Paol Di Canio

Paol Di Canio

Former Italian footballer, striker. Now he is a coach.
Date of Birth: 09.07.1968
Country: Italy

Biography of Paolo Di Canio

Paolo Di Canio is a former Italian football player and current coach. He was born on July 9, 1968, in Rome, Italy. Di Canio was trained at the football school of the Roman club Lazio, but he did not achieve the fame of a great football player. Although he played for prominent teams such as Lazio, Juventus, Napoli, and Milan, he was often overshadowed by players like Alessandro Del Piero, Roberto Baggio, and Gianluca Vialli, which prevented him from fully showcasing his talent.

However, Di Canio became famous for his radical behavior on the field, influenced by his upbringing in the disadvantaged neighborhood of Quarticciolo in Rome. He openly displayed his radical beliefs and admiration for Benito Mussolini. In the 1996/1997 season, Di Canio moved to Celtic in Glasgow, where he became the team's best player. He then transferred to Premier League club Sheffield Wednesday.

His rebellious nature and off-field incidents led to his exclusion from the Italian national team by coach Giovanni Trapattoni. His club coach at Wednesday, Ron Atkinson, frequently accused Di Canio of being careless and predicted the end of his career. Di Canio strongly responded to Atkinson's accusations in the press. However, a surprising turn of events occurred when Atkinson made Di Canio the captain of the team, and they managed to stay in the top division.

On September 26, 1998, during a match against Arsenal, a conflict erupted involving Di Canio. After a verbal altercation between Patrick Vieira and Vim Jonk, Di Canio intervened. Martin Keown, defending Vieira, pushed Di Canio, who responded by pushing Keown back and was subsequently sent off by the referee, Paul Alcock. Di Canio expressed his dissatisfaction with Alcock and pushed him as well. The Premier League swiftly imposed an 11-match ban on Di Canio.

Despite offers to return to Italy or move to Spain, Di Canio chose to stay and joined the modest London club West Ham United. The team's coach at the time, Harry Redknapp, was looking for a leader, and Di Canio immediately took charge. He scored goals, provided assists, and became the most valuable player in the English Premier League according to statistics.

Di Canio's reputation as a professional footballer was legendary. One memorable incident occurred during a match between West Ham and Bradford City, where the referee failed to award a penalty to Bradford and refused to listen to Di Canio's explanation. Di Canio headed towards the bench, demanding a substitution, but Redknapp sent him back onto the field. Di Canio then helped turn the game around, and after a penalty was awarded to West Ham, a dispute arose between Di Canio and Frank Lampard over who would take the penalty. West Ham won the match 5-4, and the English Football Association included it in the top 10 best Premier League matches.

Another example of Di Canio's professionalism occurred during a match against Derby County, where a West Ham player failed to pass to Di Canio in the dying seconds of the game. Di Canio expressed his dissatisfaction with the player after the final whistle. In England, where players are valued for their contributions to the team and their ability to fight for the full 90 minutes, Di Canio remained an idol for West Ham fans. However, his views and actions received a different response in Italy, particularly among Lazio supporters.

In 2006, Di Canio carried the Olympic torch. Francesco Totti, another star of Roman football, was supposed to be his partner, but Totti refused to walk alongside Di Canio. Di Canio later returned to Lazio as a coach. On May 20, 2011, he took charge of the English club Swindon Town. Di Canio's professional approach to football is legendary, and he has numerous anecdotes to support this.

Throughout his career, Di Canio achieved notable success, winning the Italian Serie A title in 1996 and the UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and Intertoto Cup with various clubs. He also received individual awards, including the Scottish Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year in 1997 and the FIFA Fair Play Award in 2000. As a coach, he led Swindon Town to promotion from the Football League Two in 2012.