For Italy, Altobelli was capped 61 times between 1980 and 1988, scoring 25 goals, and he is currently Italy’s sixth highest goalscorer. His most notable international goal was Italy’s third goal in the 1982 FIFA World Cup final, which Italy won 3–1 over West Germany. After coming on in the seventh minute of play for the injured Francesco Graziani, he became the second ever substitute to score in a FIFA World Cup final (after Dick Nanninga in 1978 and with Rudi Völler and Mario Götze repeating this, in 1986 and in 2014, respectively). Altobelli also played at Euro 80, with Italy finishing in fourth place on home soil, as well as representing Italy at the 1986 FIFA World Cup, scoring 4 goals, which were, however, not enough to prevent the defending champions from crashing out of the tournament in the round of 16. He also represented Italy at Euro 88, where he played as the team’s captain, leading the Italian squad to the semi-finals once again. He made 4 substitute appearances scoring just after coming on in a 2–0 win over Denmark in the group stages.
Style of play
Altobelli was a highly prolific goalscorer, who was regarded as a complete striker, and one of the greatest Italian forwards of his generation. A well rounded centre-forward, with an eye for goal, he excelled in the air due to his heading accuracy, power, elevation, agility and acrobatic ability; he was also a fast, strong, hard-working, and opportunistic player, with good technique, and he possessed an accurate shot with either foot, in spite of being naturally left-footed. Moreover, he was capable of protecting the ball with his back to goal, and holding it up for his teammates.
He is currently a sports analyst for beIN Sports. Also, he previously served as a pundit for AlJazeera. After retiring, he had briefly entered politics, and also worked as a sporting director for Padova, and as a scout for Inter.