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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Octavio Fantoni

Octavio Fantoni was born in Belo Horizonte, on April 4, 1907.


In Brazil he was known as Nininho while in Italy he became Ottavio. He was known as Fantoni II because he had three cousins who were also footballers.


Source Lazio Wiki

In Brazil he played for Palestra Itália (the club now owned by Ronaldo). He won two Mineiro titles with "A Raposa" (The Fox) and in 1930 he was signed by Lazio along with one of his cousins, Joāo Fantoni I.


In Rome he immediately made it into the first team squad. In 1930-31 the manager was first Ferenc Molnár, then Cesare Migliorini and finally Amílcar. Lazio finished 8th and Ottavio played 10 league games. Lazio's best results were beating Ambrosiana Inter 1-0 and Juventus 2-1 both at home while both derbies ended up in draws.


In 1931-32 Lazio finished 13th under player-manager Amílcar. Ottavio played more regularly making 28 league appearances with 2 goals (Triestina and the winner against Fiorentina). Lazio's best result was a 2-1 away win at Juventus while both derbies were lost.


In 1932-33 the manager was Austrian Karl Stürmer and Lazio finished 10th. Ottavio played 26 league games with 1 goal (Pro Patria). He was also joined by another of the cousins, Leonízio Fantoni III. Lazio’s best results were beating Inter 2-1 in Milan, the first derby 2-1, Alessandria 6-0, Juventus 1-0 and Milan 2-0 all at home.


In 1933-34 Stürmer stayed on and Lazio came in 10th again. Ottavio Played 31 league games with 1 goal (Casale in 2-1 win). The highlight was a 4-0 home win over Milan while Lazio lost the first derby and drew the second 3-3 after being 0-3 down.


In 1934-35 Czech manager Walter Alt arrived at Lazio. A certain Silvio Piola also arrived from Pro Vercelli. It would however be a tragic year for Lazio and Ottavio Fantoni in particular. On January 20, in a home game against Torino, he wounded his nose. He was forced off but came back on five minutes later and even contributed to Silvio Piola's equaliser. It did not seem anything too serious but then it got infected and he was hospitalised with a high fever and a knee full of pus; two weeks later he was dead. An awful tragedy. He was only 27 and left two daughters of eight and seven who had already lost their mother.


In his last tragic season Ottavio had played 13 league games with 1 goal (Fiorentina). Lazio finished a positive 5th beating Juventus 5-3 and drawing both derbies.


Fantoni's premature death is one of many sad stories in Lazio's history.


Ottavio Fantoni also played for Italy thanks to his Tuscan origins (his parents were from Arezzo). He won one cap against Greece, on March 24,1934, in a 4-0 victory.


The Fantoni legacy is an important one at Lazio. Ottavio played 108 games with 5 goals, Joāo 113 with 38 goals, Leonízio 25 with 9 goals and some years later Orlando 8 with 2 goals.


Ottavio Fantoni was an extremely popular player at Lazio. He was a midfielder who combined quantity and quality. He was elegant, technical but also incredibly hard working. The fans loved him for his fighting spirit.


Lazio Career

Season

Serie A Appearances (goals)

1930-31

10

1931-32

28 (2)

1932-33

26 (1)

1933-34

31 (1)

1934-35

13 (1)

Total

108 (5)

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