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Paolo Di Canio: I'm forever blowing bubbles.

Er Pallocca, alias Paolo Di Canio

1968, Rome, Quarticciolo hamlet where the Prenestina intersects with viale Palmiro Togliatti. It is a popular neighborhood on the outskirts of Rome that seems to have little to tell, until a cry breaks through the heat of that July 9th. Sora Pierina has given birth to another baby, the fourth male of a yellow and red brood. He is called Paolo. From his first breaths, with his brows furrowed, he suggests that his life will forever be in the stubborn and opposite direction.

Crescendo Paolino, known as “Er pallocca” due to his fat contours, does not betray the expectations of a subversive. The little park under the house is his school. Lazio is the only faith to be professed at the expense of the Romanist family. The balloon is the best friend you could wish for. Adolescence strains the body of our rioter and refines his technique with the ball between his feet. It is perfectly ambidextrous. Deadly dribbling. Stubborn vice of never passing the ball, convinced of being able to score on his own by winning each of the eleven opponents.

A call from the other side of the Channel: Paolo Di Canio, from Lazio to Celtic

Lazio senses his talent, thanks also to an article in the "Corriere Laziale" which praised the numbers in the Pro Tevere Rome, but prefers to send him to get his teeth in Ternana before returning in style in 1987 1989, by virtue of the winning goal in the Capitoline derby with a lot of first provocative exultation, places him at the center of the theatrical bull's-eye before taking his leave behind the curtain following the reluctance to sell to Juventus. Paolo Di Canio's tourbillon of transfers in search of a leading role will be endless. Napoli, Milan and Celtic will savor glimpses of the champion in him, without however helping him to definitively consecrate himself by keeping at bay an edgy character in constant collision with the coaches.

Quarticciolo's Oliver Cromwell: from Celtic to Sheffield

Despite the bitter disagreements with the Celtic management, Di Canio realizes that he has finally found his island that doesn't exist: the United Kingdom. Because some believe that football is a matter of life and death. Not for Paolo. For him it is much, much more.
The idea of ​​physical football aimed at rewarding tactical intelligence and strokes of genius stimulates Paolo Di Canio. In fact, in love with the immeasurable ardor of English supporters, backpacker and ball under his arm descends about 250 miles south of Glasgow and accepts the lavish offer of Sheffield Wednesday. Di Canio thus becomes one of the standard-bearers of Italian football across the Channel. Oliver Cromwell from the township who set English hearts on fire by educating them to a new football creed. A leader who is anything but silent, who guides his followers in the search for success to be pursued without limits. A paroxysmal number ten that embodies the most authentic "odi et amo" and that immediately made the English fans fall in love with those 178 cm. Basically he is a frank swashbuckler with a nerve-wracking controversy, but with a talent so pure as to make his darlings accept any excess as long as he delights them.

C'mon Sheffield: the 11 days of Paolo Di Canio

Meanwhile, as evidence of the change in England at the end of the 20th century, the Labor party won the general election, the largest in its history, allowing Tony Blair, at 43, to become the first youngest British Prime Minister since 1812. But you know, as Tancredi Falconeri said in "Il Gattopardo": "If we want everything to remain as it is, everything must change" and Paolo Di Canio knows something about it. In fact, he does not give up his reputation as a "bad boy".26 September 1998, Sheffield Wednesday - Arsenal After a fight with London's Keown, Di Canio is sent off by referee Paul Alcock. At that point, Paolo inveighs against the referee pushing him to the ground, a real “Bad touch” like the hit of the Bloodhound Gang which at the end of the millennium went crazy on the radios and walkman of every teenager. All this cost him 11 days of disqualification, the ire of the whole country and a hefty salary in Yorkshire. But, as Lunapop sang at the time, "A better day" is upon us for Paolo Di Canio "The Volcano", a nickname that has since accompanied him throughout his journey across the Channel.

London as Rome

In 1998, while James Cameron's colossal Titanic won eleven Oscars, mr. Di Canio Paolo signs with West Ham defending the colors of the East End London working class team. The "Hammers", the hammers as they are nicknamed, are the perfect iconographic representation of the character Di Canio. Persevering and resolute not to know obstacles. That logo with the crossed mallets to defend the stronghold from the lacy towers of the "Green Street House" has become a second skin for "The Volcano".

