A glorious story, written by legendary players.
Cagliari Calcio is the pride of a whole region, one of the most popular teams in Italy. The 1970’s Scudetto represented the highest point, but the Rossoblù stories are to be read like a novel.
The good and the bad times, the joy and the pain: exciting victories, unforgettable goals, but also bitter defeats and ruinous falls, from which, however, Cagliari has always been able to recover. Memorable seasons: second place in 1969, the UEFA semi-finals in 1994, the unexpected salvations in 1965, 1991 and 2008, the double jump from C to A in the late 1980s.
It is the team of Gigi Riva, the strongest scorer in the history of Italian football, still the main bomber of the Italian national team; It is team of the Uruguayan trio Francescoli-Herrera-Fonseca; the team of Gianfranco Zola, Sardinian champion who emigrated to England and returned to push his favorite team back to Serie A; the team of Daniele Conti, leader on and off the field, the club's record appearance maker.
Epic coaches: "Sandokan" Silvestri, Manlio Scopigno, Gustavo Giagnoni, Claudio Ranieri, Carletto Mazzone, Massimiliano Allegri.
Stories of love and pride, of toil and sacrifice; the Rossoblù epic awaits the next chapter.
Football in Italy was officially born in 1893, with the foundation of the Genoa Cricket and Athletic Club. Thirty years before, the British had codified the rules of the new sport that they were exporting all over the world, with increasing success. Even in Sardinia, starting with the North. There are reports of games played at Calangianus, at the end of the nineteenth century, between British workers and technicians called to build a railway line. Challenges that arouse the curiosity first and then the passion of young indigenous people. The seed was planted.
In 1903 the Ilva Football Club was founded and two years later it was time for Olbia.
It was natural that Cagliari, with its port, a destination of so many British ships, became the island's capital of "football". The first real game reported in the chronicles took place on an Autumn morning in 1900, between a group of students from Cagliari and a team of Genoese sailors who had arrived in the city a few days earlier aboard an old steamer.
Theater of the challenge, Piazza D’Armi full of puddles due to the downpour of the previous night. It was played with a leather ball, more or less spherical. The goals consisted of two robust tree trunks. The Ligurians won, needless to say, as they were more experienced and physically strong.
In 1911, the team of the Amsicora Gymnastics Society went to Turin to play a tournament against the continental formations. They lost, but it was a great experience.
The time was right for Cagliari to have its official team too. Thanks to the surgeon Gaetano Fichera, who founded the Cagliari Football Club on 30 May 1920.
The first game was Cagliari-Torres, and they went on field on a very hot September 8th, at the Stallaggio Meloni. The people of Cagliari wore white coats. They were the ones who triumphed over the Sassari favorites. Alberto Figari, "Cocchino" for friends, able to score three goals a game, was a real leader. Newborn associations took part in the Sardinia Tournament. The opponents were Sassari Torres, Ilva Maddalena and another team from the main town, a team called "Eleonora d'Arborea". It was easy to see the success of the home team as they dominated everyone they played. The coach-player was Giorgio Mereu, a lawyer by profession, who quickly took on the role of President. In 1922 he built a stand at the Stallaggio Meloni, necessary to welcome an increasingly numerous and participatory public. In 1926, a new uniform was inaugurated: the red and the blue one. The presidential advent of Carlo Costa Marras led to the recruitment of a Hungarian coach. His name was Robert Winkler, good as striker and goalie. Pioneering times were about to end. In 1928, Cagliari took part in the first national championship, that of the First Division. The debut was dated October 16, 1928, a 2-1 defeat on the ground of Virtus Goliarda. The goal of Cagliari was scored by Tonino Fradelloni, the third of four soccer players. The people of the Stallaggio Meloni began to become attached to its players. Costa as halfback, with his explosive power, and the full-back Puligheddu, whose physical strength left only few opportunities for the other strikers, were extremely popular. As forward, the Tuscan, Natale Archibusacci, inherited the legacy of Figari, a guy who is always ready to strike at the opportunity that not many others saw. Cagliari, which had since moved to the new camp on Via Pola, arrived at the finals, where it ranked last with 3 points. The following year, the “Rossoblu” came in fifth. A remarkable escalation.
