Rumori di Spogliatoio

Giorgio Di Vicino, Zdenek Zeman's disciple

Angelo PalmeriComment

This interview appeared originally on in November 2014 by Giovanni Scotto.
Translation and adaptation into English by Angelo Palmeri

It’s like opening the book of memories.

A picture from 15 years ago.

Mid-August evening, a preseason game in Spain for SSC Napoli against Real Madrid.

Napoli takes the lead and the Real pulls level.
It was Zdenek Zeman’s Napoli.

A boy who should have not been even called up for that game, was given a start  and scored the opener: Giorgio Di Vicino.

And what a opener! (check the video of the header goal here).

Di Vicino’s destiny parted from Zeman when the Bohemian coach was sacked by Napoli in season 2000-01. Zeman called back his pupil at Salernitana, in Serie B. Di Vicino was a bit unlucky, he could have been what Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile are today. However, it doesn’t matter.

Giorgio is 34 now and now he is embracing a new adventure in Estonia at Sillamäe Kalev.

Zeman hasn’t forgotten about you. He said you were the symbol of his unlucky Napoli. What do you think?

I am glad. Honestly, I didn’t know he said that. But I checked and I smiled. I thank him and I think he was right. The one in Alicante was a nice evening of football for us, we played very well. They should have trusted the coach more, he needed time.

How did you end in the starting XI against Real Madrid?

I was from the youth sector and participated in the first team training camp. Honestly, I was just hoping to be called up to travel to Spain, however Zeman didn’t tell me anything. When I got known that I would have joined the first team to Madrid I celebrated with my family. Then he fielded me and I scored. Maybe it’s trivial, but this was like a dream to me.

Later on, that Napoli sank…

The situation was very difficult, the club was not as stable as it’s now. Corbelli (a former Napoli owner who followed Ferlaino, historical Napoli owner who brought Maradona –edit) had just arrived and at the club there were sliding doors for management members. Results were not satisfying, this is true. However, I really think Zeman deserved a bit more of trust. He would have fixed the situation.

What about you?

I was sold in January 2001 to Crotone, this was made against my will as I would have stayed in Napoli, however the decision was made. In season 2001-02, Zeman wanted to have me at Salernitana, where I performed very well. I owe him.

What does it mean to be a Zeman’s disciple?

He is a ‘maestro’, he taught me many things. They say that he his grouchy, that he doesn’t speak. It’s not like that. He is a normal person. During my times, also friends were telling me ‘how can you get along with that silent guy?’, it was not like that. He makes you work hard, however there’s nothing strange in that. He is an excellent professional.

What does Di Vicino do now?

Last season I played in Aversa Normanna. I’m 34 now and I am a free agent, I am waiting for a interesting offer. I got proposals from Serie D (fouth tier –edit) and from abroad. I wait for January and then I will decide. I am physically fit and I am satisfied with my career. I always wanted to play football and I managed to.

What about your future?
I have taken the first coaching licence. This is my target when I’ll hang the boots. But for now, I still want to play.

Obviously, you will implement a 4-3-3 like Zeman, or maybe you will be part of his staff?
Certainly he is my inspiration, I don’t hide it. I have learnt a lot from him and I would like to develop a similar football. I know his staff, they are extraordinary people I really love. You never know, if a hand is needed…I’m in!