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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Humberto Tozzi

Updated: Apr 13

Mad. Crazy. Lazy. Genius. These are four of the many words which fans and media used when they had to describe Humberto Tozzi. A centre-forward with great potential, he did not like to train and sometimes he did not even want to play, but he could change the course of a game in a second.

Source Wikipedia

To help understand the type of player he was, we can take as an example the game against Bologna on December 21, 1958. Humberto literally did not move for the entire game. If the ball came his way, he just let it pass. The entire Stadium was booing him and manager Bernardini did not know what to do (at that time you could not substitute players). Lazio fell behind at the end of the first half. In the 78th minute, quite by chance, the ball hit him and he woke up. He got the ball, dribbled the entire Bologna defence, the goalkeeper, and equalised. Ball back to the centre of the pitch, Tozzi got the ball and repeated what he did for the first goal. 2-1 for Lazio. Tozzi triumphs!!!

His career is interesting. Born in Sao Joao de Meriti near Rio de Janiero on April 4, 1934, he started showing promise in Rio de Janeiro’s team Sao Critstovao in 1950 and at 18 he was called to represent Brazil at the Helsinki Olympic Games where he scored the first ever Brazilian goal at the Olympics.

Back at home, in 1953 he moved to Palmeiras where he won the golden boot of the Sao Paolo league. He was called by the national team against Chile and played in the qualifiers of the Swiss World Cup. In the latter he played just one match, the last, when Brazil were eliminated by Hungary. In that match he was sent off. He won the golden boot again in 1954. In 1955 he scored his first and only goal for Brazil.

Lazio bought him from Palmeiras in 1956 and declared him oriundo (an immigrant with Italian ancestry, therefore not considered a foreign player). The Italian Federation was not particularly convinced but in the end Tozzi played his first game for Lazio in December.

He was a fundamental part of the Lazio team and formed a spectacular attacking partnership with Selmosson. He often had disagreements with managers, was always late for training, he loved spending money and loved partying. But he did score goals and was an exceptional player, so everything was forgotten and forgiven.

He played 103 games for Lazio (92 in Serie A and 11 in Coppa Italia) and scored 45 goals (32 in Serie A and 13 in Coppa Italia). He was a key member of the team that won the Coppa Italia in 1958, Lazio’s first ever national trophy.

He went back to Palmeiras in 1960, after refusing to be sold to Torino and despite Lazio offering him a big increase in wages. He won the Brazilian national championship in 1960 and was runner up in the Copa Libertadores the following year. Later in his career he played for Fluminense, Portuguesa and Olaria.

He died in 1980, at 46 years of age.

He will always be remembered as one of Lazio’s legendary players.

Lazio Career


Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia


19 (9)

19 (9)



31 (16)

25 (7)

6 (9)


37 (18)

33 (14)

4 (4)


16 (2)

15 (2)



103 (45)

92 (32)

11 (13)



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