The Cagliari Calcio Football Club in the 20's
The team's growth was gradual but unstoppable. After taking 5th place in 1930, the President Comi allowed himself a large-scale purchasing campaign. The excellent goalkeeper Bedini from Pisa and the midfielder Ossoinak from Rome arrived, among others. To direct this strong team, the great Egri Erbstein. The Rossoblu dominated the championship and in the finals for the promotion they overtook the Salernitana: 1-1 away (Ossoinak) and 2-1 at home (Di Clemente and Filippi). They made it: Cagliari was promoted to Series B. The Sardinian team didn’t stay in the new category long, as they were promoted again for two consecutive years. The strikers D'Alberto (Hungarian, despite the name) and Ostroman (ex Milan) were put under the spotlight as the most valuable players. Erbstein's inevitable farewell brought another Hungarian coach, Andrea Kutic, to the fore. Unfortunately, an economic crisis was looming over the Company which reduced its ambitions. Only the intervention of the Mayor Enrico Endrich allowed the close of the season. The following year Kutic was exonerated, and after the interlude of the Scotti-Boero duo, the team was entrusted to Enrico Crotti. Technical changes didn’t give new life. The Rossoblu finished in second to last place, with the shame of a 0-10 in Catanzaro. A providential repechage by the Federation avoided relegation, but only minimized the pain. In 1935 the descent became reality, despite the exploits of the D'Alberto-Subinaghi strike pair. A re-foundation was needed, on and off the field. The Cagliari Sports Club was dissolved: the Cagliari Sport Union was born. The representative Mario Banditelli took the reins of the company, who was first concerned with paying the debts of rent of the camp on Via Pola. Then he entrusted the team to former midfielder Roberto Orani, who in a few years, brought the team back up into Series C. After another repechage, Cagliari consolidated at the top of the league, putting on display many valid players who deserved the attention of continental teams, like the midfielder Francesco Servetto, destined for Genoa. The strike pair, made up of the Pisan-Renza Sardinians, was smashing. Cagliari was 5th in '39, and 6th the following year.
A team of 1931 - Standing from left: Lauro, Filippi, Erbstein, Bedini, Chiantini, Orani, Di Clemente; down: D'Alberto, Traverso, Fradelloni A., Parodi, Puligheddu, Ostroman
The Second World War naturally limited the football activity. The Series C championships were suspended, and Cagliari took part in the Regional First Division championships. They were not very significant games from a technical point of view, but very important from a social point of view: Football became the bearer of a brief smile, which served to forget for a moment the horrors of the conflict. And there was the small satisfaction of beating Torres in their home ... After a year of suspension following the bombing, the sporting passion was reborn, as a sign that life goes on. Cagliari was rebuilt from nothing, thanks to the tireless work of President Eugenio Camboni and treasurer Renzo Carro. Among the many difficulties, it will suffice to mention the bomb of the Allies opened a gigantic chasm right in the center of the via Pola field. The players rolled up their sleeves and slowly rebuilt a place to play. The camp on Via Pola was once again ready to host a sporting event. In the first post-war period, the elements of the youth league were highlighted: Gorini, Grandesso, Farris and Ragazzo. The senators, like Schinardi, an energetic defender, and the eclectic Fercia remained. After the disappointment of 1946-47, when the Rossoblu arrive third behind Quartu and Carbosarda, Cagliari participated in the Series B championship. The Winkler legend returned to the bench, but even his experience couldn’t remedy a written relegation. The Rossoblu were too weak against the teams of the peninsula. The descent continued into Series C. Winkler wanted to leave. Cagliari, entrusted to Armando Latella, was saved in the final stages. The Company did not sail in good waters. The idea of failure appeared. To save the situation, here came the new President Domenico Loi, who brought new life and enthusiasm. The technical director Manostary Kovacs took the reins, teaming up with Latella on the bench. The pair would not last long: in the middle of the season, dissatisfied with the results, Loi replaced them with Tonino Fradelloni and Mariolino Congiu respectively. The 6th place finish was disappointing compared to the starting programs, but it was nevertheless encouraging for the future, at the end of a very difficult and dramatic decade.
A team from 1946 - Standing from left: Grandesso, Pau, Dessy, Piscedda, Siddi, Lazzari; in basso: Atzeni M., Atzeni A., Cocco, Farris, Corrias E.
