Giorgio Chinaglia: 1947–2012

Former Lazio, Italy, and New York Cosmos star Giorgio Chinaglia died yesterday, succumbing to complications following a heart attack. He was 65.

A burly, skillful striker, Chinaglia is the North American Soccer League’s alltime leading scorer, with 242 goals in 254 regular-season and playoff appearances for the Cosmos.

He played alongside Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, and Carlos Alberto in New York, among many other stars, and may have outshined them all. The Cosmos won four NASL titles in Chinaglia’s nine years with the team, capturing the trophy in 1977, ’78, ’80 and ’82. The pinnacle of his U.S. career came in 1980, when he scored 32 goals in the regular season and an incredible 18 in seven playoff games to lead the Cosmos to the championship.

Got 15 minutes? Here are all 50 of Chinaglia’s goals from 1980, including seven in one game against the Tulsa Roughnecks (see the 10:45 mark):

Gotta love that sign-off. “You got 50 for the year, George. How do you top that?” “Not bad, not bad. We’ll try again next year.”

We also enjoyed Cosmos announcer Jim Karvellas—who died in 2007—and his call on Chinaglia’s penalties: “He winds…fires…goal!”

H/T to the Striker Liker.