Tommasi in 2010
|Date of birth||17 May 1974|
|Place of birth||Negrar, Italy|
|Height||1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|2008||Queens Park Rangers||7||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Damiano Tommasi (Italian pronunciation: [daˈmjaːno tomˈmaːzi]; born 17 May 1974) is an Italian footballer who played as a defensive midfielder, and is the current president of the Italian Footballers' Association.
After a decade at Roma – winning the 2001 Serie A title – he continued his career abroad, going on to play for teams in three countries until his retirement from professional football at the age of 37. He amassed Serie A totals of 262 games and 14 goals.
Born in Negrar, Province of Verona, Tommasi started his professional career with local club Hellas Verona FC, in Serie B. He made his Serie A debut on 7 September 1996 with A.S. Roma in a 3–1 win over Piacenza Calcio, and would be an instrumental figure in the side's 2001 conquest of the scudetto, with manager Fabio Capello even labelling him as the team's most important player.
During a summer friendly match against Stoke City in 2004, Tommasi suffered a serious knee injury caused by Gerry Taggart, and was out of action long-term. In the summer of 2005 he accepted a one-year contract extension, with youth player wages (€1,500 a month) – a contract which he instigated himself in the name of fairness. He finally returned to play on 30 October 2005, coming on as a second-half substitute for Olivier Dacourt during a league match against Ascoli Calcio 1898 and being hailed with a long standing ovation by the Roma supporters.
On 27 November 2005, Tommasi scored after just two minutes in an eventual 1–1 home draw against ACF Fiorentina, being an important first-team member as Roma finished runner-up. After ten years with the club, in July 2006 he joined Levante UD in Spain, spending two seasons with the La Liga strugglers, eventually ending in relegation in 2007–08.
On 10 September 2008, Tommasi agreed a one-year deal with English Football League Championship team Queens Park Rangers. On 9 January 2009, his contract was terminated by mutual consent and, after advanced talks with Chinese Super League's Tianjin Teda, he signed for the club early in the following month, citing an interest in a third experience abroad as the main reason for it.
After one season, 35-year-old Tommasi left Teda and decided to return to Italy, joining amateurs Sant'Anna d'Alfaedo (Seconda Categoria), where he played alongside his two brothers. He made his debut with the team on 13 December 2009; he came out of retirement nearly six years later, with S.P. La Fiorita of San Marino. He stated on his decision: "It's a challenge that La Fiorita have given me the chance to experience all over again. I've been looking forward to this Europa League draw for ages now. Let's hope it will be a beautiful adventure and that I can add another chapter to my football career", and went to feature in their campaign in the UEFA Europa League campaign against FC Vaduz.
Tommasi played for the Italy under-21 team that won the 1996 UEFA European Championship, also being picked for that year's Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta where he made three appearances. He made his debut for the senior side on 18 November 1998, under Dino Zoff, in a 2–2 home draw against Spain, but did not become a regular team member until 2001.
After featuring prominently during the Azzurri's 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, Tommasi was picked by manager Giovanni Trapattoni for the squad that would take part at the finals in Japan and South Korea. He played in all four matches during the tournament, which ended in round-of-16 exit; in the decisive clash against co-hosts South Korea, he came close to scoring twice: first when Roma teammate Francesco Totti played him in only to have his shot blocked by Lee Woon-Jae. During extra time, referee Byron Moreno disallowed him a goal due to a controversial offside decision, and the Italians were eventually defeated by a golden goal.
Tommasi made his last appearance for Italy on 16 November 2003, in a 1–0 home victory over Romania. He scored the first of two goals for his country on 5 September 2001, in a 1–0 friendly win over Morocco.
Style of play
A quick, strong, tenacious, consistent, hardworking and versatile player, Tommasi primarily excelled at breaking down his opponents' plays and intercepting passes as a box-to-box or defensive midfielder, due to his stamina and hard-tackling style of play. He also possessed good technique, movement, intelligence and was an accurate passer, which enabled him to retain possession and start attacking plays after winning back the ball; these attributes allowed him to play anywhere in midfield, rather than being confined to a single position, and he was often deployed on the right flank earlier on in his career, as well as in the centre, or even as an offensive-minded midfielder, due to his eye for goal. In his youth, he also played as a central defender.
