Giuliano Sarti, the goalkeeper of the Internazionale Milano side that won the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in 1964 and 1965, has died aged 83.
Capped eight times by Italy, Sarti rose to prominence at Fiorentina but will best be remembered for his contribution to Helenio Herrera’s ‘Grande Inter’. He conceded just six goals in nine outings en route to glory in 1964, then kept out an attacking Benfica team featuring Eusébio and José Augusto Torres in the final 12 months later.
“Giuliano joined Inter when he was already an established and mature footballer,” said Sandro Mazzola, the star of that team. “He was a great goalkeeper and a great man. Alongside [libero Armando] Picchi he was the main secret behind the team’s defensive strength. I’m touched beyond words about his death.”
Famous for his unique style, the 1.78m-tall Sarti claimed two Scudettos at Inter to add to the 1955/56 title he had collected during a nine-year spell at Fiorentina. Sarti also enjoyed continental success in Tuscany as part of the side that beat Rangers 4-1 to lift the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961.
There was the occasional disappointment, too, as the Viola lost 2-0 to Real Madrid in the 1957 European Cup final and Inter were thwarted by Celtic’s Lisbon Lions in 1967. He remains the only Italian keeper to play in four European Cup finals.
Sarti was valiant in defeat, though, with Celtic’s Tommy Gemmell, who died in 2013, once saying: “He pulled off a save in the first half which I still rate as one of the best I’ve ever seen. Every player knows when he has hit his shot sweetly and you have an exhilarating feeling when the ball leaves your boot. That’s exactly how I felt … But Sarti threw himself to his left to push the ball away. I could hardly believe it.”
Sarti left the Nerazzurri in 1968 and had a season as deputy goalkeeper at Juventus before retiring from the professional game. He had a brief stint as coach of Lucchese in his native Tuscany. He died in Florence last night.