Christian Vieri

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Christian Vieri
Christian Vieri.jpg
Vieri in 2007 with Fiorentina
Personal information
Full name Christian Vieri
Date of birth (1973-07-12) 12 July 1973 (age 41)
Place of birth Bologna, Italy
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
Marconi Stallions
Prato
Torino
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1992 Torino 7 (1)
1992–1993 Pisa 18 (2)
1993–1994 Ravenna 32 (12)
1994–1995 Venezia 29 (11)
1995–1996 Atalanta 19 (7)
1996–1997 Juventus 23 (8)
1997–1998 Atlético Madrid 24 (24)
1998–1999 Lazio 22 (12)
1999–2005 Internazionale 143 (103)
2005–2006 Milan 8 (1)
2006 AS Monaco 7 (3)
2006 Sampdoria 0 (0)
2006–2007 Atalanta 7 (2)
2007–2008 Fiorentina 26 (6)
2008–2009 Atalanta 9 (2)
Total 374 (194)
National team
1992–1996 Italy U21 22 (11)
1997–2006 Italy 49 (23)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Christian Vieri (Italian pronunciation: [ˈkristjan ˈvjɛri]; born 12 July 1973) is a retired Italian footballer who played as a centre forward for the Italy national football team and 11 Serie A clubs, most notably Internazionale.

Vieri was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living footballers selected by Pelé as a part of FIFA's centenary celebrations.[1] For a number of years he was regarded as one of the finest strikers in Europe, leading to him becoming the world's most expensive player in 1999 when Inter paid Lazio £32 million (€43 million) for his services.[2]

Something of a footballing nomad, Vieri played for no fewer than 12 clubs throughout his career. Most notable were his spells at Juventus, Atlético Madrid, Lazio and Inter; with Inter he hit the net on more than 100 occasions. Vieri has often been described as an old fashioned centre forward, due to his physical presence and outstanding aerial ability, he is the all time top scorer of headed goals in Italian league history.

As well as picking up several winners medals during his career, Vieri also claimed many individual honours including the Pichichi and Capocannoniere (top scorer) titles in Spain and Italy and Italian Footballer of the Year twice. He is one of Italy's highest ever goalscorers in the FIFA World Cup with a combined nine goals from nine matches at the 1998 and 2002 tournaments.

Early life[edit]

Born in Bologna, Italy,[3] his family moved to Australia in the 1970s, residing in the suburb of Wetherill Park in South-Western Sydney and he attended Prairiewood High School. His father, Roberto Vieri played for Sydney-based club Marconi Stallions. It is from his father that he inherited his nickname Bobo which he carried with him throughout his career.

During his time in Australia, Vieri developed a love for both football and cricket, a sport he still follows to this day. He stated in an interview that he would have liked to have been a professional cricketer.[4] His brother, Massimiliano Vieri, is also a professional footballer and was an Australian international in 2004. Vieri played for Marconi Juniors when he was a child but his family soon moved back to Italy.

Club career[edit]

Vieri started his playing career at Marconi Stallions. While there, he was spotted by Torino and played his first Serie A game the next year for the Turin team. Vieri made nine appearances in total for Torino, scoring two goals. He also picked up a runners up medal as an unused substitute in the 1992 UEFA Cup Final, as Torino lost the tie to Ajax on away goals. In November 1992, he was sold to Serie B club, Pisa Calcio, scoring two goals from 18 appearances. He would only stay in Pisa for one season, moving to Serie B side, Ravenna, for the 1993–94 season where he scored 12 goals in 32 appearances. He was subsequently transferred to another Serie B club for the 1994–95 season, Venezia, where he scored 11 goals in 29 appearances.

After three seasons in Serie B, Vieri returned to Serie A for the 1995–96 season when he joined Atalanta where he scored nine goals in 21 appearances. His first big move came about when he was spotted by Juventus who signed him from Atalanta for a fee of €2.5 million for the 1996–97 season. He made 23 appearances and scored eight goals in Serie A, and six goals in ten matches in Europe, making him joint top scorer for Juventus that season along with Alen Bokšić. He ended his season at Juve by winning the 'Scudetto and starting in the 3–1 UEFA Champions League final loss to Borussia Dortmund.

Vieri's form for Juventus attracted the attention of Spanish side, Atlético Madrid who paid €10 million to sign the striker. He scored a total of 24 goals in 24 league appearances for Atlético and finished the season with 29 goals from 32 appearances, which saw him receive the Pichichi Trophy awarded to the league's top scorer. In an interview with Marca magazine shortly after arriving at the Calderón, he named his all-time sporting hero as Australian cricketer Allan Border.[5]

After his performances for Atlético Madrid and at the 1998 World Cup, he returned to the Serie A with Lazio for a fee of €25 million. He had a successful season, scoring 14 goals in 28 appearances and won the Cup Winners' Cup. However, the following season he was the subject of a (then) world record transfer of €49 million (£32 million) to Internazionale after drawing the attention of chairman Massimo Moratti and manager Marcello Lippi, who had requested the player after their successful season together at Juventus. Inter would be Vieri's ninth club in his ninth season of being a professional footballer.

