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Ten claims to fame: Torino

Tragedy put an end to Torino FC's most celebrated period, but as UEFA.com discovers, the team formed by dissident Juventus members was never down for long.

Torino are back in the hunt for a first European trophy
Torino are back in the hunt for a first European trophy ©AFP/Getty Images

Back in Europe after a 21-year absence, Torino FC are up against it as they take on Athletic Club in the UEFA Europa League round of 32, but as UEFA.com discovers, the Italian side with a glorious past could yet have a magnificent future too.

Formed: 1906
Nicknames: Toro (the Bull), Granata (the Maroons)

UEFA club competitions honours (runners-up in brackets)
• UEFA Cup: (1992)

Domestic honours (most recent triumph in brackets)
• League title: 7 (1975/76)
• Coppa Italia: 5 (1992/93)

• Torino owe their existence to a disagreement at Juventus. The club was formed in 1906, when a bunch of dissident Juventus members decided to start a team of their own. On 3 December, the 23 founders gathered at the Voigt pub in Turin and established the new institution, originally named Foot Ball Club Torino.

• Only seven clubs have spent more seasons in Serie A than Torino; since the first edition in 1929/30, the Granata have featured in 70 of the 82 top-flight campaigns.

• Their traditional home remains in dire need of some love. Torino play at the Stadio Olimpico – the former Stadio Comunale, which was refurbished for the 2006 Winter Olympics – with the Stadio Filadelfia, where they won six Scudetti, having gone to seed since the club moved on in 1949.

• Torino were one of the greatest teams of the 1940s. 'Il Grande Torino' won the league five times in a row in that decade, either side of a break occasioned by the Second World War, and famously went unbeaten for 100 games from January 1943.

'Grande Torino' on the eve of Superga
'Grande Torino' on the eve of Superga©Getty Images

• Valentino Mazzola was their greatest star. The captain and No10 in that 1940s selection, the gifted attacking midfielder was famous for rolling up his sleeves when Torino were struggling – a signal for his team-mates to redouble their efforts. Brilliance ran in his family; Mazzola's son Sandro was a stalwart of the 'Grande Inter' FC Internazionale Milano squad that won the European Champion Clubs' Cup twice in the 1960s.

• An air accident destroyed Torino's greatest side. The entire squad perished on 4 May 1949, when a plane carrying the team back from a friendly game against SL Benfica crashed into the Superga hill near Turin. The Superga disaster remains an open wound for Torino, and Italian football as a whole. A famous phrase – solo il fato li vinse (only fate could beat them) – sums up Italians' feeling about the talents wasted.

• Another great Torino player had his career cut short in tragic circumstances. The club were relegated for the first time in 1959 but bounced right back, discovering a new hero in the 1960s in the form of the charismatic Luigi Meroni. Nicknamed 'La Farfalla Granata' (The Maroon Butterfly), the skilful winger was famously eccentric too – at one point he was in the habit of walking a chicken around on a lead. However, the 'Italian George Best' was killed in a car crash on 15 October 1967, which also involved future Torino president Attilio Romero, then just 19.

• The club's last title success in 1976 was a thriller. They finished two points clear of Juventus in the final reckoning after a stirring spring campaign. The stars of that side included creative inspiration Claudio Sala – nicknamed 'The Poet of the Goal' – and forwards Francesco Graziani and Paolino Pulici – 'I Gemelli del Gol' (The Goal Twins) – who scored 36 between them that season. With 172 goals in 436 games, Pulici remains Torino's all-time top scorer.

Gianluigi Lentini in the 1992 UEFA Cup final
Gianluigi Lentini in the 1992 UEFA Cup final©Getty Images

• The club made their only UEFA final appearance in 1992. Just three seasons after being relegated from Serie A again, Torino eliminated Boavista FC and Real Madrid CF en route to the 1991/92 UEFA Cup final. Emiliano Mondonico's side lost the two-legged decider on away goals, after a 2-2 aggregate tie with AFC Ajax, and twice hit the woodwork in the Amsterdam instalment.

• There is hope that they can reach another final this season. After finishing second in UEFA Europa League Group B, Torino take on Athletic with confidence building. After a shaky start in Serie A, Giampiero Ventura's men are reaching top gear. On 7 February, they beat Hellas Verona FC 3-1. It was their fourth successive Serie A victory – something Torino had not managed since winning the Scudetto nearly 40 years ago.