Born in Uliveto Terme on 28 June 1943, the son of a salesman, in 1958 Taccola moved to Genoa – where he almost immediately caught the eye of the local club. At Genoa he quickly established himself as one of the most talented young players in Italian football – leading Roma to pay 90 million lire for his signature in 1967.
It was a eye-catching deal, for a player who was lightning fast (He could run the 100 metres in a splash over 11 seconds) yet also had a fine first touch and evasive dribbling ability. He scored on his debut (against Inter Milan) and proved to be the catalyst for a fast start to the season, with a 1-0 win over Juventus putting the side top of the league in November. Taccola did not score that day but he had scored many others – and would continue, including a brace against Brescia on the last day of the year that left the side second in the table.
That fired Taccola into 1968, where he would score seven goals in 12 games and earn an international call-up. He seemed to be just hitting his stride as a player when, cruelly, it was all cut short – the 25-year-old dying in the dressing room at the Stadio Amsicora in Cagliari ahead of another game.
At Uliveto Terme a statue stands in his name, at Trigoria there is a road named after him. Despite what could have been, his memory will live on.
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