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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Uber Gradella

Uber Gradella can easily be placed among the greatest goalkeepers to ever wear the Lazio shirt.


Source Wikipedia

Born in Mantua on June 14 1921, after a few years in minor youth teams, he started playing for his hometown team in 1937-38. A year later he was in Verona but never made it into the first team. This changed in 1939 when he played 33 matches in Serie B.


Noticed and monitored by Lazio, he joined the club in 1940 and stayed until 1944. The events of the Second World War forced him to leave and he played firstly for Biella and then for Novara. Back at Lazio in 1945 he played in the local tournaments because the Serie A had been suspended due to the war.


In 1947-48 he played all of the matches but only ten games the following year. In an attempt to catch the ball, surrounded by Atalanta attackers, three players heavily fell on top of him and he broke his knee.


After a long period away from football he recovered, but Lazio had already bought a new goalkeeper, the legendary Lucidio Sentimenti IV, and there was no room for him.


The thought of playing for a team other than Lazio was unbearable and at the age of 28 he quit football. He opened a few sports shops in Rome and in his later years was often to be heard on the radio speaking about Lazio.


He died in Rome on January 6, 2015. He played 161 times for Lazio between Serie A, Coppa Italia and the Rome Campionato which took place in 1943-44, which Lazio won, and 1944-45.


In an interview on the Gazzetta dello Sport he spoke about his experience.


“I was 17 and playing for Verona in Serie B. Both Juventus and Inter had shown an interest in me but Lazio was very quick and President Zenobi brought me to Rome for 150 thousand lire. I was just a kid forever dreaming to be a goalkeeper. I had a wonderful adventure in Rome. On Sunday we used to all go to “da Umberto” on Via Frattina for lunch and then we’d walk to Piazzale Flaminio to take the tram to the stadium. On the number 1 tram, together with the fans, we’d reach what is now called the Stadio Flaminio. We were a classy team, as everybody used to say at the time, thanks to players such as Baldo, who won Olympic Gold in 1936, Ramella and Flamini. But especially thanks to the great Silvio Piola. We became great friends even after our Lazio days and to this day I still occasionally speak to his family. I left Lazio in strange circumstances: I suffered a severe injury, with two minutes left in the game, on a corner three opponents fell on me and I broke my knee. A year on crutches, operations, wrong diagnoses. When I was finally ok I went to the training ground but they had already bought Sentimenti IV for 500 thousand lire and they did not have the courage to drop the deal. But I was adamant: Lazio or nobody else. So I gave up playing football”.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances

Serie A

National Serie A-B Centre South Championshp

Coppa Italia

Roman Championship

1940-41

25

21

4

-

1941-42

31

29

2

-

1942-43

28

25

3

-

1943-44

2

-

-

2

1945-46

19

-

19

-

-

1946-47

12

12

-

-

1947-48

34

34

-

-

1948-49

10

10

-

-

Totals

161

131

19

9

2

Sources




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