The 1950s opened in the name of magnificence for the "Rossoblù" club. The President Domenico Loi was competent and had economic resources to ensure the best that the market offered. The Series C was now too limited Cagliari: they aimed higher. Important players arrived one after the other, reinforcing the team in each department. Among them, the strikers Avedano, Golin and Torriglia, the fullbacks Miolli and Stocco and the wise playmaker Morgia. A year of proper training, which led to the return to Series B. On the bench was the former glory of Torino Federico Allasio, assisted by Cenzo Soro as technical director. The Cagliari wipes out the competition during the regular season, scoring seven points becoming second place behind Empoli. Naturally the Rossoblu went to the finals as one of the great favorites. As predicted: in the mini tournament with Piacenza, Maglie and Vigevano, Cagliari achieved 5 wins and a draw. They made it to Series B again. A goal achieved thanks to the exploits of the legendary striking pair formed by Erminio Bercarich, a force as strong as Nordahl, which marks the beauty of 30 goals in 36 games, and Gennari who scored 17 times. It was the year of a historic move: Cagliari played at the Amsicora, abandoning the much-loved field of via Pola, now inadequate for a team playing in the higher category. After a more than honorable sixth place, 1953-54 seemed the good year to attempt the climb to the top. The Rossoblu jostled with Catania, Pro Patria and Como. The last day saw Cagliari against Pavia. Golin failed a penalty, which would have guaranteed promotion. The game ended 0-0 and it was necessary to play a play-off on neutral ground, in Rome, against the Pro Patria. It went badly: the 2-0 score creates a negative impact in the play-offs. It was a bad blow to the environment. The favorable chemistry that had brought the Rossoblu up had been lost. Not even the arrival on the bench of an Italian football guru like Piola managed to shake the players. Cagliari alternated from decent rankings to forgettable seasons. Promising youngsters were launched, who would go on to become idols of the Amicicora: the defenseless defender Mario Tiddia and the slippery striker Tonino Congiu. The latter would be the undisputed holder of the number 11 shirt, before the advent of another player. The fourth place of 1959 was illusory. The following year Cagliari fought an unlucky season, and ranked in last place, after failing to make appointments with the victory against Sambenedettese and Venice. Two head to head home matches that ended in a draw. As a result, they were relegated after nine years. President Meloni left the sinking boat, in every sense. A terrible new financial crisis hit the Rossoblu Society. The shadow of failure loomed ominously.
A team from 1953 - Standing from left: Sanna, Barranco, Mezzalira, Loranzi, Golin, Simeoli, Gennari; in basso: Morgia, Santarelli, Bersia, Bertoli.Inserisci il testo
After the disastrous fall in Series C, a technical and corporate revolution was required. Meloni left the company in the hands of Baccio Sorcinelli, editor of the newspaper "L'Unione Sarda", the lawyer Lino Lai and the merchant Aldo Piludu. The "deus-ex-machina" of the situation were however Enrico Rocca and Aldo Arrica, two entrepreneurs with the fotball hobby. Rocca was the new President. The team, still entrusted to Rigotti, was abundantly retouched, with grafts that would write important pages in the years to come. First the midfielder Argentine Miguel Angel Longo, from Juventusalong with the goalkeeper Martino Colombo, and striker Guerrino Rossi. The latter turned out to be a phenomenal forward with 17 goals. But the Rossoblu missed the final sprint and ended in second place. Lucchese was promoted. Rigotti was replaced by Arturo Silvestri, who was called "Sandokan", a former Milan quarterback. The defense was reinforced by Raffaello Vescovi, a defender that made up a formidable defensive line. Danilo Torriglia does not make Rossi regret returning to Juventus. Silvestri immediately earned the respect and trust of fans and players. It was a triumphal year, which marked the return to Serie B. After a year of adjustment, the team was ready for big business. Ricciotti Greatti had arrived, Mario Martiradonna was already there. A tall, thin young man made his debut, and was called “Mirabilie”: Gigi Riva. The last day in the championship was played on June 21, 1964: by chance, just against the Pro Patria that had denied the Rossoblu the promotion. The 3-1 closed the match. The city dressed up and celebrated. After 44 years of history, the Rossoblu rose to Series A. The approach to the top was shocking. The team was valid, but inexperienced. Despite the contribution of new elements that would write pages of history, such as the Brazilian Nenè and Pierluigi Cera, Cagliari collapsed. They were last at the end of the first round. Rocca instilled serenity by refusing Silvestri's resignation. The Rossoblu recover, and get an incredible 6th place finish. The 9 goals from Riva were essential, moreover the following year he would debut in the national team. Cagliari was saved, also thanks to the 10 goals by Rizzo. Silvestri left, knowing he is at the end of his cycle. In his place Manlio Scopigno, called "the Philosopher", who lead the team to an exciting championship. The goalkeeper Reginato set the unbeaten record: seven games in a row without the other team scoring. The ascent of Cagliari was held back by Riva's terrible injury. Against Portugal, the striker broke his leg by colliding with the goalkeeper Americo. Without Gigi, Cagliari only won twice in the last nine games. The 6th place was ungenerous: the Rossoblu deserved more. In July, after a stormy tour in America, Scopigno was exonerated. Ettore Puricelli took his place, who did not bond well with a good part of the team. The results were affected. Cagliari ranked only 7th in points with Torino and Varese. Disappointing placement, given the premises, for a team that boasts an offense formed by Riva and Boninsegna. Gigi was the new man of Italian football: all the big guys wante him, but thanks to Moratti's Saras and Rovelli's Sir, they managed to keep him in Sardinia. Around him, an even stronger team was built. With the sacrifice of Rizzo, sold to Fiorentina, Arrica was assured Ricky Albertosi and Mario Brugnera. Now Cagliari was competitive enough to fight with the big names. Not the last piece: the return to Scopigno's bench. The '68 -69 championship faded in the final stages. Fiorentina wins, ahead of Cagliari and Milan by four points. The appointment with the Tricolored team had been postponed only for a year.
