Schillaci: the scorer who saved Italy but was not enough to make it champion

When he arrived at Juventus in 1989, although he had a good scoring record in Serie B on his resume, he fought her from behind to win a place in the Vecchia Signora. In Italian soccer royalty Toto was a commoner, but ended up being a Cinderella: he scored 15 goals and finished fourth in the scoring charts, which he led Marco Van Basten (19 goals), followed by Roberto Baggio (17) and the captain of the team that won the Scudetto. Yes, Diego Armando Maradona (16).

Even so, many were surprised that the coach Azeglio Vicini called him up to play in the World Cup, because despite his good season, Toto was still seen as a goalscorer in promotion football. However, in the 1990 World CupItaly had in Schillaci the Salvatore “of the homeland”, as the press baptized him as the games followed one another and the striker put out the fires with goals.

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He came on in the second half in his debut against Austria (by Andrea Carnevale, Maradona’s teammate at Napoli) and scored the 1-0 win; the second goal was made in the third game of the first phase, against Czechoslovakia, when he was already a starter. By that time, Schillaci went from expectation to reality.

Salvatore Toto Schillaci was the top scorer for Italy in the 1990 World Cup and the big surprise, since he didn’t have much of a background in big football.

And he confirmed it in the round of 16, against Uruguay, where he converted the first of his team’s two goals and the same in the quarterfinals, against the Republic of Ireland, against which he scored his fourth goal in the World Cup, so that Italy won again with another austere result.

Five games (three as a starter) and four goals converted, stopped talking about him as a promotion player so that there will be talk of the scorer of Italy. And he confirmed it in the semifinal with Argentina, when he opened the scoring for his team. Everything was happiness but that night in Naples, San Genaro returned to be faithful to Maradona and Argentina took Italy out of the World Cup on penalties.

There was no consolation for the Italian tifosi, disappointed at not reaching the World Cup final they had organized. Although for Toto things were not bad at all. On the contrary: for the game for third place, he scored the winning goal from a penalty (2-1) six minutes from the end of the game. with six goalsToto, that goal scorer of the promotion, rounded off his 15 minutes of well-earned fame in elite football and he took the gold booty for being the World Cup goalscorer.

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He continued at Juventus for a couple more years without much to show, the same as in the 1992/93 season, when he was bought by Inter. It was his last performance as a prince before becoming a pumpkin when, leaning on his World Cup scorer badge, in 1993 he went to play Japanese soccer where he stayed until 1999, when he retired.

Salvatore Schillaci, the story of the scorer that nobody saw coming