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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Stefano Chiodi

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

There is an Italian song that states that one should never judge a player by a missed penalty. That is very true, with one exception: Stefano Chiodi.


Source Wikipedia

Chiodi was born in Bentivoglio, near Bologna, on December 26, 1956. After he started playing with the youth team of Progresso, at 15 he signed for Bologna. In 1974 he was sent to Teramo in Serie C to gain experience and he did rather well, scoring eight goals in 28 appearances. Back at Bologna in 1975 he began to play regularly and scored 18 goals in three years. He debuted on October 10, 1975, in the game against his future team Milan, scoring a goal.

 

In 1978-79 he signed for Milan. He was the centre- forward in a perfectly organised team, thanks to manager Nils Liedholm, with a mix of old and new players. The Rossoneri won their 10th scudetto also thanks to 7 goals scored by Chiodi, six of which on penalties. That season Gianni Rivera's last and he retired while Liedholm left to join Roma. The following season was marred by the Totonero scandal. Many players were accused of having bet illegally and then fixed matches. Chiodi was accused of misprision and was suspended for six months.

 

At the end of the season, before the various sentencings, President Umberto Lenzini had sold Giordano to Milan in exchange for Alberto Bigon and Chiodi. But not only had Giordano been suspended for three and a half years, Milan, as well as Lazio, had been relegated. As a consequence, the deal was off and Lenzini was forced to give Mauro Tassotti to Milan as partial payment.

 

Nobody thought Lazio would be relegated for the Totonero scandal. Four players were allegedly involved but not the club management, unlike Milan where the President had been involved directly. With no proof or reason, and just to keep the media happy who wanted more blood, Lazio were relegated to keep everybody happy, except the Biancoceleste world. Chiodi was now in Serie B, but he stayed.

 

The season had started well and after 15 games Lazio were top of the table with a one-point lead over Milan and four over third place (the first three were promoted). 

 

Then came Lazio Milan, first game of 1981. The Rossoneri won 2-0 easily and installed a doubt in the players mind. “Perhaps we are not as good as we thought”. That, together with internal club turmoil, with Umberto Lenzini’s brothers ousting him out of the club, and the lack of money for wages, created a bad environment in the Lazio world. The Biancocelesti slowly began to lose ground. They managed to stay second until mid-April, then Cesena overtook them.

 

In mid-May, with five games to the end of the season, Lazio were third, two points clear of Genoa. Then enter referee Alberto Michelotti. In the home game against Sampdoria, there was a corner for Lazio. Mastropasqua crossed, Gianluca De Ponti tried to head the ball but blatantly handballed it. A clear penalty right under the eyes of the linesman. But Michelotti had no intention of listening to him and the linesman no intention of changing the ref’s mind. Lazio lost that game and Genoa won. Milan first on 46 points, Cesena 42, Lazio and Genoa 41. In the next game Cesena won, Lazio and Genoa drew. With three games to go came the mother of all games at the Olimpico: Lazio-Cesena. The Biancocelesti needed to win and they did, so with two games to go all three teams were tied on 44 points. Final home game Lazio-Vicenza.

 

The Biancocelesti were very nervous and played terribly. Claudio Vagheggi scored for the Vicentini in the 55th minute, Paolo Pochesci equalised a quarter of an hour later. In the 87th minute, penalty for Lazio. Biancocelesti supporters invaded the pitch in celebration. It took forever to take the spot kick but everybody was sure that Lazio had won, Chiodi had never missed a penalty, not even in training. He did this time. Genoa and Cesena had won, promotion was lost.

 

Chiodi went back to Lazio for the 1982-83 season, but with the return of Bruno Giordano, he had little chance to “redeem” himself. On January 27, 1983, Lazio played a friendly against Palmeiras youth team. One-nil down in the 33rd minute the referee awarded a penalty to Lazio. The entire crowd shouted “Chiodi, Chiodi” to indicate that they wanted him to take the spot kick. He did and scored. Perhaps the fans had forgiven him.

 

That season Lazio were finally promoted to Serie A. Chiodi made 10 appearances with no goals.

 

In 1983 he signed for Prato in Serie C1 scoring 10 goals in 30 appearances. The year after he was at Campania again in C1. A few games for Rimini in 1985 was the end of his professional career. He played two more seasons in the fifth tier, Pinerolo and Baracca Lugo, before putting an end to his active football.

 

He opened a bar and got on with life. He also promoted and organised Giuliano Fiorini's memorial. Alas Chiodi too died of cancer, at the age of 52, on November 4, 2009.

 

That song mentioned in the beginning of the bio, states that a player must be judged by his courage, his altruism, his imagination. Chiodi was a nice guy, jovial, full of life. He did not deserve to miss that penalty, nor be forever remembered by it. 


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie B

Coppa Italia

1980-81

28 (6)

26 (6)

2

1982-83

10

10

-

Total

38 (6)

36 (6)

2

Sources


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