Italian Football League

Stars of Serie A: Del Piero and Ronaldo

It was a time when the cream of the European crop featured every weekend on terrestrial TV. It might seem unthinkable now that the best player in the world at the peak of his powers should leave Barcelona to play for an Italian side, but in 1997 that's exactly what happened when Ronaldo (the original) moved to Inter Milan.

The Brazilian's subsequent obliteration of defenders across Italy made for unmissable viewing.

Ronaldo making a mockery of defenders

2. Football Italia

Running for ten years between 1992 and 2002, the Gazzetta Football Italia dove-tailed with Serie A's mass appeal in the 90s. With the infectiously likeable James Richardson at the helm, the programme earned a cult following for it's mix of irreverent content and unique insight. The programme helped transform fans from inward-gazing Little Englanders to debonair football hipsters.

Richardson made talking football over an espresso chic

3. The music

Arguably the most memorable part of any Football Italia episode was the theme tune. Preceded by music so annoying that it infected your brain, the intro finished with the now universally recognisable cry of 'Golazooooooo' - a noise that would be echoed in playgrounds and pubs across Britain.

4. Gazza

Football Italia quickly earnt a dedicated following from British audiences, aided in no small part by the antics of one Paul Gascoigne. Never shy of expressing his taste for impudent pranks, Gazza's cameos in the show provided welcome early morning light relief, which was in stark contrast to the drudgery of the average BBC football punditry.

Gascoigne's frequent appearances on the show were hilarious and frightening in equal measure.

Football Italia's Morecambe and Wise

They also went some way to explaining why his time in Italy was so injury-plagued...

Outtakes from 'Gazza in Italy' - one of Gascoigne's many TV appearances

5. The commentators

The only thing that was more unhinged than Paul Gascoigne was the Serie A commentary. Phenomenal individual goals from the likes of Gabriel Batistuta were punctuated by incredible manic outbursts of the men behind the mic.


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