Rumori di Spogliatoio

Another Italian in Premium Liiga?

Angelo PalmeriComment

The Italian tradition in Premium Liiga is quite small. We tracked it down from Pancheri to Quintieri some months ago (you can find our special article in two parts here) counting no more than 4 representatives of the Boot Country who coached/played in the Estonian top-flight. A rarefied presence that was spaced out by almost ten 10 years since when Alessandro Rottoli left Levadia and Marco Bianchi joined Nõmme Kalju.

Di Vicino was a 'Panini' sticker when at Napoli. Beat that.

Di Vicino was a 'Panini' sticker when at Napoli. Beat that.

There is a chance that Premium Liiga 2015 might start with another Italian face given that Quintieri left in Autumn.

The face is the one of Giorgio Di Vicino testing with Sillamäe Kalev (he played in the 2-2 draw against Levadia, friendly game)

Probably the name doesn’t tell much to those not following Italian ‘calcio’, however the 34-year-old midfielder can boast 6 appearances in Serie A with the jersey of SSC Napoli.

It was the start of 2000’s, one of the most difficult times for the ‘Partenopei’. Relegated at the end of 90’s (1997-98) they spent two seasons in Serie B before gaining promotion in 2000.

An illusory achievement since the ‘Azzurri’ were soon after relegated back. 2001 marks the last year of Napoli in Serie A before the Aurelio De Laurentiis era. The present-day patron took Napoli from bankruptcy to the Champions league in less than 10 years.

Di Vicino’s short experience in the top-flight is tied with the ‘old club’.

In 2000-01 Zdenek Zeman (then Napoli coach) decided to include him in the Napoli squad after Giorgio had a brilliant preseason when  he also scored a goal in a friendly. According to observers, he had a great career in front of him. Endowed with technical skills, he was also good from set-pieces close to the box. Sillamäe Kalev, the Estonian club where he is testing, might still see some of those skills.

Di Vicino with Bari's strip (2006-07, 15 appearances and 1 goal)

Di Vicino with Bari's strip (2006-07, 15 appearances and 1 goal)

However, as often happens with Zeman, the Bohemian got the sack before the end of season being replaced by Emiliano Mondonico, the miracle man of Atalanta in the 80’s.

Di Vicino disappeared from the starting XI and was loaned to Crotone (Serie B) in the Winter transfer window.

It is the start of a career spent in the Italian second flight travelling from Salernitata (2001, under Zeman again) to Lecce, Bari, Pescara and other clubs also from Serie C1 (nowadays Lega Pro, third tier).

The club were he spent more seasons (3) and had a larger impact at was Salernitana. reminds him this way:

Giorgio is flair, fantasy, wonderful set-pieces. Left-footed, often abulic. Really a shame since we cannot forget his contribution in Zeman’s 4-3-3 as left winger. Zeman was his mentor. After a loan spell to Lecce, ‘Giorgino’ was employed by Pioli (present-day Lazio coach -edit) as trequartista in 4-2-3-1. Di Vicino payed Pioli back with the best season of his career. 8 goals. We will never forget the 6th of January 2004 when ‘Giorgino’ scored a brace and turned the game on its head against Zola’s Cagliari (from 1-2 to 3-2). One wonderful free-kick (see video below) of his and one shot from distance. Unfortunately, the season after, the decline started. His third and last season in Salerno was characterized by an opaque start and a final crescendo. Salernitana did not manage to clinch Serie A at the play-off against Genoa though.
— 'Giorgio Di Vicino, lo scugnizzo granata' by Mario Ruggiero, 6th of March 2013

The six games in Serie A were played against Zidane’s Juventus (2-1 loss), Zanetti's Inter (3-1 loss) Lecce (1-1) Vicenza (1-2) Materazzi’s Perugia (1-1) and Cassano’s Bari (1-0 win). He never played a full game being mostly a sub and collecting 203 minutes. One of his teammates was Fabio Pecchia, present-day Benitez’ assistant coach.