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.
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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.
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.
• 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.
• 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.