London like Rome, two vibrant capitals crossed by a great river which, like a vena cava, pulsates blood in the heart of a great little man of the township. “Upton park” immediately smells of home for Paolo, where he has rebuilt a microclimate equal to that of his home in Quarticciolo.

In fact, the Newham in London, although much larger, occupies the same geographical position with respect to the city center of the Capitoline district. Coincidence?
Harry Redknapp, like a skilled carpenter, planes and grinds Di Canio's bark without affecting its pith. Thus leaving him free to express himself at the dawn of his first 30 years. He is a Paul finally free from unnecessary head shots that in the past influenced the outcome and therefore more concentrated and ready for an appointment with history.

Paolo Di Canio “The Volcano”

March 26, 2000 the “Boleyn Ground” is sold out for West Ham - Wimbledon, a decisive battle for the European dreams of the “Hammers” and the residual salvation hopes of the “Dons”, sadly dissolved today. At 9 ’Sinclair lets go a long cross from the right out directed towards Di Canio positioned at the opposite end just inside the penalty area. Paolo Di Canio "The Volcano" jumps and with both feet suspended, hits the ball from the right fielder and bags the opposing goalkeeper in the opposite corner. A tennis shot, a backhand volley along an extraordinary line. A goal to which the mere written reconstruction does not give merit. But which is the most transparent representation of the essence of Paul. In fact, it was awarded by the fans of the "Hammers" as the most beautiful goal in history. A real “Beautiful day” as U2 sang in those months. And while in the land of Albion the application of Haart therapy (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy) marked for the first time, since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, a decrease in deaths, thousands of km away Vladimir Putin was about to reshape part of the future of the planet by being elected president of Russia. In fact, the former KGB, after the unexpected resignation of Yeltsin, gave way to a much discussed regency, and still in vogue, with accusations of authoritarianism, embezzlement and idolatry typical of totalitarianism.

I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles

In May of the same year, his beloved Lazio won his second Scudetto.Di Canio certainly could not miss the celebrations who, from an early age, followed the biancocelesti with the ultras group of the "Irriducibili", despite the family shame With the Italy shirt, needless to say, he did not have too much luck , being able to caress only that of the Under-21 without ever being able to wear that of the senior national team. And to think that he had applied for Euro2000 several times, but Dino Zoff considered him too loose a mine for such a harmonious locker room. Who knows on July 2nd how the European final against France would have gone with one more Di Canio. That summer Paolo, after being awarded the "Hammer of the year" award, was able to say no to a king of English football like Sir. Alex Ferguson who, several times over the years, has courted him to take him to Old Trafford to wear the glorious Manchester United shirt. But Di Canio no, he could not betray his London township. A long love story that reached its peak on 18 December 2000, the day of the final shutdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Fair play or mentality?

During West Ham's trip to Everton: the hosts' goalkeeper, Gerrard, ventures into an exit on the edge of the area but his knees give way and falls on himself, while the ball shoots towards the right wing where the usual Sinclair puts a cross for Di Canio in the center. Which he can easily bag. But he grabs the ball with his hands thus stopping the game to allow rescue. Later, for this gesture, Di Canio received the FIFA Fair Play Award together with an official letter of commendation signed by Joseph Blatter. After the delivery of the prize Di Canio sarcastically commented: "Before I was not a devil, now I am not a saint".

he Never loved praise. He has always preferred to let the pitch speak, and then shut himself up in the warmth of the walls of his home in the affection of his family, which has always been jealously guarded. The experience with the "Academy of football" shirt ended in 2003 with 140 appearances and 52 goals. Mere figures cannot tell how much Di Canio's advent has marked English football, so much so that he is the only non-British to have joined the West Ham United dream team. He, so unconventional by profession, a champion for passion, has been able to revolutionize football with the desire to bring it back to its primordial values ​​not to be lost at the mercy of lavish wages or fame. Because passion is the only engine that allows you to be light, like a bubble in the air.

Now he will be walking boldly through some alley of his Rome, greeting the last remnants of summer, whistling ...

"I'm forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air. They fly so high, nearly reach the sky, then like my dreams they fade and die! ".

Thanks to the pen of CasaBaggio .

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