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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Nello Governato

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

Nello Governato, “Il Professore” (The Professsor), was one of the pillars of the Lazio squad in the 1960s.

Source Wikipedia


Born in Turin on September 14 1938, he started his career in the Torino youth team, playing sometimes as centre forward and sometimes in midfield. In 1957-58 he was sold to Como in Serie B where he stayed for four very productive years.


Lazio set eyes on him and he joined the good side of the Tiber in 1961 for Lazio’s first year of Serie B. But it was a jinxed season. Managers coming and going, Lazio’s too many ups and downs and then there was the famous ghost goal.


Lazio had to play Napoli at the Stadio Flaminio on March 4 1962. It was a big match, if Lazio had won the immediate return in Serie A would be downhill from then on. In the 76th minute the referee Iginio Rigato, gave a free kick to Lazio. Gianni Seghedoni with a splendid shot put the ball in the back of the net. The Lazio players and fans celebrated, the Napoli players despaired. Rigato laughed. “It’s not a goal, the ball went out”. There was a hole in the net and the ball went right through it. Lazio protested but there was nothing the players could do. The Rai TV footage demonstrated the referee’s mistake and Lazio appealed to the Lega Calcio, but the game’s result remained 0-0. The ref never admitted his mistake. Lazio missed out on promotion by one point, Napoli went into Serie A thanks to that point.


In that season Governato suffered three managerial changes and the fact that he played as centre forward instead of playmaker. All this changed in the next season, when new Manager Juan Carlos Lorenzo decided to use Governato in his more natural role of playmaker.


He had a great ability to read games and situations as well pass the ball with both feet precisely and intelligently to his fellow players. He was also very good at man marking. The star midfield players of the 1960s always had problems when they had to play against him. He was never nasty or rough, always elegant in the way he played, hence the nickname “The Professor”.


He was so good, that when Inter called, Lazio, who never had much money, could not say no to Angelo Moratti so in 1966 they sold him. However, Governato had a very hard time in finding a way into a team full of players with strong personalities (he never played a game for Inter) and in November the Nerazzurri sold him to Vicenza where at least he was able to play.


Lazio called him back in 1967 and he stayed for another four years until the club let him go as a free agent when Tommaso Maestrelli arrived. The maestro wanted to work with a clean slate so three of the older players, Governato, Giancarlo Morrone and Rino Marchesi, were allowed to go.


He played the last few years of his career with Savona in Serie C.


After football he studied to become Sports Director and worked for Lazio for a couple of years from 1983. He was later at Bologna, Juventus and Fiorentina. In the 1990s, Sergio Cragnotti asked him to make Lazio the strongest team in the world and that is exactly what he did. He left when the Cragnotti era ended.


Governato was not just able with the ball but also with the pen. He became journalist and worked for Tuttosport newspaper. He also wrote books. The first one in the 1970s and the others once he stopped working for Lazio.


A Second book, Gioco Sporco “Dirty Play” of 2004, anticipated the events that would lead to the Calciopoli scandal of 2006. He also wrote about Matthias Sindelar, the Austrian footballer who refused to play for Germany and the Anschluss and one about Angelo Vassalo, the Mayor of a small town near Salerno killed by the Camorra.


Nello Governato died on June 8 2019, aged 80.


He played 264 games for Lazio (131 In Serie A, 105 in Serie B, 14 in Coppa Italia, two in the Fairs Cup, 2 in the Mitropa Cup, 4 in the Anglo-Italian Cup and six in the Cup of the Alps) and scored 17 goals (9 in Serie A, 7 in Serie B and one in Coppa Italia).


Appearances for Lazio

Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Serie B

Coppa Italia

Fairs Cup

Mitropa Cup

Anglo-Italian Cup

Cup of the Alps

1961-62

11 (2)

-

11 (2)

-

-

-

-

-

1962-63

36

-

35

1

-

-

-

-

1963-64

26 (1)

26 (1)

-

-

-

-

-

-

1964-65

32 (5)

30 (4)

-

2 (1)

-

-

-

1965-66

30 (2)

27 (2)

-

3

-

-

-

-

1967-68

32 (2)

-

30 (2)

2

-

-

-

-

1968-69

31 (3)

-

29 (3)

2

-

-

-

-

1969-70

34 (1)

24 (1)

-

1

-

2

4

3

1970-71

32 (1)

24 (1)

-

3

2

-

-

3

Total

264 (17)

130 (9)

105 (7)

14 (1)

2

2

4

6

Sources





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