In January 2010, together with his agent Andrea Pretti and longtime friend Werner Seeber, Tommasi set up a company in China called Tommasi Pretti Seeber Sports Culture & Exchange Co., Ltd (TPS), aimed at creating a reliable bridge between Europe and the Asian country in the field of football.
- Married to Chiara, Tommasi has six children: Beatrice, Camilla, Susanna, Samuele, Emanuele and Aurora.
- A philanthropist, he was heavily involved in charity work, and arranges for footballers' disciplinary fines to go to good causes.
- Tommasi first began his involvement with charitable organisations in 1994, when he chose to undertake civil service instead of military service, as he "did not want to serve his country by holding a rifle."
- For his charitable work, he received the "Altro-pallone" award in 2000.
- When first called up by the national side, Tommasi said he did not deserve the honour in that moment.
- Italy under-21
- "Aic, a Tommasi il timone – Succederà a Campana" [Aic, Tommasi at the helm – He will succeed Campana]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 2 May 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- "Damian Tommasi" (in Italian). Hellastory. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- Lorenzo Stellini; Giorgio dell’Arti (1 October 2014). "Biografia di Damiano Tommasi" [Biography of Damiano Tommasi] (in Italian). cinquantamila.corriere.it. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- Roma robbed of Tommasi; UEFA.com, 23 July 2004
- Injury blow for Taggart; BBC Sport, 23 July 2004
- Tommasi takes one-year option; UEFA.com, 1 September 2005
- Tommasi's new lease of life; UEFA.com, 28 November 2005
- Fresh starts for Tommasi and Sá Pinto
- "QPR sign Italian veteran Tommasi". BBC Sport. 10 September 2008. Retrieved 10 September 2008.
- "Tommasi senza confini – Prossima tappa la Cina" [Tommasi without borders – Next step China]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 5 February 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
- China/ Official, Tommasi leaves Teda; Football Press, 3 November 2009
- "Dilettante e felice Tommasi è tornato" [Ecstatic and happy, Tommasi has returned]. La Repubblica (in Italian). 14 December 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
- "Soccer-Tommasi comes out of retirement at 41 to play in Europe". Reuters. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
- Damiano Tommasi – FIFA competition record
- "Notable alto" [B Plus]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 19 November 1998. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
- Tonelli, Matteo (18 June 2002). "Corea del Sud-Italia 2–1" [South Korea-Italy 2–1]. la Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- Sean Ingle (18 June 2002). "South Korea 2 - 1 Italy". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- "Soccer Referees on Run, and They Can't Hide". The New York Times. 21 June 2002.
- Paolo Bandini (1 June 2014). "World Cup: 25 stunning moments … No21: Italy lose to South Korea in 2002". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- "Italia-Romania 1-0" [Italy-Romania 1-0] (in Italian). www.italia1910.com. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- "L'Italia stenta con il Marocco" [Italy struggles with Morocco] (in Italian). www2.raisport.rai.it. 5 September 2001. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- "Un giocatore, un mito: Damiano Tommasi, anima candida" [A player, a myth: Damiano Tommasi, pure soul] (in Italian). Stadio Sport. 15 September 2010. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
- "Damiano Tommasi". BBC Sport. 8 May 2002. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
- "Roma – Squad profiles". ESPN FC. 13 February 2003. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
- "Tommasi al Corriere: "Quel gol al Curi...", a Terni il mancato esordio in B" [Tommas to the Corriere: "That goal at the Curi..."] (in Italian). corrieredellumbria.corr.it. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- "Damiano Tommasi" (PDF) (in Italian). Aiaconegliano. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- "Which clubs tell their fans the biggest porkies?". The Guardian. 10 September 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- "Premio Altropallone – Albo dei vincitori e motivazioni" [Altropallone Award – Winners album and motivations] (in Italian). Altro Pallone. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- Tommasi to lead by example; UEFA.com, 17 September 2002
- "D. Tommasi – Trophies". Soccerway. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- "1996: Totti on top for Italy". UEFA.com. 1 June 1996. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- "A Florenzi il "Pallone d'Argento" Coppa Giaimè Fiumano" [Florenzi gets Giaimè Fiumano Cup "Silver Ball"] (in Italian). Unione Stampa Sportiva Italiana. 8 May 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- "Hall of Fame" (in Italian). A.S. Roma. Retrieved 27 July 2016.