At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

11 December 2018

Fabrizio Ravanelli - footballer

Juventus star who became a favourite at Middlesbrough


Fabrizio Ravanelli won five trophies in four years with Juventus
Fabrizio Ravanelli won five trophies
in four years with Juventus
The footballer Fabrizio Ravanelli, who won five trophies with Juventus between 1992 and 1996 before stunning the football world by joining unfashionable Middlesbrough in the English Premier League, was born on this day in 1968 in Perugia.

Playing alongside Gianluca Vialli and Alessandro Del Piero in the Juventus forward line, Ravanelli scored in the 1996 Champions League final as the Turin side beat Ajax in Rome before signing for Middlesbrough just six weeks later.

The ambitious club from the northeast of England paid £7 million (€8.5m) for Ravanelli, a club record fee and at the time the third largest sum paid for any player by an English club.

It was part of a huge spending spree by Middlesbrough, managed by former England captain Bryan Robson, that brought a string of high-profile signings to the club's Riverside Stadium including the Brazilian playmaker Juninho and England international Nick Barmby and another Italian, the Inter defender Gianluca Festa.

Ravanelli made an immediate impact, scoring a hat-trick on his Premier League debut against Liverpool, and ended the season with 31 goals in league and cup matches.

He also helped Middlesbrough reach both domestic cup finals, although it was a disappointing season for the club, who were runners-up on both occasions and were relegated from the Premier League.

Fabrizio Ravanelli, back row, second from right, lines up with the Juventus team before the 1996 Champions League final
Fabrizio Ravanelli, back row, second from right, lines up with
the Juventus team before the 1996 Champions League final
Ravanelli, whose position as a fans’ favourite was somewhat diminished by his outspoken comments about the club’s facilities and the town of Middlesbrough itself, had a further season in England when he joined Derby County for the 2001-02 campaign, but also suffered relegation there.

Although he finished second in the French Ligue 1 with Marseille, Ravanelli’s successes were all won it his native Italy.

A prolific scorer for his hometown club Perugia in Serie C and Serie B football at the start of his career, he had spells with Avellino, Casertana and Reggiana before joining Juventus in 1992, where he had to compete for a place in the forward line with not only Vialli and Del Piero but Roberto Baggio, Paolo Di Canio, Pierluigi Casiraghi and Andreas Möller.

After initially struggling to obtain a starting spot under coach Giovanni Trapattoni, due to this fierce competition, he worked hard to improve his skill level and eventually managed to hold down a place.

Ravanelli was a club record £7 million signing when he joined Middlesbrough in July 1996
Ravanelli was a club record £7 million signing
when he joined Middlesbrough in July 1996
During the 1994–95 season, under Marcello Lippi, he played a key role as the club claimed a domestic double of Serie A and Coppa Italia, playing in a three-man attack alongside Vialli, and either Baggio or Del Piero.

The Supercoppa Italia and the Champions League came the following season, to go with the medal he had won in 1993 as part of Trapattoni’s UEFA Cup-winning team.

Returning to Italy after his time with Middlesbrough and Marseille, Ravanelli was a double-winner again as Sven-Göran Eriksson’s Lazio team took the Serie A and Coppa Italia titles in 2000-01, adding his second Supercoppa Italia medal the following year.

A dynamic, physically strong left-footed striker known for his strong work ethic and determined temperament, as well as his eye for goal, Ravanelli earned the nickname 'The White Feather' because of his prematurely grey hair. In addition to his club success, he won 22 caps for the Italian national team, scoring eight goals.

He finished his playing career where it began, with Perugia, in 2005, before starting a coaching career that has not yet brought him success.  After two years as a youth coach at Juventus, he was appointed head coach of French Ligue 1 club AJ Ajaccio in the summer of 2013, but was sacked after just five months with only one win from 12 games.

A regular football pundit for Sky Italia, Fox Sports, and Mediaset, Ravanelli signed a contract in June this year to coach the Ukrainian Premier League club Arsenal Kyiv but resigned in September after only three months in charge.

A plaque placed in Piazza della Libertà to commemorate the 100th anniversary in 2000 of the founding of SS Lazio
A plaque placed in Piazza della Libertà to commemorate
the 100th anniversary in 2000 of the founding of SS Lazio
Travel tip:

Although they have played their home games at the Stadio Olimpico, the ground in the north of Rome that they share with city rivals AS Roma, the SS Lazio football club used to play in the Prati district, now a chic neighbourhood known for its wide, sweeping avenues, elegant architecture and affluent residents. SS Lazio was formed in 1900 by a group of young men at a meeting near the Piazza della Libertà on the banks of the Tiber.  Prati is also the home of the vast Palazzo di Giustizia in Piazza Cavour that houses the Supreme Court.

Hotels in Rome from Expedia.co.uk

Perugia's Piazza IV Novembre is one of the city's main squares, home to the city's cathedral
Perugia's Piazza IV Novembre is one of the city's main
squares, home to the city's cathedral
Travel tip:

Perugia, where Fabrizio Ravanelli was born, is a city of around 170,000 inhabitants built on a hill in Umbria, of which it is the regional capital.  Established in the Etruscan period, it remained an important city, always a target for invading armies because of its strategic value.  Nowadays, it is home to some 34,000 students at the University of Perugia and is a notable centre for culture and the arts, hosting the world-renowned Umbria Jazz Festival each July. It also hosts a chocolate festival – Perugia being the home of the Perugina chocolate company, famous for Baci.  The artist Pietro Vannucci, commonly known as Perugino, lived in nearby Città della Pieve and was the teacher of Raphael.

Perugia hotels from Hotels.com

More reading:

Marcello Lippi, Italy's third World Cup-winning coach

How Roberto Baggio became a football icon

The seven titles that put Giuseppe Trapattoni out on his own

Also on this day:

1475: The birth of Pope Leo X

1912: The birth of movie producer Carlo Ponti

1944: The birth of singing star Gianni Morandi


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