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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Marco Ballotta

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

Marco Ballotta is the highlander of Italian football.

Born in Casalecchio di Reno on April 3, 1964, he started his football career in the youth teams of San Lazzaro and then with Bologna. In the 1982-83 season he played with Casalecchio and then went back to Bologna.


In October 1984 he signed for Modena. He stayed with them until November 1990 playing in Serie C1 and Serie B. After a brief stint with Cesena, where he debuted in Serie A, he signed for Parma where he stayed for three years winning a Coppa Italia, a Cup Winners Cup and a UEFA Super Cup. With Parma he was backup for Claudio Taffarel in his first year and Luca Bucci in his third, but in the second he played 30 games. After Parma he moved to Brescia for a year followed by two very successful seasons at Reggiana, in the first helping the club to promotion to Serie A.


He signed with Lazio in 1997 as backup for Luca Marchegiani. He did not play much but he was fundamental in a couple of decisive matches, most notably the game in Turin against Juventus in 2000. Lazio were six points behind Juve and needed a win to give them scudetto possibilities. The Biancocelesti won thanks to a Diego Simeone header and thanks to Ballotta’s great saves.


At the end of the scudetto season, Lazio invested in a new goalkeeper, Angelo Peruzzi, and Marchegiani became his deputy. Hence no more room for Ballotta who as a consequence signed for Inter. After a year in Milan he was back at Modena where he stayed for three seasons helping the team to a promotion in Serie A. In 2004-05 he signed with Treviso in Serie B and played most of the games.


He was back at Lazio in 2005 as third goalkeeper but Peruzzi was often injured and Matteo Sereni was not in such good shape so Ballotta managed to play 12 games the first season and 14 in the second. In his third and last year he took over goalkeeping duties from Fernando Muslera after the Uruguayan showed that he was not ready for Serie A.


In that year he set two records: the oldest player ever to play a Serie A game at 44 years old and 38 days (against Genoa on May 11, 2008) as well as the oldest player ever to play a Champion’s League game at 43 years of age and 252 days (against Real Madrid on December 11, 2007).


That season was his last in professional football, but he continued to play football at amateur level until way over 50.


He played 85 games for Lazio (61 in Serie A, 10 in Coppa Italia, 12 in Champions League, one in the Cup Winners Cup and one in the UEFA Cup) and won a Scudetto, two Coppa Italias, a Cup Winners Cup, a UEFA Super Cup and an Italian Super Coppa.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Cup Winners Cup

UEFA Cup

1997-98

2

1

-

-

-

1

1998-99

4

3

-

-

1

-

1999-00

14

9

1

4

-

-

2005-06

12

8

4

-

-

-

2006-07

14

11

3

-

-

-

2007-08

39

29

2

8

-

-

Total

85

61

10

12

1

1

Sources


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