Giuseppe Meazza is number 23 in 90min's Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time series

​One of the game's first, pure technicians Giuseppe Meazza was the personification of elegance in an era fixated on aggression and physicality. 

He was not just a show pony though - the forward also delivered an incredible amount of goals. Today, he remains Italy's second top scorer of all time and also sits fourth in Serie A's goalscoring charts. 

Meazza's spectacular life was fittingly commemorated when the San Siro was renamed in his honoured one year after his death in 1979. 

Here are some very selective highlights of his career... 

Brace on His Debut

After being rejected by his beloved ​Milan as a teenager for lacking physicality, Meazza was snapped up by city rivals ​Inter

He made his debut aged just 17 and set the tone for a goal-laden career by bagging a brace. It was a sign of things to come.

Meazza would hit 30 goals in each of the following seasons, scoring 242 times in 265 appearances for the Nerazzurri overall. 

1934 World Cup Winner

Luis Monti,Gianpiero Combi,Luis Monti,Attilio Ferraris,Luigi Allemandi,Enrique Guaita,Giovanni Ferrari,Angelo Schiavio,Giuseppe Meazza,Eraldo Monzeglio,Luigi Bertolini,Raimundo Orsi

​Meazza would win the first of back-to-back World Cups under manager Vittorio Pozzo in 1934, helping his country dispatch of Czechoslovakia 2-1 in the final. 

Hosted in Italy, the tournament was thrown in disrepute by the intervention of the Fascist government with match officials and the aggressive gamesmanship exhibit by a number of teams - none more so than Pozzo's Azzurri. 

Despite this, Meazza's brilliance shone through. Pulling the strings in a withdrawn forward role, the Bull Fighter - as he was affectionately known - skipped around the pitch with a youthful exuberance that saw him elected player of the tournament. 

The Battle of Highbury

A scrappy... no, scratch that... an outright violent affair, Italy's trip to Highbury to take on England in 1934 has been immortalised as one of the craziest games of football of all time. ​

Stanley Matthews - making just his second appearance for the Three Lions - would later describe it as the most aggressive match of his 33-year career.

Italy would lose defender Luis Monti to a broken foot caused by robust challenge in the opening exchanges - the first of many tackles of its type. With substitutes not permitted, the Azzurri were forced to play the rest of the game with ten men and England took a 3-0 lead early on. 

Meazza managed to pull two goals back for the visitors and though it would not be enough to salvage the game - with the hosts running out 3-2 winners - he had left his impression on the tens of thousands in attendance. 

1938 World Cup Winning Captain


​Italy won their second World Cup just four years after their first triumph in 1934 - this time with Meazza as their inspirational captain. 

Victories against Norway, France and Brazil set Pozzo's side up with a meeting against Hungary - who had scored 13 goals en route to the final. 

Despite this it would be Italy who would triumph in one of the most exciting World Cup climaxes of all time. The Azzurri ran out 4-2 winners with the Bull Fighter once again pulling the strings in his withdrawn forward role.

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90min's 'Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time' can be found here.

Number 50: Luka Modric

Number 49: John Charles

Number 48: Hugo Sanchez

Number 47: Jairzinho

Number 46: Omar Sivori

Number 45: Paolo Rossi

Number 44: Paul Breitner

Number 43: George Weah

Number 42: Kaka

Number 41: Lev Yashin

Number 40: Gunnar Nordahl

Number 39: Kevin Keegan

Number 38: Hristo Stoichkov

Number 37: Gianluigi Buffon

Number 36: Johan Neeskens

Number 35: Xavi Hernandez

Number 34: Luis Suarez

Number 33: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

Number 32: Andres Iniesta

Number 31: Rivelino

Number 30: Bobby Moore

Number 29: Socrates

Number 28: Sandor Kocsis

Number 27: Lothar Matthaus

Number 26: Ronaldinho

Number 25: Ruud Gullit

Number 24: ​Bobby Charlton