A team from 1963 - Standing from left: il massaggiatore Cantagalli, Spinosi, Longo, Rizzo, Riva, Torriglia, Mazzucchi; down: Colombi, Martiradonna, Greatti, Tiddia, Cappellaro.
Historic, magical, epic, unforgettable. There are no words to describe this moment, to define the Championship of Cagliari, arrived in the 1969-70 season, at the height of an intelligent and wise programming, a cycle inaugurated years before with the promotion to Series A. As usual, Arrica played his cards well in the buying campaign. Boninsegna, a very strong but not compatible striker with Riva (even if the Mexican World Cup would say otherwise, or maybe not), is sold to Inter in exchange for Bobo Gori and Angelo Domenghini. The former was not a particularly prolific striker, but had excellent technique and moves according to his striking partner, particularly Riva. Domenghini was a powerful and tough wing, who easily found his way to the goal. He had a strong character, and beared the undisputed leadership of Riva. On the field, they held the motto “one for all and all for one”. Cagliari started very well: a draw at Sampdoria and four consecutive victories, including that of Fiorentina, the Italian champion. Inter nailed the Rossoblu to Amsicora on 1-1, then another positive mini-cycle of five matches. December 14, 1969, in Palermo, the first defeat of the season. Scopigno insulted the linesman and suffered a record disqualification: five months. The Rossoblu were affected and did not go on the same, away from home with Bari and within the walls of friends with Milan. It was a stunning moment:: five consecutive victories, with Riva unleashed, they left the competition behind: +4 on Juventus and +5 on Fiorentina. The Rossoblu relaxed. A draw at home with Fiorentina, a defeat of measure in Milan signed by the former Boninsegna. So, Gori and Riva stretched Naples and a draw in Rome, before the big Turin clash with Juventus, which came closer. The 2-2 final, with two goals from Riva, was rightly part of the legend. Now the road was all downhill. The certainty of the Championship came on 12 April 1970: Cagliari-Bari 2-0, with goals from Riva and Gori. The Rossoblu were champions of Italy, and the result made everyone or almost all the fans of Italy happy, who had elected Cagliari as a team-sympathy, and conquered by the feats, even in the blue jersey, of a strong and loyal athlete like Riva . To the coach Scopigno, nicknamed the Philosopher, the merit of having amalgamated the 16 men available, creating in the locker room a difficult to repeat atmosphere; to the general manager Andrea Arrica the merit of having realized on each of the components of the team and the adaptability to the Cagliari model. Riva, Albertosi, Niccolai, Cera, Domenghini and Gori left for Mexico, where they would be the main characters of the second place in the world cup, behind Peliv's unreachable Brazil.
A team from 1969/70. Standing from left: Nenè, Albertosi, Niccolai, Domenghini, Riva; down: Martiradonna, Brugnera, Gori, Zignoli, Cera, Greatti.
Ideally the Championship would have ended a cycle, even though Cagliari could have given more. When Gigi Riva was playing for Italy, during the European qualification at the “Prater” stadium of Vienna, the Austrian defender, Hof, broke his ACL with a serious tackle that caused the end of the season for Gigi Riva. At that time, Cagliari was first and foremost, but they lost ground and were kicked out of the Champions League by Atletico de Madrid. From here it was the beginning of a decline that coincided with the problem of aging with several leaders of Rossoblu: Greatti, Martiradonna, Domenighini and Cera slowly left the team. Riva couldn’t fix the situation with his talent. Scopigno quit .. Neither Edmondo or Nene could make the difference and relaunch the team. There were no signs of recovery like the forthcoming in 1972, but the best days were gone. In 1974/75 the Rossoblu achieved salvation mostly without Gigi Riva, they got salvation thanks to the work of Gigi Radice, a young and talented coach that replaced Chiappella. Unfortunately relegation became a reality the following year. Luis Suarez had no experience and the right attitude as a coach to guide a group of players. He was dismissed and Mario Tiddia couldn’t make miracles happen. The final blow came with the serious injury of Gigi Riva in the first part of the season. "Rumble of thunder" ended his career there. Cagliari was relegated in second division (Series B) after 12 memorable years, rebirth was tough. Two new talented strikers from Sardinia came out named Gigi Piras and Pietro Paolo Virdis. The imminent return to the top league with coach Toneatto failed because of a fan who threw an orange that hit Cannito in the face during the game which was lost 0-2 by default and the promotion was lost in the playoffs against Atalanta and Pescara. The following year the Rossoblu failed fully due to huge investments. Gigi Riva joined the management of the club. The president Mariano Delogu and Mario Tidda as coach, they took care of a club that had better times. With little money they built a new team formed by talented guys like Bellini and Corti and other players (Alberto Marchetti and Longubucco), underestimated players (Casagrande and Gatelli), certanties (Piras and Quagliozzi). The team had completed with the 36-year-old player Mario Brugnera who was voted as MVP of second division (Series B). At the end of an enthusiastic game against Sampdoria, they won 3-0, they were again at the top of the league (Series A). The club completely proved that they could compete in the top league. The club stayed in the top end of the table. Midfield, the striker Selvaggi stood out, as the most interested player of the second division, underestimated by big clubs. The team of Tiddia remained in the memory of the fans as one of the best teams in the Rossoblu history.
