Giorgio Chinaglia (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdʒordʒo kiˈnaʎʎa]; 24 January 1947 – 1 April 2012) was an Italian footballer who played as a striker. He grew up and played his early football in Cardiff, Wales, and began his career with Swansea Town in 1964. He later returned to Italy to play for Massese, Internapoli and S.S. Lazio in 1969. Chinaglia led Lazio to the club's first league championship in the 1973–74 season, during which he was also the league's leading scorer. He played international football for Italy, making 14 appearances and scoring 4 goals between 1972 and 1975, including two appearances at the 1974 FIFA World Cup. Chinaglia was the first player in Italian football history to be called up internationally from the second division.
In 1976, Chinaglia left Lazio to sign with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League. With the Cosmos team that also featured Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer, Chinaglia won four league titles, and retired in 1983 as the NASL's all-time leading goalscorer with 193 goals. In 1980 Chinaglia scored a record 50 goals in regular and post season play including another 26 in friendly matches. In all matches played, including friendly, exhibition and pre-season games, Chinaglia scored 734 goals, giving him a lifetime average of a goal a game.
In 2000, Chinaglia was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in the United States and was named the greatest player in Lazio's history during the club's centenary celebrations; with 29 goals, he is also the highest scoring Lazio player in international competitions. A prolific goalscorer, some sources state that he is the highest scoring Italian player in all professional competitions, with 398 goals, ahead of Silvio Piola, although this claim is also disputed, as the NASL did not abide to certain FIFA regulations at the time. He is also the Italian player with the best goalscoring ratio in domestic championships, with 319 goals scored in 429 league matches played across both Italy and the United States.
Chinaglia was given the nickname "Long John", a reference to Chinaglia's physical style of play, as well as his resemblance to the similarly large Welsh footballing legend John Charles who also played in Italy.Close