11 November 2020
Dino Da Costa has sadly passed away at 89 years of age. A lengthy footballing career in Italy comprised spells at Roma, Fiorentina, Atalanta, Juventus, Verona and Ascoli. In addition to earning legendary status at the Giallorossi, where he still holds the record for goals scored in the Rome derby, he was also the star of a wonderful story with the Bianconeri, which continued after his time there as a player.
Dino Da Costa arrived in Turin from Bergamo in the summer of 1963. In the photo you can see him surrounded by his younger team-mates, wearing a striped shirt. He was already 32 years old at the time and had forged a well-deserved reputation as a prolific goal-scorer across eight Serie A campaigns. Giuseppe Meazza, one of the greatest strikers in the history of Italian football, was clear in his views on the player, telling monthly magazine Hurrà Juventus: “Da Costa needs no introduction; he is a seasoned ‘navigator’ of football fields”. Da Costa was not brought in to be a starter, but during pre-season his commitment earned plaudits. The Juventus magazine described him as an “inspired purchase”, adding that the player had already shown himself to be “very active” and in “good shape”.
THE FIRST YEAR
Bari, Roma and Sampdoria. Those were the first three teams Da Costa took to the field against in his first season at Juventus, in matches played at the Stadio Comunale. He didn’t meet his usual goal-scoring average because he was a reserve, but the new arrival dropped deeper to influence the game and won observers over. His most convincing performance came against Roma, when he replaced Omar Sivori and showed real leadership qualities. The goal against Sampdoria, meanwhile, gave a glimpse of Juventus’ future. He had to work his way free of a 19-year-old by the name of Francesco Morini, who would play as a defender for the Old Lady throughout the following decade.
Hurrà Juventus dubbed the Brazilian “one of our own” in March 1964 and his spell at the Bianconeri was described as his “second sporting childhood”. There was a great deal of praise for what he was showing: “Da Costa has fully kept the trust placed in him by the Bianconeri management. Purchased as a sixth forward, not only has he proven to be up to the task, but on more than one occasion, employed as a wide midfielder, he has earned the right to crown himself with the symbolic title team ‘wildcard’. His transformation has been fed and given impetus by a concept so dear to sportspeople: class.” It is an assessment that would be proved right by the numbers. In the 1964/65 season, in which Juventus won the Coppa Italia, Da Costa became an ever-present with 43 appearances and 7 goals.
Da Costa’s third and final year with Juventus was not up to the standard of the first two. He only played eight matches, though many fans would fondly remember the goal he scored against Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico, confirming how the mere sight of those light blue shirts brought out the best in him. Da Costa found the net near the start of the match but saw his effort chalked off by the referee. Moments later, however, he scored with his heel in a feat described as “devilish” by Hurrà, which added: “A brilliant goal produced by a classy goal-scorer.” After two seasons in Serie B and C, Da Costa embarked on a career as a coach. In 1969 he became a coach for the Juventus youth sector. In the photo you can see him carefully observing his boys competing in a game of table football.