Article taken from Il Messaggero
Don Tancredi Ricca, chaplain of the Basilica of Superga, was in his room on the first floor reading his prayer book. “At five o’clock in the evening”, since that was the time. The time when fifteen years earlier the little Granadino bull had gored the great bullfighter Ignacio Sanchez Meijas in Manzanares, and the poet Federico Garcia Lorca had written the unforgettable “lament” .
Perhaps also the 31 men, passengers and crew, who flew on the Fiat G-212 of the Ali (Avio Lines Italiane), initials I-ELCE, tossed about by the winds at high altitude, the rest of the sky and the earth hidden by fog and rain, teven though it was May 4 that seemed like a Piedmontese winter night, they recited the prayers they had learned as children . And perhaps even the pilot who was at the controls, despite having already lived through every kind and every fear, since during the Second World War he had inflated his chest to five medals for valor , prayed.
What a macabre destiny for Toro: «Altitude two thousand meters, qdm on Pino, then we cut on Superga» were the last words that pilot Pierluigi Meroni transmitted to the control tower . It was 5:02 pm on Wednesday 4 May 1949 and exactly seventy years have passed since then.

Don Tancredi only heard the roar of the plane approaching: he hardly paid any attention to it, many passed along that route. Even Amilcare Rocco, a bricklayer who lived a few steps from the Basilica, hear that noise: the usual, I think. But it became more and more deafening. And it ended with a thud and a roar. Amilcare left the house, started running together with some peasant who was already on the road, headed for the fire that came from behind the Basilica. When they got to the rampart, they saw the cockpit of an airplane stuck in the wall. Don Tancredi was already there wandering among the remains. “The Turin shirts, the Turin shirts,” shouted one, pulling up his garnet garments with the Scudetto sewn on . Because on that plane that took off from Lisbon in the morning, after a friendly match against Benfica for the farewell of captain Francisco Ferreira, the Grande Torino was traveling.

There were those of the team or surroundings who had become legends who, due to the usual fortuitous events of Destiny, had stayed at home: the second goalkeeper Gandolfi, who had had to give way to the third number one, Dario Ballarin, probably recommended for a award trip to his brother Aldo; the historical radio commentator Nicolo Carosio, busy with the Confirmation of his son; the president Ferruccio Novo, in bed with the flu ; the boy Primavera Luigi Giuliano who did not manage to obtain his passport in time, as a bureaucratic mistake held in Rome the invited Tommaso Maestrelli, the inventor then of the first Lazio Scudetto: he was in the predicate of moving to Turin the following season and was Valentino Mazzola wanted him for Lisbon.But there were all those that Italy loved as a whole, and not because the fans were all Torino fans, but because they were all blue (even 10 out of 11 on the pitch) and because they played both extraordinary and winning football. From ’43 to ’49 they always won the Scudetto. History of other times, they too would struggle to find the spontaneous and sincere consent of the time (a million people at the funeral), in a football, the current one, which is divided for everything.
“My grandfather saw his creation in Turin …” @PChiambretti tells the #GrandeTorino in the special by @Sport_Mediaset broadcast tonight in prime time on #Focushttps: //
– QuiMediaset (@QuiMediaset_it) May 4, 2019

Bacigalupo, Ballarin, Maroso, Grezar, Rigamonti, Castigliano, Menti, Loik, Gabetto, Mazzola, Ossola: it was training. Seventy years ago there was no “rose” and the eleven were eleven and they learned by heart, like the poems of Carducci, Pascoli or Leopardi. Today many of those surnames are the names of the stadiums of their native places, which thus honor and remember them.Bacigalupo also saved the penalties, even if the first goal he scored in Serie A was on a penalty, but Silvio Piola threw it; they had their nicknames: there was the “Trio Nizza”, the three who shared the apartment in via Nizza; there was the “cit”, the smallest (Maroso), there was the “Barone” (Gabetto, the most elegant: never a hair out of place). Valentino Mazzola, the most famous and celebrated (there are those who think he was the best Italian footballer ever, certainly the most complete: once you replace the expelled Bacigalupo in goal in the final minutes, except for the 2 to 1 against Genoa), and himself became a “nickname”: Jose Altafini, in Brazil, they called him Mazzola because of Valentino .

The #GrandeTorino
Pride of Italy # SFT # 4May
– Torino Football Club (@ TorinoFC_1906) May 4, 2019

As a boy they called him “Tulen”, can in dialect, because he walked all the way from home to work and vice versa kicking an empty can: that’s why I learn to do it right and left , so much so that, Boniperti said, “you can’t tell if he was right or left handed.” They arrived at Superga, 600 meters high, Meroni ended up in it as the on-board instrumentation was blocked at 2000, firefighters, ambulances and people. People of every shirt. The former technical commissioner Vittorio Pozzo also arrived who had to recognize the poor bodies: from a tie, from a watch, from a foot. In the silence, people looked at the cockpit, the last burning tire, the white hair of Pozzo. He felt a giant in an ankle-length white raincoat touch his shoulder. The boy had red eyes and only said “Your boys”, “your boys”. It was John Hansen, a Danish who played for Juve. There was no jersey or cheer that he kept, at five o’clock in the evening or shortly after. Don Tancredi Ricca was now praying and blessing.

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