Iconic Verona and Napoli Goalie Garella Passes Away

Two-time Scudetto winner Claudio Garella has passed away today at age 67 due to a heart condition. The goalkeeper starred in two of the most legendary campaigns in the history of Serie A, with Verona in 1984/1985 and with Diego Armando Maradona’s Napoli two years later.

The shot-stopper has been battling multiple health issues in recent years. He last spoke to the press in 2020. He was nicknamed ‘Garellik’ for his passion for comic books. Juventus president Gianni Agnelli called him “the best goalkeeper in the world without using his hands” for his unusual style, as Corriere della Sera points out.

Garella debuted in Serie A with Torino in 1972 and became a regular at Lazio a few years later. He then joined Sampdoria and eventually Verona, contributing to the improbable Scudetto with Osvaldo Bagnoli at the helm. He made his way to Napoli later on, lifting another title, the first one of El Pibe de Oro. His final stops were Udinese and Avellino.

The shot-stopper accumulated over 521 appearances. After retiring, he served as a coach or an executive in the lowest leagues. He leaves behind his wife Laura and his daughters Claudia and Chantal.

His two most memorable teams, Verona and Napoli, will square off in their season opener Monday. The Scaligeri remembered him as an “authentic legend and a true symbol of Bagnoli’s team, with extraordinary and irreplicable numbers. His style was unique, with atypical but extremely effective saves.” The Azzurri stated in their press release: “He left an indelible mark in our history.”

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