Francesco Toldo (Italian pronunciation: [franˈtʃesko ˈtɔldo]; born 2 December 1971) is an Italian retired footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He is regarded by pundits as one of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation.
Toldo with Inter Milan in 2009
|Full name||Francesco Toldo|
|Date of birth||2 December 1971|
|Place of birth||Padua, Italy|
|Height||1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)|
|1990–1991||→ Hellas Verona (loan)||0||(0)|
|1991–1992||→ Trento (loan)||38||(0)|
|1992–1993||→ Ravenna (loan)||31||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Early career and Fiorentina
Born in Padua, Veneto, Toldo began his career with Milan in 1990. He never played a game with the Milan, however, being loaned during his stint with the club, successively to Hellas Verona (1990–91), Trentino (1991–92), and Ravenna (1992–93).
Toldo then joined Fiorentina in 1993, and became the Viola club's starter for eight seasons, helping the club win the Serie B title in his first season, and earn promotion to Serie A, later also winning the Coppa Italia twice, the Supercoppa Italiana, and playing in one edition of the UEFA Champions League, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the 1996–97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. In 2000, Toldo was named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year for his performances.
One year before Fiorentina faced bankruptcy, Toldo and Rui Costa were sold to Parma for a combined 140 billion lire in June 2001 (55 billion lire for Toldo; about €28.4 million in fixed exchange rate). It made the club a net profit in 2000–01 financial year, instead of a net loss. However, both players refused to join. Toldo himself would be the replacement of departing goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whom Toldo refused to live under the expectation of. Eventually, Toldo joined Inter Milan instead of Parma for the same fee; Parma signed Sébastien Frey from Inter instead of Toldo; Buffon joined Juventus from Parma; and Edwin van der Sar went to Fulham from Juventus.
During his first season with the Inter under manager Héctor Cúper, Toldo performed at a high level, reaching the semi-final of the UEFA Cup, and narrowly missing out on the Serie A title on the final match-day as Inter threw away their lead by losing to Lazio, eventually finishing the 2001–02 Serie A season in third place behind Juventus and Roma. Due to his consistency with Inter, Toldo soon became a fan favourite and was noted for his passionate and high-quality performances. The following season, he was praised particularly for his saves against Valencia in the Champions League quarter-final, leading football pundits to nickname the Estadio El Madrigal "La Plaza de Toldo". During the match, Toldo was seen getting choked by teammate Luigi Di Biagio after an argument on the pitch. With his performances, Toldo helped Inter reach the semi-finals of the Champions League that season, losing out to the eventual champions and inter-city rivals Milan on away goals. Another great memory for Inter fans was his contribution to the equalising goal, scored by Christian Vieri, in the last minute of an eventual 1–1 draw against title rivals Juventus in the 2002–03 season; at first it appeared that Toldo might have been the scorer instead of Vieri, and even today the goal is still often referred to as "Toldo's goal".
During the 2004–05 season, Toldo helped Inter win the Coppa Italia, and he also reached the quarter finals of the Champions League, losing out to Milan once again, who went on to reach the final. He followed up this victory with another Supercoppa Italiana title in 2005. Toldo was the number one keeper for Inter until the summer of 2005, when the Brazilian Júlio César relegated him to the bench after he had elected to sit out Inter's summer friendly match tour of England.
Toldo briefly regained first-choice status in February 2006, following his signing of a contract extension (until June 2009) and a slip in form by Júlio César, not before rumours linked him both to Palermo, Milan and Fiorentina. Toldo still contributed nine appearances for Inter in Serie A during the 2005–06 season, where Inter were awarded the title following Juventus's and Milan's involvement in the 2006 Calciopoli scandal, also helping Inter to win another Coppa Italia, as well as the 2006 Supercoppa Italiana. He also made six Serie A appearances for Inter during the 2006–07 title-winning season. Toldo made eight appearances across all competitions during the 2007–08 season, three of which were in Serie A, and the other five coming in the Coppa Italia, where Inter reached the final. Inter won the Scudetto that season for the third successive time.
In April 2009, the 37-year-old Toldo, still backing up Júlio César, signed a further two-year extension to his link, taking it to the summer of 2011. Toldo made seven appearances across all competitions during the 2008–09 season, making three appearances in Serie A, three in the Coppa Italia, and one in the Champions League as Inter won their fourth consecutive Serie A title that year.
In June 2010, it was reported that Toldo would retire from football after winning a Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League treble during the 2009–10 season, since the club had also signed a new backup goalkeeper, Luca Castellazzi. It was formally announced on 7 July via Inter Channel, the official club channel.
At under-21 level, Toldo made eight appearances for Italy between 1993 and 1994; he was notably a member of the side that won the 1994 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, making a crucial save in the semi-final shoot-out against hosts France.
