Flachi in the 1993–94 season
|Date of birth||8 April 1975|
|Place of birth||Florence, Italy|
|Height||1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|1996–1997||→ Bari (loan)||21||(3)|
|1998||→ Ancona (loan)||17||(10)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Born in Florence, Flachi made his professional debuts with local giants ACF Fiorentina, appearing in ten Serie B games and scoring twice as the 1993–94 season ended in promotion. He made his Serie A debut on 4 September 1994, against Cagliari Calcio, in a 2–1 win.
Flachi would appear rarely for the Viola in the top flight, however, facing stiff competition from the likes of Gabriel Batistuta and Luís Oliveira - only three league games in each of his three last seasons. He also served two loans whilst on contract with the club, with A.S. Bari and A.C. Ancona (both in the second division), scoring an impressive ten goals in only 17 games with the latter.
After leaving his childhood club in the 1999 summer, Flachi moved to U.C. Sampdoria, freshly relegated to the second level. He scored career-bests 17 and 16 goals in his second and third seasons, under manager Luigi Cagni who had succeeded Giampiero Ventura.
In 2002–03, Flachi netted nine times in 35 games as Samp finally achieved promotion, as champions. He became known by the Genovese club fans as "Salvatore della patria" ("Saviour of the homeland" in Italian), and also welcomed his first daughter, Valentina.
However, Flachi's relationship with new Sampdoria manager Walter Novellino was not ideal, with the pair having numerous arguments on and off the pitch. The player paid for his attitude by remaining on the bench in the first half of the 2003–04 campaign. As the partnership of Massimo Marazzina and Atsushi Yanagisawa did not click, the manager began playing Flachi and Fabio Bazzani with good results; the team eventually finished in eighth position, with 24 goals between Flachi (11) and Bazzani (13).
In 2004–05, with 14 goals in 35 appearances, Flachi nearly helped Sampdoria earn UEFA Champions League qualification, with the team finally ranking fifth, with the subsequent return to the UEFA Cup. In the following campaign, he continued to display solid performances (again scoring in double digits), this time accompanied by Emiliano Bonazzoli up front; however, the team failed to qualify from the UEFA Cup group stage, and finished 14th in the league (12th after the match-fixing scandal).
Betting and cocaine
On 21 September 2006, Flachi was suspended for two months by the Italian Football Federation as investigations concluded he and teammate Moris Carrozzieri were gathering information for gamblers in Italian football. Their club received a €20,000 fine.
Trace amounts of cocaine were found in Flachi's system in a random test after a 2–0 away loss against to F.C. Internazionale Milano on 28 January 2007. On 31 May, he was suspended for 16 months and, later, the ban was increased to two years. As a result, his contract with Sampdoria was canceled.
Following the ban, Flachi started training with Eccellenza Tuscany team Pietrasanta, hoping to return into active football once his ban expired. In June 2008, second division outfit Empoli F.C. completed his signing; he returned to competitive football in January of the following year.
In the 2009 summer, Flachi penned a deal with another club in division two, Brescia Calcio. He played 14 games, mostly as a substitute, until he was suspended again in January 2010 following a positive for cocaine in a test held on 19 December of the previous year; in June, he was handed a 12-year ban, effectively ending his career as a player.
Flachi represented Italy's under-18 in the 1992 UEFA European Football Championship. He was called up once by the main squad, for a friendly with Iceland in August 2004, but would never make his debut.
- Sampdoria striker gets ban for gambling offence; ESPN Soccernet, 21 September 2006
- Flachi to sit out 16 months; UEFA.com, 31 May 2007
- "Flachi:"La mia vita senza pallone" – Paure, dvd e psicofarmaci" [Flachi:"My life without football" – Fear, DVD and drugs] (in Italian). La Repubblica. 15 February 2008. Retrieved 22 June 2008.
- "Ufficiale: Flachi all'Empoli" [Official: Flachi to Empoli] (in Italian). Tutto Mercato. 22 June 2008. Retrieved 22 June 2008.
- "Francesco Flachi in azzurro" [Flachi in blue] (in Italian). Empoli FC. 22 June 2008. Archived from the original on 4 August 2008. Retrieved 22 June 2008.
- "Debate: Why is cocaine use punished more severely than steroids". Goal.com. 16 January 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
- "Suspension for the Italian football star Francesco Flachi". Street Directory. Retrieved 12 December 2011.