Andrea Fortunato

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Andrea Fortunato
Andrea Fortunato, Juventus 1993-94.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth (1971-07-26)July 26, 1971
Place of birth Salerno, Italy
Date of death April 25, 1995(1995-04-25) (aged 23)
Place of death Perugia, Italy
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Left-back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1989–1991 Como 43 (0)
1991–1992 Pisa 25 (0)
1992–1993 Genoa 35 (3)
1993–1995 Juventus 27 (1)
National team
1993 Italy 1 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Andrea Fortunato (July 26, 1971 – April 25, 1995) was an Italian football player who played as a left-back for Juventus and, on one occasion, the Italian national team. Fortunato was one of Italy’s most promising prospects in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and he enjoyed a successful yet very short spell in Italian football, before contracting leukemia; he died in April 1995.


Born in Salerno, Fortunato started his career in 1988 as a left-back with Como at the age of 17. The young player from Salerno played 16 times in his first season with the Lariani, who were relegated to Serie C1. It was here where he established himself in the starting line-up, with his consistent performances throughout the season, catching the eye of the bigger clubs – most notably Genoa. It was the Ligurian side who signed Fortunato in 1991, but he was immediately loaned to Serie B side Pisa for the 1991–92 season.

After an impressive spell, he returned to the Grifoni, where he teamed up with right-back Christian Panucci, another promising young defender, forming an impressive young partnership. In his first year in the top flight, Fortunato's performances caught the attention of Juventus boss Giovanni Trapattoni, who brought the promising youngster to the Turin club the following season. The left-back was an instant hit, and was awarded the number 3 shirt, which had belonged to former Juventus full-back Antonio Cabrini during the 1980s.

At Juventus, Fortunato was known for his endless running and fine left foot, which he would use to provide accurate crosses for the likes of Roberto Baggio, Fabrizio Ravanelli, and Gianluca Vialli. His most important attribute was that he loved being a team player, both on and off the pitch. His charm and great personality won the hearts of many, so much so that former Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi described him as “a revelation of Italian football”, and called the Juventus star to make his one and only international appearance against Estonia, on September 22, 1993, in Tallinn. Fortunato took Paolo Maldini’s place and played alongside veteran and national team captain Franco Baresi in a game that Italy won 3–0. The left-back showed striking similarities to Maldini and he was initially even in Sacchi’s plans for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

However, during the second half of the season, the player suffered an unexplained loss of form, and was subsequently dropped from the national team after doctors announced that he had a rare form of leukemia in May 1994.[1] Yet after a bone marrow transplant he made a full recovery and was picked by Marcello Lippi for Juventus’s clash with Sampdoria on February 22, 1995.

Although his condition initially seemed to improve, Fortunato caught pneumonia and was unable to recover; he died on 25 April 1995;[2][3] the eve of Italy’s game against Lithuania in Vilnius; the Italian national team dedicated the victory to him. That season, Lippi’s Juventus went on to win their 23rd League title, dedicated to Fortunato,[4] known as Fortunato’s Scudetto.[5] Juventus also won the Coppa Italia, and the Supercoppa Italiana that year.[6]


  1. ^ "Sporting Digest: Football". 22 May 1994. Retrieved 25 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Alberto Costa (26 April 1995). "Fortunato ha perso la sua sfida" (in Italian). Corriere della Sera. p. 19. Retrieved 25 July 2016. 
  3. ^ Piero Bianco (26 April 1995). "Fortunato, l'ultima sconfitta" (in Italian). La Stampa. p. 13. Retrieved 25 July 2016. 
  4. ^ Roberto Perrone; Giuseppe Toti (23 May 1996). ""Questa squadra ha vinto tutto"" (in Italian). Corriere della Sera. p. 7. Retrieved 25 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "Calcio Champion: Andrea Fortunato". 25 December 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2016. 
  6. ^ Roberto Perrone; Giuseppe Toti (23 May 1996). ""Questa squadra ha vinto tutto"" (in Italian). Corriere della Sera. p. 7. Retrieved 25 July 2016.