Vieri – First Steps At Left Back
Christian Vieri was born in Bologna in 1973, the son of a successful footballer. His father, Roberto, had played for Sampdoria, Roma, Bologna, Juventus and Fiorentina. Towards the end of his playing career, Vieri senior took the family to Sydney, where he played for several years for the Marconi Stallions, a team drawn from the city’s large Italian community. It was there that Vieri junior took his first steps in football, playing left back in one of the youth teams. When he immediately began scoring more goals than the strikers, he was moved forward.
By the age of 14, Vieri was following Serie A on television, entranced by Sampdoria’s legendary forward line of Roberto Mancini and Cianluca Vialli. “They became my idols. I said to my dad: T am going to play football in Italy’. He said: ‘What on earth are you talking about, playing football in Italy?’ I took the plane anyway.”
Vieri moved in with his grandparents in Tuscany. In 1989, he had a season in the youth team of third division Prato before being signed by Serie As Torino. In the following four years he played for four different clubs – Pisa, Ravenna, Venezia, Atalanta – before joining Juventus in 1996. A year in Spain followed before Vicri left Madrid for Lazio. His larger-than-life and uncompromisingpersonality may account for why he never stayed too long at any club but his next move — to Moratti’s Inter — appeared to finally represent a kind of settling down.
Vieri played for Inter from 1999 to 2005 and has never really come to terms with the club’s decision to let him go.
“I gave Inter everything, mentally and physically. It was my life. I was in love with Inter but they asked me to rescind my contract. They didn’t want me any more after everything I did for them, after them telling me: ‘You are Inter’.”
Inter had obviously concluded that Vieri had come to the end of the road as a player. As Fiorentina push them hard in the 2007-08 title race, it is a verdict that could yet come back to haunt them.