By Adam Smulevich
He was one of the most skillful and creative offensive playmakers of his generation, and also one of the legendary players who won the 1982 FIFA World Cup title for Italy. Giancarlo Antognoni at age of 62 seems to be experiencing a new youth: the same hair and the slim physique of an athlete.
Interviewed by Pagine Ebraiche, he revealed that he has recently closed with a ghost from his past. Curiously, an Israeli ghost: former referee Abraham Klein, who directed the epic match between Italy and Brazil in ’82 (the match was won by “Azzurri” by 3–2).
In the 86th minute of the match, which has been described as one of the greatest soccer matches of all time, Antognoni scored a fourth goal for Italy. Unfortunately it was wrongly disallowed by Klein for offside. Nothing changed for Azzurri, who had won anyway.
Nevertheless the episode had a dramatic impact for Giancarlo, who said: “In that World Cup I was obsessed with the idea of scoring. So I tried in every way in the semi-final against Poland, with the result that I got injured. And so, for this reason, I missed the final with Germany. A regret that I still live with.”
Antognoni and Klein hadn’t seen each other again from that game until 2011, in Tel Aviv.
As Giancarlo explained to Pagine Ebraiche, the meeting happened in a club. For a few minutes there was a quick exchange of words. “At the end I felt lighter,” Antognoni said.