A team from 1978 - Standing from left: Brugnera, Corti, Roffi, Bellini, Ciampoli, Marchetti; down: Casagrande, Longobucco, Piras, Gattelli, Lamagni
The 1980s saw the darkest period for the Rossoblu club, which was almost cancelled, but at the same time and in some ways expected a sudden rebirth. It had begun under the best auspices, the decade, with the return home of the prodigal son Virdis. Together with Piras and Selvaggi they composed a respectable trident, which included Turin and Rome. A new salvation without difficulty, 6th place that in other times would have been worth the UEFA, and once again received support for the game played by a team that now goes down in memory. But a turnaround was being prepared in the Club. Cagliari was taken over by the Tuscan entrepreneur Alvaro Amarugi. He had ideas and imagination, but the money was what it was, and his fiery character did not help him. The team went through a terrible year, only saving themselves on the last day with Carosi on the bench, and the following year he was relegated to B. A decisive defeat in the play-off match on the pitch of Mazzoni's Ascoli. A very troubled season, with the failure of foreigners Uribe and Victorino, and the continuous contrasts between President Amarugi on the one hand, and Riva and Giagnoni on the other. Life in B was very difficult for a team with few resources, in an environment torn by controversy. Riva first resigned, then returned to save his team in Cagliari, which was on the edge of dying. The new President Moi in fact inherited a difficult economic situation, but put from his own, bringing the company to the final break-up. The team was unable to be affected. Coming so close to relegation to C, they however fell in the lower series the following year, burdened by a penalty. Riva struggled desperately against time to avoid failure. A group of businessmen from Cagliari took on the responsibility to repay the debts. The new President Tonino Orrù was a guarantee. After a new nightmare season, and C2 approaching,the President attempted to bring Cagliari back up. He hired a shrewd of sports directors like Carmine Longo, and a young and ambitious coach: Claudio Ranieri. The trio Orrù-Longo-Ranieri worked miracles. From C to A in two years: the exhilarating journey of Silvestri's Cagliari was repeated. The old Amsicora brought good luck, where the Rossoblu were forced to play due to the renovation works of the Sant'Elia in view of the 1990 World Cup. Once again, they were Series A, after eight years of suffering.
A team from 1989 - Standing from left: Ielpo, Firicano, Valentini, Provitali, Festa, Cappioli; down: De Paola, Poli, Bernardini, Pulga, Paolino
The team that faced the Series A, which had become the best in the world, reinforced itself with Gianfranco Matteoli, one of the strongest Sardinian players of all time, who crowned the dream of wearing the Rossoblu shirt, and the Uruguayan trio: Enzo Francescoli, Josè "Pepe" Herrera and Daniel Fonseca. The former was an all-around champion, to whom Juventus had also thought to replace Platini; the second a generous fullback, adaptable to midfield and admirable for grit and dedication to the cause; the third a young striker with an irresistible cue, who came to the fore at the World Championships in Italy '90. Even with these arrivals, the Rossoblu did not seem too competitive compared to the teams that circulated in A. Above all, a first tip was missing, which did not even reach the repair market. The fans, unhappy, disputed the Company. Cagliari was desperately last on the 12th day with 5 points, and with little hope of going back up. Ranieri continues, while never giving up hope. The turning point in Turin against Juventus by Baggio and Schillaci. Below 2-0 after 20 minutes, the Rossoblu reorganized and caught up with the Old Lady. With the return to the maximum condition of Francescoli, and the explosion of Fonseca, Cagliari had a miraculous salvation. Ranieri took his leave from being victorious. In his place, the Orrù called Massimo Giacomini, who however only lasted six games. A victory against the shielded Samp and five defeats. Arrived, recommended by Ranieri, Carlo Mazzone, an old fox specialist in carrying the unsafe in port. The Roman coach did not fail even in Cagliari, again helped by Fonseca's goals. In the summer of '92 the change of ownership took shape. The Orrù family sold the company to a young entrepreneur from Sanluri: Massimo Cellino. No one could foresee it at that time, but he would become the President with the longest militancy in Rossoblu history. The team now had its own physiognomy and was ready for a quantum leap. Fonseca went to Naples, replaced by an unknown Brazilian naturalized Belgian: Luis Oliveira. The newcomer found it difficult to start. First he had to fight with the competition of Bresciani, then sold the latter, he was not at ease with the role of first striker. But when he settled in, he became devastating. With an increasingly decisive Francescoli, a huge Matteoli in the control room, without forgetting the fundamental contributions of