At Inter, Vieri formed a potentially dangerous partnership with Ronaldo up front, but because of injuries to both players, they were not able to play together often. He was impressive in his first couple of seasons, but constant managerial changes meant that Inter could not challenge for the Scudetto. It was under disciplined Argentinian coach Héctor Cúper, that Vieri and Inter really began to flourish and challenge for honours. Vieri was made the focal point of the attack and scored 22 goals in 25 games in the 2001–02 season as Inter narrowly missed out on the title after their last-day defeat to Lazio. The following season he was Serie A Capocannoniere after scoring 24 goals in 23 appearances. In addition, he scored three goals in Inter's Champions League campaign and formed a potent partnership with Hernán Crespo. He scored both of Inter's goals in the quarter-final victory over Valencia. Vieri was injured during the second leg of this game and therefore played no part in the semi-final defeat to city rivals Milan.

The following year, Cúper was sacked only a few games into the season and was replaced by Alberto Zaccheroni. Vieri did not get along with his new manager[6] and also had many of the Inter fans turn on him after his dip in form. In addition, he had shown his discontent at the sale of strike partner Crespo to Chelsea. When Roberto Mancini replaced Zaccheroni in the summer of 2004, Vieri played the majority games upfront with Adriano. It was clear to many though that the injury he had sustained against Valencia had taken its toll on Vieri and he was no longer as sharp in front of goal, despite his respectable goal output.

In July 2005, Vieri and Inter came to a mutual agreement to terminate his contract with the club. He was then signed by cross-town rivals Milan, but left the Rossoneri – where he was not a regular starter – after just six months, joining French side Monaco in order to play regularly and gain a place in Italy's squad for the 2006 World Cup. However, he suffered a serious knee injury while playing for Monaco in 2006, which required extensive surgery and ruled out the possibility of playing in his third consecutive FIFA World Cup.

Vieri agreed a one-year deal with Sampdoria on 6 July 2006. However, Vieri returned to Atalanta on 29 August, signing a one-year minimum wage contract worth €1,500 per month. Although he received a paltry salary, Vieri was to earn another €100,000 for every goal he scored, leaving chairman Ivan Ruggeri to comment, "If things go well, Vieri will cost me €2 million." Vieri scored two goals in seven substitute appearances, including one spectacular long-range effort.

In June 2007, Atalanta announced they would not offer a contract extension to Vieri. His contract therefore ended on 30 June. Vieri signed a one-year deal with Fiorentina in the summer of 2007 and he was officially presented to the press on 21 July 2007.[7] He signed a one-year-contract for Atalanta on 30 June 2008. However, in early April, both Atalanta and Vieri mutually agreed that the contract was to be rescinded after only making nine appearances for the club.[8] He announced his retirement on 20 October 2009.[9]

International career[edit]

Vieri has scored 23 goals in 49 matches for Italy and played for his country at the 1998 World Cup, scoring five times, and the 2002 World Cup, scoring four times, though he endured a less successful tournament at Euro 2004, whilst he missed Euro 2000 and 2006 World Cup through injury. Vieri is generally considered to be Italy's greatest pure striker of recent times despite strong competition, and is one of Italy's most prolific World Cup goal scorers. Appearing in a total of nine World Cup games in 1998 and 2002, he found the net nine times, making him one of the most feared strikers in those tournaments along with Ronaldo and Miroslav Klose. He was named by Pelé as one of the 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.[1]

Vieri received his first international cap during the 1996–97 season after some impressive displays for Juventus. He scored a key goal for Italy in the play off against Russia during qualification for the 1998 World Cup. At the finals of the tournament in France he formed a strong partnership with Roberto Baggio. Vieri opened the scoring against Chile after an assist from his strike partner. He went on to score three more goals against Cameroon and Austria during the group stage. Vieri scored Italy's only goal in the round of 16 match against Norway. He scored Italy's fourth penalty in the quarterfinal shooutout against France but Luigi Di Biagio missed the fifth and Italy were eliminated. That quarter-final showdown against France was the only game of the tournament in which Vieri was unable to score.

Vieri missed out on Euro 2000 after suffering a recurrence of an old thigh injury, during the fourth place playoff with Parma at the end of the 1999–2000 season after a collision with Gianluigi Buffon, who would also miss out on the tournament.

Italy played Vieri as a lone striker in the 2002 World Cup, scoring an impressive four goals in four games. He managed a brace in the opening game against Ecuador and scored Italy's only goal in the 2–1 defeat to Croatia despite having a previous goal incorrectly ruled out for offside. In the round-of-16 match against South Korea he opened the scoring in the 18th minute, scoring a powerful header from a Francesco Totti corner. Italy led the game until the Koreans equalised 3 minutes before the end. Italy was eventually eliminated by South Korea by a golden goal. The only game in which he failed to find the net was against Mexico in a 1–1 draw.

