February 26, 2024

Franco Zuccalà, the historical face of Rai, has died


He had also been editor of Gazzetta, but came to prominence on television with Rai

Franco Zuccalà died that night at the age of 83. Originally from Catania, with a long career at Rai, he also worked in the Roman editorial department of Gazzetta dello Sport as well as Il Giornale and Tuttosport, and since 2000 he has been a columnist for the Italpress news agency.

Born on September 22, 1940, he wandered the world of media for over 45 years: newspapers, radio and television: first at Telestar and Antenna Sicilia with Pippo Baudo and then at Odeon. However, he gained fame with Rai with reports as a correspondent for “La Domenica Sportiva”, “Novantesimo Minuto”, “Il Processo del Monday” and Tg1. He also presented a bi-weekly program (“Themes of Football”) for the Rai Corporation of New York for eleven years, which was followed throughout the Americas. He then worked with Italian Swiss Television and Montecarlo Sat. Olympics, World Cup, European Championships, African Championships: He has been reporting on all important sporting events since 1958. He also received an Honoris Causa degree in Telecommunications Science from Columbia University in New York; He has won important journalistic awards such as the “Boccali” and the “Brera”.

Blue shirt

In 2014, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and coach Cesare Prandelli presented him with the blue jersey number 50 for his half-century with the national team. He was also awarded the “Guirlande d'honneur” by the Federation Internationale Cinema Television Sportifs for his long career.

In many years of his journalistic work, he has interviewed personalities of the caliber of Nelson Mandela, Henry Kissinger, Gianni Agnelli and Sophia Loren as well as the greatest football champions from Pelè to Maradona, from Cruyff to Beckenbauer. He wrote “Il Re di Broccolino,” “Champions for ever,” and “Brividi Mondiali,” and contributed to numerous essays, including “Cento anni di serie A”; He made 19 videotapes about football. During his long career he has collaborated with over 90 Italian and foreign newspapers, including the monthly “La Magazine”, which he headed for two years. He has filmed television documentaries on all five continents.


The FIGC expressed its condolences on the journalist's death: “Zuccalà's death saddens me, it is a painful loss for the world of journalism and sport,” said President Gabriele Gravina. “He was a conscientious and sophisticated professional who stood out for his preparation and his transversal interests. A huge fan of the national team, he has never stopped following the Azzurri home and away and has never stopped making banal comments.

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