Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy that it happened. Yes, this is the final edition of these lost episodes of Gazzetta Football Italia that our man James Richardson had squirrelled away on some old things called videos. This batch features the man who was Ronaldo, the actual Ronaldo, Andriy Shevchenko surprising even himself with his brilliance and John Charles having a little weep when thinking about the old times. Enjoy.
If you missed the previous three collections of Gazzettas, you’re in for a treat: here they are.
Ronaldo before Ronaldo was Ronaldo, a poke in the eye and Zidane – April 17, 1999
As the 1998/99 season reached its business end, James travelled to Udine to speak to and tell the story of Marcio Amoroso, the man who was Ronaldo before Ronaldo was Ronaldo. A career stymied after some nasty knee injuries in his early days in Brazil, Amoroso nonetheless ripped it up for a few years there and was reaching the peak of his powers when our man came to town.
This episode also featured a gloriously bizarre sending off, as Piacenza forward Ruggiero Rizzitelli got his marching orders after reacting rather badly to being poked in the eye – the bizarre bit being that it was the referee who (accidentally, apparently) did the eye poking, to which Rizzitelli responded with some choice effs and jeffs. And that, apparently, was enough to warrant a red card. Seems harsh.
Jimbo brought us news that Zinedine Zidane had announced that he was staying at Juventus for the time being, but that he very much had an eye on doing one a year later, specifically in the direction of Spain, and specifically to one of the Madrid clubs. Look how that one worked out. Meanwhile the stink that Zdenek Zeman had caused a few months earlier by suggesting that a bunch fo Juventus players were absolutely full to the brim with drugs in their mid-90s heyday had found its way to the courts, with Zeman maintaining that the Old Lady had been taking more than Werther’s Originals to put a pep in their collective step.
Roma’s Scudetto, Moggi’s fibs and John Charles – June 23, 2001
Roma! Roma! Roma! Joyous scenes in the capital and at Jimbo HQ as Roma wrap up their first Scudetto since 1983, as fittingly enough Francesco Totti and Gabriel Batistuta (and Vincenzo Montella) score the goals against Parma to wrap up the title. Although there was a nervy bit at the end there as fans swamped the pitch, causing Fabio Capello to stalk around looking absolutely furious. But they won it all, sparking wild scenes throughout the city.
At the cafe, James brings us news of the conclusion of the ‘passport scandal’ which saw, among others, Alvaro Recoba and Juan Sebastian Veron fingered for some ropey paperwork, which delayed the latter’s move to Manchester United. Plus there was news of Juventus selling Pippo Inzaghi to finance the purchase of Lilian Thuram, while Luciano Moggi looked us straight in the eye and told us there was no chance of Zinedine Zidane leaving Juve for Real Madrid. Moggi, fibbing? Imagine.
Finally, if the thought of old boys getting a bit weepy as they remember their salad days is the sort of thing that sets you off, then we don’t recommend the package on John Charles returning to Juventus, crying as he struggles around the Delle Alpi, fans almost certainly too young to have even been born during his time in Turin singing his name. It really is getting quite dusty in here…
Sheva surprises himself, Roy’s binned and Ronaldo rises – December 15, 2001
Fenomeno! This festive edition of Gazzetta saw Ronaldo, knee theoretically reconstructed, score his first Serie A goal in over two years, as he stabs one home for Inter against Brescia. combining tidily with Christian Vieri who was on a red hot streak. The Italian papers were thus convinced that Inter would win their first Scudetto since 1989, but Inter gonna Inter: the final day of that season would see them choke in flamboyant style, as covered in this edition of Golazzo.
Elsewhere Milan face Juventus, where Andriy Shevchenko scores an absolutely astonishing goal, and happily enough James went to speak to the great man, who surprised even himself with his brilliance.
In the news, Roy Hodgson is binned off by Udinese, Cesare Maldini sorts himself out with a contract to manage Paraguay at the upcoming 2002 World Cup, plus some nervousness from Parma about playing their UEFA Cup win in Tel Aviv.
For more slices of Italian football nostalgia, we can heartily recommend Golazzo, to which you can subscribe here. Or indeed you can get a twice-weekly dose of James Richardson on the Totally Football Show – subscribe here.