Vieri was once again the main striker in Italy's ill fated Euro 2004 campaign. However, this time he did not fare so well, scoring no goals as Italy were eliminated in the first round. It was during this tournament that his now infamous "more of a man" press conference took place, where he hit back at his critics in the Italian press by stating that he was more of a man than any of them. It is worth noting that Euro 2004 occurred at a particularly painful period of Vieri's life, when he was being spied upon by his own club Internazionale and Telecom Italia at the request of club owner Massimo Moratti. In September 2012, Inter and Telecom Italia were ordered by a Milan court to pay Vieri damages amounting to €1 million for this case of phone tapping.

More disappointment occurred when he missed the 2006 World Cup after suffering a knee meniscus injury in a Ligue 1 match against Paris Saint-Germain on 26 March 2006.[10] Although Vieri would not necessarily have been a starter for Marcelo Lippi's side, Lippi admitted that he would have picked him had he been fit. He played in three tournaments, but failed to win a medal in each of them, missing out on the Euro 2000 runners up medal and the glorious 2006 World Cup winners medal.

Personal life[edit]

Vieri is of Italian and French descent as his mother Nathalie was born and raised in Paris.[11]

Christian Vieri's personal life has been subject to much media attention in Italy. He has been involved in many high profile relationships, including those with models Elisabetta Canalis, Elena Santarelli, Debora Salvalaggio, Fernanda Lessa and Melissa Satta among others.[12]

He has his own fashion label – Sweet Years[12] – which he runs with friend and former Italy and Milan team mate Paolo Maldini. The pair also own a number of restaurants in the city of Milan.[12] Another close friend of his is current Milan forward Alessandro Matri, with whom he has been seen holidaying in Spain, along with other friends.

His brother, Massimiliano "Max" Vieri, played for Australia.

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

[13][14][15]

Club performance League Cup Other Continental Total
Season Club Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Italy League Coppa Italia UEFA Super Cup Europe Total
1991–92 Torino Serie A 6 1 1 1 0 0 7 2
1992–93 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 0
1992–93 Pisa Serie B 18 2 0 0 18 2
1993–94 Ravenna 32 12 0 0 32 12
1994–95 Venezia 29 11 0 0 29 11
1995–96 Atalanta Serie A 19 7 2 2 21 9
1996–97 Juventus 23 8 5 1 1 1 8 4 37 14
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa Europe Total
1997–98 Atlético Madrid La Liga 24 24 1 0 7 5 32 29
Italy League Coppa Italia Supercoppa Europe Total
1998–99 Lazio Serie A 22 12 2 1 0 0 4 1 28 14
1999–2000 Inter Milan 201 13 5 5 25 18
2000–01 27 18 0 0 0 0 5 1 32 19
2001–02 25 22 1 0 2 3 28 25
2002–03 23 24 0 0 14 3 37 27
2003–04 22 13 1 0 9 4 32 17
2004–05 27 13 3 3 6 1 36 17
2005–06 A.C. Milan 8 1 1 1 5 0 14 2
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
2005–06 Monaco Ligue 1 7 3 0 0 2 1 2 1 11 5
Italy League Coppa Italia Supercoppa Europe Total
2006–07 Atalanta Serie A 7 2 0 0 7 2
2007–08 Fiorentina 26 6 1 0 12 3 39 9
2008–09 Atalanta 9 2 0 0 9 2
Total Italy 344 167 23 14 1 1 65 20 433 202
Spain 24 24 1 0 7 5 32 29
France 7 3 0 0 2 1 2 1 11 5
Career total 375 194 24 14 3 2 74 26 476 236

1Includes one Champions League Serie A play-off match (2000).

International[edit]

[16]

Italy national team
Year Apps Goals
1997 7 2
1998 7 6
1999 5 2
2000 1 0
2001 2 0
2002 8 5
2003 6 4
2004 7 3
2005 6 1
Total 49 23

International goals[edit]

Honours[edit]

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Fifa names greatest list". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "Top 50 most expensive footballers". The Times (London). 2 March 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "Christian Vieri". Yahoo! Eurosport UK. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Cricket is Vieri's real passion". Reuters. Rediff.com. 14 November 2003. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  5. ^ Powell, Jeff (3 July 1998). "Cricket fan Vieri aiming for a six hit". The Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Christian Vieri". Football-Rumours.com. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "Fiorentina sign Vieri to one-year contract". NDTV. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "Report: Christian Vieri To Rescind Atalanta Contract". Goal.com. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "Vieri retires from football". Sky Sports. 22 October 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "Vieri ruled out of Germany finals". UEFA. 9 May 2006. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  11. ^ Powell, Jeff (3 July 1998). "Cricket fan Vieri aiming for a six hit". Daily Mail (London). 
  12. ^ a b c "Vieri a bigger star than ever before as former Italy striker lets it all hang out by the beach". The Daily Mail (London). 6 December 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "Christian Vieri league stats". Lega Serie A. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "Christian Vieri career stats". Football Database.eu. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "Christian Vieri – Goals in European Cups". RSSSF. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Christian Vieri – Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  17. ^ "Christian Vieri". EU-Football.info. Retrieved 19 April 2013.

External links[edit]