Toldo was capped 28 times for Italy. His debut came on 8 October 1995, replacing Gianfranco Zola after the ejection of Luca Bucci in a 1–1 draw in Croatia for the UEFA Euro 1996 qualifiers. He was picked up for the finals in England as a reserve.
Despite facing competition from high-profile goalkeepers such as Gianluca Pagliuca, Angelo Peruzzi, Christian Abbiati, Luca Marchegiani, Francesco Antonioli and in particular Gianluigi Buffon, Toldo was chosen to start in Euro 2000 as Buffon broke his hand in a friendly match against Norway just eight days before the tournament started.
He helped his country to a runner-up finish at Euro 2000, keeping three clean sheets, contributing to the elimination of both host nations (Belgium and the Netherlands) in the process. During the semi-final against hosts Netherlands, he saved one penalty in regulation time, and stopped two more in the successful shootout; he was named man of the match for his performance. In the final, Italy lost 2–1 to the reigning world champions France after a David Trezeguet golden goal in the 103rd minute; Italy had been leading 1–0, but Sylvain Wiltord equalised in the final minute of stoppage time to send the match into extra time. Toldo was named to the Team of the Tournament for his performances, also earning the third place in the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper Award. Following his successful European Championship campaign, Toldo played as a starter at the beginning of the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign; however, after recovering from the aforementioned injury, Buffon was eventually confirmed by Giovanni Trapattoni as Italy's first-choice goalkeeper.
Additionally, Toldo was an unused reserve in Italy's 1998 World Cup, 2002 World Cup, and Euro 2004 squads, after which he announced his retirement from international football in 2004. His final appearance for Italy came on 18 February 2004, in a 2–2 friendly draw against Czech Republic at the Stadio Renzo Barbera in Palermo.
Style of play
After playing in several outfield positions during his youth career, Toldo was inspired to become a goalkeeper by his role model Dino Zoff. He also cited Giovanni Galli as an influence. A consistent and agile goalkeeper, with strong reactions, he was also competent with the ball at his feet. Although in his youth he did not particularly enjoy facing penalties, he later made a name for himself as a penalty-saving specialist throughout his career; he also stood out for his composure, personality and mentality in goal. In spite of his large stature, and his strong and imposing physique, he was an excellent shot-stopper, who was known for his ability to get to ground quickly and easily to parry low shots; however, unusually for a goalkeeper of his height, he was less effective at coming off his line to handle crosses and high balls.
|Hellas Verona||1990–91||Serie B||0||0||0||0||–||0||0|
|Inter Milan||2001–02||Serie A||33||0||1||0||9||0||43||0|
- Serie B: 1993–94
- Coppa Italia: 1995–96, 2000–01
- Supercoppa Italiana: 1996
- Serie A: 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10
- Coppa Italia: 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10
- Supercoppa Italiana: 2005, 2006, 2008
- UEFA Champions League: 2009–10
- UEFA European Under-21 Championship: 1994
- "Comunicato Ufficiale N. 290" [Official Press Release No. 290] (PDF) (in Italian). Lega Serie A. 17 May 2010. p. 6. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
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- "Buffon miglior portiere degli ultimi 25 anni" [Buffon best goalkeeper of the past 25 years]. La Repubblica (in Italian). 25 January 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
- "IFFHS' World's Best Goalkeeper of the Year 2000". RSSSF.com, Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
- Querzola, Elena. "Forza Viola 1/1997" [Go Viola 1/1997] (in Italian). www.solocalcio.com. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
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- A.C. Fiorentina S.p.A. bilancio (financial report and accounts) on 30 June 2001, PDF purchased from Italian C.C.I.A.A.(in Italian)
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- Fabio Bianchi (23 April 2003). "A Valencia c'è Plaza de Toldo" [At Valencia there is the Plazade Toldo] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- "L'Inter è in semifinale grazie a un grande Toldo" [Inter is in the semi-finals thanks to a great Toldo] (in Italian). La Repubblica. 22 April 2003. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- "Milan march on to Manchester". UEFA. 13 May 2003. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- Nicola Cecere (5 October 2005). "Mancini chiude la porta a Toldo" [Mancini closes the door/goal on Toldo] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
- "Toldo with Inter until 2009". Inter Milan. 20 February 2006. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- Luigi De Stefani (25 August 2014). "Lunga intervista a Francesco Toldo, molto bella!" [A long and very nice interview with Francesco Toldo!] (in Italian). Il Nerazzurro. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
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- Taidelli, Luca (18 June 2010). "Toldo si ritira: resta in società" [Toldo retires: he will stay with club] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- "Toldo: "I have decided to hang up my boots"". Inter Milan. 7 July 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- "Un sinistro di Orlandini regala all'Italia il secondo titolo consecutivo" [A left-footed strike from Olrandini gifts Italy their second consecutive title]. figc.it (in Italian). FIGC. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- "Nazionale in cifre: Toldo, Francesco" [National team in numbers: Toldo, Francesco] (in Italian). FIGC. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- "UEFA Euro 2000 team of the tournament". uefa.com. UEFA. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- Giancarlo Mola (29 June 2000). "Italia, finale da leggenda Olanda spreca e va fuori" [Italy, legendary final Netherlands waste opportunities and go out] (in Italian). La Repubblica. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
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- "Italy win 3–1 on penalties". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 29 June 2000. Archived from the original on 2 October 2000. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- "2000, Italia battuta in finale. L'Europeo alla Francia" [2000, Italy defeated in the final. The Euros go to France]. Il Sole 24 Ore (in Italian). Retrieved 29 January 2015.
