Valencia, Italians and some childhood memories
Valencia, Italians and some childhood memories

Have you ever wondered why you started to support your team or how you chose favorite player? Let’s drop glory hunters’ motivation (and, to be honest, they often presents in one form or another). If we scratched deep through, most of us make their choice in childhood, with the help of the relatives, chance! So, actually it happened to me and with my favorite player, whose game in live edition I almost missed. This player was Stefano Fiore.

As I’ve written before, I started to get involved in football, when I turned 12. Before that, my heart was entirely given to Formula 1 (in fact, even by the efforts of Kimi Raikkonen, this love is maintained). And in 2005, with the help of Metalurg Zaporizhzhya, FIFA 2005 and Thierry Henry, I began to be seriously interested in football. I sometimes heard from television reports about a scorer which I never heard before-Luca Toni, and our Andriy Shevchenko can’t keep up with him. And I also saw in reports that someone called Fiore plays under Luca and regularly make assists. And that’s all. But then the summer of 2006 year was happened...

I’ve got into my hands new game which was FIFA 2006 World Cup. All summer we played in this game like a crazy in the intervals between our battles on real football grounds.  After the World Cup final, lost by France, I deeply disliked the Italians. Materazzi and Zidane conflict, Grosso’ simulation with Australia, knocking of Ukraine out from the tournament-I had enough reasons to hate them. But for unknown reasons, I started looking into Italian team deeper, as if I wanted to know the face of the enemy.

The face…

I decided to play for Italy once and began to rummage in the depths of the reserve players, as I often like to do with my propencity for rotation. I found Fiore in the team and decided to replace Gennaro Gattuso. And then I accidentally discovered that they look the same! In that FIFA part, before the replacement, the players showed themselves opposite to each other, and the difference was only in a more kind facial expression of Stefano. I was extremely amused by this fact, and I wanted to learn more about this player, especially since I read favorable reviews about the game of Fiorentina that season. At that time, I had virtually no Internet connection, and every little bit of information I could get was worth its weight in gold (yes, fortunately or unfortunately, many people don’t understand this now).Then,  I remembered that when I played in FIFA 2005, I saw several Italians in Valencia, but did not attach much importance to this. I knew even more Marco Di Vaio with 4 stars rating and memorable bald head.

And I wanted to go deeper.

It turned out that Stefano successfully played for Parma, Udinese, Lazio, and then moved to Valencia, where, like the rest Italians, including coach Ranieri, things went too badly after getting UEFA SuperCup on the start of the season. It seems to me that in those days the coaches tried too often to drag their fellow citizens after joining the club, with the varying success (even Jose Mourinho also had nuances in Chelsea, as Louis van Gaal in Barcelona). Only Emiliano Moretti, the most unknown player from this Italian company, had managed to stay in the starting 11. He still plays and have the captain armband in Torino.

The Italian revolution in Valencia completely failed, and after that they took a course towards becoming the base team of the Spanish nationals. With Morientes, Joaquin, Angulo, Albelda, Baraja, Canizarez, Marchena, Vicente and the two David’s - Silva and Villa. The other question is that most of this players finally stayed out from the national team, as the Italians behind the doors of Valencia, but it’s completely another story, which should definitely include Ronald Koeman.

I truly regret that I caught the twilight of the career of a magnificent Italian. I was devastated when Alberto Zaccheroni kept him on the bench in Torino (I still don’t understand why Stefano and Valencia couldn’t agree about permanent contract with Fiorentina), then a great bunch with Christiano Lucarelli in Livorno, reminiscent of a year-old union with Luca Toni, and finally a voyage to Mantova, where Stefano stayed only for the season. The end of his career in Cosenza in 2010 was completely unnoticed, and in fact he was only 35 years old... It’s not the big age for Italian footballers, as evidenced by the mass of players, including the aforementioned Luca Toni. Out of the whole Italians, who came to Valencia with Ranieri, the best protection of his reputation was made by Marco Di Vaio, who apparently gone too low in Genoa, which only fought for return to Serie A. After a year on the bench, nobody believed that he can complete with Zlatan for the Сapocannoniere title. Everyone remembers his goals for Bologna and Montreal Impact. Marco and Stefano became my favorite players along with Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and I’m very glad that I still managed to see a lot of games with Marco in live edition. And as for Stefano, I still remember this story with a smile when I see a violet shirt with 10 on the back in my collection.

New heroes are coming into the football, but somehow I more and more think about our heroes from the past…