Pusceddu, Herrera, Festa, Ielpo, Bisoli and Moriero, Cagliari was in 6th place and got the UEFA Cup qualification after more than twenty years old. The Cellino era could not have started better. Francescoli was sold to Turin, and Mazzone left his favorite team to train Rome. The substitute was Gigi Radice, who returned to Cagliari after 24 years. It would be a brief touch and escape: in practice, he was fired even before starting. He was replaced by Bruno Giorgi, a gentleman technician, who had his hands full to find the balance in a team that was too unbalanced forward, together with Moriero, Matteoli, Oliveira and the new arrivals Allegri and Dely Valdes. Cagliari in the league went to alternating current. On the other hand, it was a rage in the Cup, where he dismissed Dinamo Bucharest, Trabzonspor, Malines and Juventus, before giving in with many regrets to enter in the semifinals. In 1994 it was up to the Uruguayan Oscar Washington Tabarez to sit down on the Rossoblu bench. It was a great season for the Rossoblu, who greeted Matteoli and acquired the young bomber Muzzi. The UEFA placement vanished for nothing. Things would get worse the following year, despite the employment of the most titled Italian coach: Giovanni Trapattoni. The results were up and down, and at mid-season, Trap was forced to pack to make room for the Giorgi return horse. The Uruguayans Fabian O'Neill and Dario Silva had arrived: they would become idols. 1996 was the first year of football after the Bosman ruling. Italian teams bought low-priced foreign players at no cost. Cagliari was no exception. Unfortunately the various Tinklers, Lonstrup, Pascolo, Romero and Vega were not up to par. Gregorio Perez, a foreigner, was also unlucky. The team struggled in the last positions, and the President Cellino recalled Carletto Mazzone. Thanks to Tovalieri's goals, called "Il Cobra", the Rossoblu arrived at the play-offs against Piacenza. In Naples, the Emilians won 3-1 and Cagliari fell to B after six years. Purgatory lasted only one season. Giampiero Ventura, at the head of a revolutionary team, immediately reported the Rossoblu in the top flight. He did not enter the hearts of the fans, but the coach knew how to do it, and he drove his boys to a good freshman championship. The following year, however, it would be forgotten. Tabarez disappointed, and his successor Ulivieri was even worse. At the dawn of the new millennium, Cagliari fell again in Series B.
A team from 1992 -Standing from left: Ielpo, Bisoli, Napoli, Herrera, Firicano, Pancaro; down: Oliveira, Francescoli, Gaudenzi, Matteoli, Festa.
The Series B has always been the usual indecipherable labyrinth, which was designed to elect which teams would be promoted to the last stages of the tournament. The new Cagliari entrusted to Gianfranco Bellotto instead was similar to shrimp, starting well but collapsing in the end, exactly when it should be getting better. The change of coach with the arrival of Giuseppe Materazzi was of no use, if not to worsen the overall performance. Also the performance of the striker Cammarata, taken from Verona by gold, was unsatisfactory. Nothing compared to what happened the following year. The team was passed from the hands of Antonio Sala to those of the duo Nuciari-Matteoli, up to Nedo Sonetti, who brought the boat into port, after having touched a resounding relegation. Mauro Esposito had already arrived, the fast Honduran striker David Suazo was slowly blossoming. Unfortunately the fans would have to be patient again. Sonetti was fired before starting the new season. The return of Giampiero Ventura did not give the expected results: Cagliari failed the promotion. To go back up, they would have to wait for the following year. The "Sant'Elia" stadium filled up like it had in the good times to admire the magic of Gianfranco Zola, the strongest Sardinian player ever, who returned to Sardinia to end his career, as was immediately shown on the field.They had to play at Tempio stadium and wait until January due to the unavailability of the Rossoblu stadium. Gianluca Festa, another red-blue heart, also returned. From Torres, there was Antonio Langella, a powerful wing with an optimistic character. The team was very strong, but did not take off fully. President Cellino in mid-season opted for replacing Ventura with Edoardo Reja. The new coach put things right. Dragged by their strikers' goals, Cagliari finally returned to Series A. Victory and triumph came to Cagliari after defeating Salernitana. The coach changed for the new year in the top league. It was the turn of the young Daniele Arrigoni, who wisely continued in the wake of his predecessor. Cagliari showed when it could unleash its devastating offensive force. The results were less brilliant on the road, which lead only to an 8th place in the standings, with the icing of the Italian Cup semi-final, still lost against Inter. Esposito and Langella were called into the national team by Marcello Lippi, who was shaping the next world champion team. 2005-2006 was not so happy. Without Zola, who had left football, the Rossoblu