For all football fans, he will always remain Ronaldo’s first manager in the Serie A. Luigi “Gigi” Simoni, a football coach and a gentleman, passed away on Friday at 81. His name is mostly linked to the 1997-98 season when he led Inter to win the UEFA Cup but lost his Scudetto chances in a controversial game against Juventus.
Players from Argentina have been a long-standing presence in Serie A since the league opened its frontiers to foreign players. With so many names to choose from and a couple of spots filled with no explanation needed (did anybody say Maradona?), we are sure our all-time Albiceleste selection in Italian sauce will spark some healthy debate.
Ever since the ‘70s, Brazilian players have been migrating from their home league towards European football and the Italian Serie A has been one of their preferred destinations. So why not make a Top 11 of Brazilians players in Italy? Boasting names like Cafu, Falcao, Ronaldinho, and Ronaldo, this sensational lineup will make your jaw drop!
On May 5th, 2002, three teams were still battling for the Scudetto with only 90 minutes to go. Inter, leading the ranks with 69 points, were due to play Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico. It was supposed to be an easy win for the Nerazzurri, in view of their long-lasting friendship with the Roman side. But Lazio’s midfielder Karel Poborsky had a different idea…
Alvaro Recoba’s first Serie A season perfectly summarized the future career of a player whose talent was equaled only by his indolence. El Chino tallied just three goals that year, but the one he scored to Empoli on January 25th, 1998 – a deadly left-foot lob from his midfield line (!) – instantly gained a spot into Inter’s hall of fame.
Right before last summer, Real Valladolid unexpectedly won the playoffs of the Spanish Segunda Division, getting promoted to play in La Liga. After struggling for four seasons in the second tier of Iberian football, the dream of a city, the dream of a region became true. Who would have thought that Ronaldo Nazario de Lima could show some interest in buying the club?
Sometimes, you make it to history not because of what you did, but of what you didn’t do. The France squad that won World Cup 1998 featured strikers like Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet. Yet, their starting forward was Stéphane Guivarc’h. Today’s World Cup Meteor (Number 9 on the pitch, and in our countdown) is the striker who won a world title without scoring a goal.