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- Franco Badolato (3 October 2000). "Nazionale, nel blocco Milan c'è Tacchinardi" [National team, among the Milan block there is Tacchinardi]. La Stampa (in Italian). p. 33.
- Fabio Bianchi (18 October 2002). "Zenga e Tacconi: quando la rivalità era uno spettacolo" [Zenga and Tacconi: when rivalries were a spectacle] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
- "Italia, solo un pareggio ma un buon primo tempo" [Italy, only a draw but a good first half]. La Repubblica (in Italian). 18 February 2004. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
- Luigi Garlando (27 February 1999). "Tutto con queste due mani" [Everything with these two hands] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
- Luca Calamai; Andrea Schianchi (15 October 1999). "Toldo-Buffon, le 20 meraviglie" [Toldo-Buffon, the 20 wonders] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- Licia Granello (30 May 2000). "Zoff scherza col fuoco. Buffon e Toldo alla pari" [Zoff is playing with fire. Buffon and Toldo on par]. la Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 7 July 2016.
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- "Inter Milan - Squad Profiles". ESPN FC. 11 February 2003. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
- Ferrara, Benedetto (5 June 2001). "Roma, tecnica e carattere. È il degno erede di Toldo" ["Roma, technique and mentality. He's Toldo's worthy heir"]. la Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- "Buffon e Van der Sar maestri con i piedi" [Buffon and Van der Sar masters with their feet] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 14 March 2001. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
- Calamai, Luca; Da Ronch, Alessio; Condò, Paolo (1 July 2000). "Tirate, tirate, tanto prendo tutto" ["Shoot, shoot, I'll stop everything anyway"]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 11 October 2019.
- Massimo Vincenzi (30 June 2000). "Così Toldo ha imparato a parare i rigori" [This is how Toldo learnt how to stop penalties]. la Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 20 July 2015.
- Alessandro Rialti (10 October 1995). "Toldo: ho preso al volo la fortuna" [Toldo: I caught fortune on the fly] (in Italian). La Stampa. p. 31. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
- Roberto Beccantini (10 October 1995). "Il solito stellone di Sacchi" [The usual big star of Sacchi] (in Italian). La Stampa. p. 31. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
- Whittle, Richard (12 April 2002). "Italy's number one priority". BBC Sport. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
- Francesco Bramardo; Salvatore Lo Presti (22 February 1997). "Zidane meglio di Rui Costa" [Zidane better than Rui Costa] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
- Francesco Velluzzi (25 February 2005). "Toldo prepara l'uscita finale" [Toldo prepares his final exit]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- Gian Luca Rossi (July 2005). "Toldo, portiere per colpa della neve" [Toldo, keeper because of the snow]. Calcio 2000 (in Italian). Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- "Francesco Toldo - International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "F. Toldo". Soccerway. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- Karel Stokkermans (14 March 2007). "ESM XI". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 7 February 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- "IV Hall of Fame Viola: Toldo, Chiarugi e non solo entrano nella galleria degli onori" [Viola Hall of Fame IV: Toldo, Chiarugi, and not only, enter in the gallery of honour] (in Italian). violanews.com. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
- Matteo Magrini (23 August 2016). "Festa al Franchi, presenti e assenti. No eccellenti da Rui Costa, Baggio e Batistuta" [Celebration at the Franchi, present and absent. Excellent declinations from Rui Costa, Baggio and Batistuta] (in Italian). Fiorentina.it. Archived from the original on 24 August 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
- "Toldo, Facchetti, Stankovic and Meazza join the Inter Hall of Fame". Inter.it. 11 May 2019. Archived from the original on 11 May 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
- "ONORIFICENZE" [Honours]. quirinale.it (in Italian). 12 July 2000. Archived from the original on 10 January 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
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