were struggling. On the bench Tesser, Ballardini and Sonetti alternated. Only with the latter, the team found its main course and managed to save itself with a day in advance. Cellino started from the young coach Marco Giampaolo, who did well with Treviso and Ascoli. The coach started well, but then something stopped working and in December he lost his job. The Colomba management, after an encouraging start, turned out to be a failure, and Giampaolo was called back. In the end, it was salvation by a breath. Giampaolo confirmed, after obtaining a white card, he was able to design the team he wanted with his beloved 4-4-2. Suazo, Esposito and Langella left for other shores. In their place came interesting young people but all to be evaluated in A: Alessandro Matri, Robert Acquafresca, Joaquin Larrivey. The results, however, were not up to par. Cellino resorted to Sonetti, but the old leader had lost his flare. Cagliari collected humiliating setbacks, and in December they seemed already doomed, very far from the salvation zone. The President tried the Ballardini card, surprisingly. The Emilian coach in his short previous experience with Rossoblu had failed to win a game. The staff were strengthened with the signings of goalkeeper Marco Storari and Brazilian striker Jeda, and the return of playmaker Andrea Cossu, thoroughbred from Cagliari. The daring victory over Naples was the signal of revenge. Not even a sentence from the FIGC that removed three points from the Rossoblu (later returned), could stop the march of Cagliari. Acquafresca explodes: 11 goals at the end of the tournament. The Rossoblu were saved even with a day in advance, making the fans explode with enthusiasm. The players were the protagonists of a salvation that would forever remain in history as one of the greatest teams of the Company, going around the city on an open-top bus, acclaimed by the crowd. The bench was passed from Ballardini to Massimiliano Allegri, a former 90's red-blue midfielder. The new coach was welcomed with a touch of distrust: the fans remembered him as a very talented player, but also indolent. Goalkeeper Marchetti arrived from Albinoleffe, to cover the hole left by Storari's departure. The beginning was chilling. Five defeats in 5 matches. There would be enough to greet Allegri, but President Cellino confirmed his confidence. After a "lukewarm" draw with Milan, the Rossoblu began to fly. Jeda and Acquafresca were back in shape, which dragged the team even to the edge of the UEFA zone. It became a memorable season, with the pearls of the victories on the field of Juventus (after 40 years of fasting), of Lazio and Inter champion of Italy. The new record of goals scored on the road was established, the defense was the best at home. Some slips in the final, and the missed landing in Europe, did not invalidate the good things previously combined: the 9th final place deserved only applause. The following year the team, strengthened in offense by the Brazilian Nenè, strong part, even settling in a step from fourth place. After February, between injuries and declines in shape, the Rossoblu had a vertical collapse. The points of advantage accumulated in regards to the many dangers, but there weren’t any problems of salvation; more was expected. Cellino exonerated Allegri five games from the end, replacing him with Primavera coach Melis assisted by Gianluca Festa. Nothing to do, victory remained a mirage. We consoled ourselves with the summons of Biondini, Cossu and Marchetti in light blue. It started from Pierpaolo Bisoli, the Rossoblu flag turned out to be a winning and creative coach. Unlucky experience: the team did not take off. Rossoblu Roberto Donadoni arrived on the bench in November. The former national coach reported order and play in the Sardinian team and despite the "sacrifice" of Matri to Juve at the end of the January market, lead the team with dignity towards a peaceful salvation. This was followed by a fiery season that records the Bergamasco coach's pre-season exemption and the lack of agreement for the return of David Suazo: many new faces in the locker room. Avramov, Ekdal, El Kabir, Eriksson, Gozzi, Ibarbo, Larrivey (a deja-vu), Rui Sampaio and Thiago Ribeiro were the elements on which it aimed to not be satisfied only with salvation.The technical guide was entrusted to Massimo Ficcadenti who in his opening days made the fans dream of keeping the team in the first positions of the ranking, but it would prove a flash in the pan. After the defeat of Bergamo by Atalanta Ficcadenti, he was replaced by Davide Ballardini, his third experience on the Cagliari bench. However, the team did not reverse course and continued to not do well. In January with the arrivals of Dessena and especially Pinilla the Rossoblù seemed to reverse the course but this did not allow Ballardini to end the season: on the Cagliari bench he returned to sit Ficcadenti who would conquer a painful salvation only three days from the end while succumbing to Genoa on the Brescia neutral. The positive note of the season finale was when they scored a goal during