Former Italy, Lazio and New York Cosmos star Giorgio Chinaglia has died of complications from a heart attack, his son said. The Italian football great was 65.
Chinaglia died yesterday at his home in Naples, Florida, his son, Anthony, said through family friend Charlie Stillatano, who was Chinaglia’s co-host on a Sirius XM radio show.
Chinaglia was the all-time leading scorer in the North American Soccer League after previously starring with Lazio, who also announced the death.
Chinaglia lived in the US since facing accusations in Rome of involvement in an organised crime group that allegedly tried to buy Lazio in 2006.
Despite a humble football upbringing in Wales playing for Swansea, Tuscany-born Chinaglia returned to his homeland and helped Lazio win their first Italian title in 1974 and later became the club’s president.
The striker made 14 international appearances, scoring four goals for the national side, and was part of the Italian squad for the 1974 World Cup. In 1976, he joined the Cosmos and played alongside footballing legends Pele and Franz Beckenbauer.
“I am a finisher. That means when I finish with the ball, it is in the back of the net,” he once said in 1978.
In 2000, Chinaglia was inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame and chosen as the greatest player in Lazio’s history during the club’s centenary celebrations.