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Montella, Airplane flying over Marassi

Pay attention: he always has a joke ready. It is the most evident trace of his origins.

For the rest the Montella airplane from Castello di Cisterna, 7,500 souls after the reconstruction following the Irpinia earthquake, has always been introverted and reserved. Other than pizza and mandolin.
At Castello, on the other hand, the color is light blue: it is painted on the facades and flutters in the flags of Naples hanging from the balconies. At the end of the cross street of via Nove Maggio - free from any connection with the artist hidden in the Neapolitan anonymity Liberato - a building on three floors, two cars parked in front, a planer and an electric saw. The carpenter Nicola Montella is at work with his tools. Those same tools that once placed in his son's hand for the first time aroused a ' mo' and never again '. It is decided. Vincenzo is left-handed, technical, small, fast, yet his idol is not Diego, but Marco van Basten , a giant of almost one meter and ninety who enchants Europe by scoring in every way and who will arrive in Berlusconi's Milan shortly thereafter. Whatever the talent there is, there is no question. So after having highlighted himself on the pitch of the village in full Maradonism , the call from Empoli arrives and despite the family presses not to let him leave given his too young age, the Aeroplanino Montella at twelve years old takes off for Tuscany.

Twelve years is not a short time if you already know what you want.

In Empoli, the boys from the South lodge with a lady who acts as a hen for them, making them weigh the distance from their family as little as possible. And so also Montella slept at Ernestina's house. And he secretly took the train with Antonio Di Natale when he fled to Campania shaken by fits of melancholy that only a thirteen year old with a nose to give up football for distance from family can have.

Montella, the Airplane, on the other hand, has always been more mature than his age. Even as a boy he was reserved and gave little confidence. Rebellious tuft on one side and look as well. Monotonous life but with the right mind: house of Ernestina-training-house of Ernestina.

A kid who thought already as an adult footballer, with an almost icy logic.

The seasons pass, he grows up. The first real chances are given to him by Francesco Guidolin who fields him in the last seven games and he scores four goals. Finally.

But maybe not, because he breaks his fibula after a few games of the following season and then a myocarditis leaves him for months in fear of never being able to play again. He does not break down and continues to train.
Meanwhile, Empoli is going badly and Luciano Spalletti is trying to save him. Montella returns to the field for the play-off salvation on June 5, 1994, at the age of 20: he has been out for almost two seasons. he doesn't score, but he plays well and Empoli gets away with it.

It will still be a C1, this time for Vincenzo, the last one.

Zena, act I: the B and Wembley

17 goals in 30 games convince Genoa to recruit him for the Serie B climb. Then let's face it, Vincenzo had always liked Marassi. With the game of Gigi Radice he goes to a wedding thanks to his speed and his flair for goals as well as the dirty work for the team in creating spaces.

In the first and only season with Genoa, he scored 21 goals in 34 appearances, also winning the old Anglo-Italian Cup at Wembley. Something imponderable today. The formula of the tournament is similar to a hipster dream, so complicated is it, the sinking of the competition will be due to the lack of interest of the public, the media and the participating teams themselves. Applause.

Zena, act II: Marassi is always more Blue (circled in Blue)

In 1996 he returns to Empoli where he is passing through, in fact he will no longer wear the blue shirt or that of Grifo because Sampdoria bought him for about 8.5 billion lire.
In that band there are Roberto Mancini, Sinisa Mihajlovic and Juan Sebastián Verón. And he is 22 years old and makes his debut in Serie A.

In a tournament of that caliber, he scores 22 goals in the first season under the Dorian Lantern. Hat off, sailors. Nevertheless, Sampdoria are not doing very well, perhaps thanks to the sudden changes of coaches who sat on the Sampdoria bench: from Eriksson to Boskov, also passing through Spalletti, his old mentor in Empoli. Thus the 98-99 Sampdoria will end up in Serie B.

When the Montella Airplane stole number 9 from Batistuta.

In 1999 Zeman coached Roma and doted on the Sampdoria airplane, so much so that he convinced President Sensi to pay out the beauty of 50 billion in order to take him to Trigoria.But when he arrives in the capital, Montella on the bench is not his "sponsor" bohemian, but Fabio Capello, that he would stay there for five long years. Zeman could not train as well as his pupil, and Vincenzino lost his apprenticeship to the chair of one of the best masters of Italian attacking football. Summer 2000. The Lazio veteran of the festival title. The president Franco Sensi had a moral obligation to have to respond to the great rivals: there was only one way, to shell out an astronomical sum and buy Gabriel Omar Batistuta Fiorentina Cecchi Gori. In the contract he adds a clause to a little problem solved in two minutes: the jersey number 9, until then dell'Aeroplanino Montella, must lie with the Argentinian. The legitimate owner, however, does not fit. It is said that the deal risked even to jump to the standoff. Eventually it will be Batigol to bend over, veering on 18. In all likelihood, this is the most fitting anecdote to understand a figure like Vincenzo Montella: behind the cheeky smile and calm, there is a character iron sergeant.
Moreover, a striker from 0.50 to match the label of selfish goals will even appiccicarsela below the number of team. With a fierce determination. Trident and water bottles. Nevertheless, in 2001 the Roma thanks to a trident as nostalgic as it is spectacular, arrives at his third title of the story. Montella - Totti - Batistuta . Those three up front means a treat, so perhaps a trident in Italy had never seen, and 41 goals in 3 comes with a disarming ease. The following season by the number 9 even comes a still unbeaten record: It produces 4 goals in the derby Capitoline disintegrating Lazio 5-1. He heads low and cycling. If he could choose, probably Montella would play soccer with an anonymous profile. Pure joy of it, seen from this perspective, has a protective function. It allows him to control himself at times of joy, he and collective. L 'airplane handles the emotion of him, keeps a distance that of others, spreading his arms and swaying. There's like a protective shield between him and the chaos that erupts around. To show out of control just undermine the very reason for him to be there: do not play. Fabio Capello this will come to an ace and quarrels and skirmishes culminating in a Naples - Rome: he preferred the technical back Delvecchio, as had already happened with Milan last turn. Even on the bench, once again off to chew bitterness, the airplane entered, Capello has just decided to ask him for a new miracle. At that moment he unloads all the rage at him, sending him to hell: his face turned to the field, a step away from the microphones Stream. He hurls against a plastic bottle, live "But vaffan ** I, I 'moron'. Capello decided replication, bickering. "Piece of mer **", the apostrophizes Montella. Then separate house for two seasons.

Zena, Act III: The Final Flight dell'Aeroplanino Montella in Liguria After seven and a half seasons in Rome decided a change of scenery, migrated to England, but the loan at Fulham is stingy with satisfaction and areoplanino so I decide to return to Sampdoria with Cassano . It has now 33, is mature and the steps unspoken and then suggests them, but they quickly become signs with Siena on August 26, 2007.
Assisted by Sergio Volpi , the eternal half an untraceable figurine. Finally, after returning to Rome for the 2008 season, Montella hangs up his boots in July 2009.

For years we lack strikers like him. The last real Italian striker. Some will have come close but never will be like the airplane Montella. That urchin that every time he threw it into the air stood out among the skies of Marassi, Empoli, Roma and who knows how many others.

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