an away game on the field of Florence where Cagliari had not won for over 20 years. But this last season (2011-12) would be remembered for the image of the Sant'Elia widespread all over the world in almost deserted stands and for being forced to play the last four home games at the "Nereo Rocco" of Trieste. It started from Massimo Ficcadenti and with a great return: that of Marco Sau, a striker who grew up at home and returned to base after being around Italy. The results, however, did not reward the coach who was replaced by Ivo Pulga in collaboration with Diego Lopez. Cagliari came to life immediately, but a sequence of defeats in the final part of the first round brought the team to the bottom of the standings. It was just a bad time, however they had an outstanding second half: 31 points, which brought the Rossoblùs to a quiet salvation. All in all the main problems were given by the situation of the playing field. The Company re-modernized and made the Is Arenas Quartu stadium usable, but a whole series of bureaucratic complications forced the Rossoblù to emigrate once again to Trieste. Being saved in fluency by having to debate in a situation like this is a huge undertaking that will remain in the club's history. 2013-14 continued to hold the stadium problem. From November the Rossoblù returned to the Sant'Elia, but the capacity remained at 5000 places until the end of the season. Cagliari disputed a quiet championship, always remaining well above the danger line and was saved with three days in advance. Bad in the direct confrontations, the Rossoblù refer to expenses of accredited formations like Fiorentina, Parma and Udinese; the same Inter has stopped twice on the draw. In the middle of the year, Ivo Pulga took the place of Diego Lopez. On 10 June 2014, a corporate breakthrough that marked the end of an era: after 22 years Massimo Cellino gave the club to the entrepreneur Tommaso Giulini.
The team who achieved the incredible salvation on 2007/2008 - Standing from left: Jeda, Acquafresca, Parola, Biondini, Del Grosso, Matri, Mancosu, Capecchi, Storari, Larrivey, Lopez; down: Conti, Cotza, Foggia, Fini, Cossu, Magliocchetti, Bianco.
The 2015-16 season was the one where they ascended back in Series A. The Rossoblù do it with full sail, winning for the first time in their history the cadet tournament. In the long duel head-to-head with the surprise Crotone, Cagliari was victorious 83 points to 82, thanks to the victory on the field of Pro Vercelli on the last day, marked by an outstanding bicycle kick by Marco Sau. The promotion was never in question. Coach Massimo Rastelli was able to count on a super team, strong and complete in every department, which won 25 games out of 42 and scored 78 goals, awarded best attack in the league. Every striker making double-figure goals, apart from Melchiorri, who had to stop in the last two months of the season due to a serious injury. A solid complex also from a psychological point of view that react to the low blows of fate, in particular when captain Daniele Dessena in November had to practically end the season due to a bad injury.
The team, reinforced in the summer with elements of sure international caliber like the Portuguese Bruno Alves and the Chilean Isla, did well also in the next Series A championship. The eleventh final place was a good result in a season in which the Rossoblù had always kept above the danger zone. A very pure talent was revealed, a thoroughbred from Cagliari: Nicolò Barella who was considered as one of the most promising youngsters of Italian football.
The 2017-18 season was more troubled: the rossoblù, led by Diego Lopez who replaced Rastelli, gained salvation in the last two days, with fundamental victories on the Fiorentina field and at home against Atalanta. However, it was a historic year because Cagliari inaugurated a new playing field: the Sardinia Arena, a facility built in 127 days, which would be the home of the Rossoblu until the final stadium was built in the Sant’Elia space.
In 2018-19 we restarted from the arrival on the bench of Rolando Maran, expert coach with more than 200 appearances in Series A.
2019-20 is the season of the Centenary, and Cagliari starts as best it could not. Without Pavoletti, due to a knee injury, but driven by the strongness of Radja Nainggolan, returning from Inter, and by the goals of Joao Pedro, never so well (18 goals at the end of the year for the Brazilian), the Rossoblù matches are authentic shows, winning overall in difficult fields such as Naples and Bergamo. 13 consecutive useful results allow Cagliari to stay in the highest part of the table. An unlucky and daring home defeat against Lazio marks the beginning of the turnaround: Maran gives way to Walter Zenga, who drives the team to 14th place. An anomalous edition of the Serie A championship, however, suspended for more than three months due to the explosion of the Covid 19 pandemic. The last twelve games are played in the summer, the tournament closes between 1 and 2 August.
The new coach called to lead the team in summer 2020 is Eusebio Di Francesco.