“It’s not a joke, I’m just crazy!”: The goalkeeper who played with #10 in Serie A

In the 1993/94 season, the English Premier League officially abolished the rule that players in the starting line-up had to wear the numbers 1 to 11. This started a revolution that resulted in people like former Arsenal centre-back William Gallas, who plays with #10 on his back.

Before joining the Gunners, the defender spent five seasons at city rivals Chelsea, but more scandalous than swapping blue for red was the fact that he wanted an attacking player’s number.

Gallas himself explained his desire by the fact that, as a teenager, he aspired to the position of central striker. Back at Stamford Bridge, right-back Khalid Boularooz donned the No.9, and over the years we’ve seen striker Hillel Sudani in No.2 at Nottingham Forest and Samuel Eto’o in No.5 at Everton.

Italy’s Serie A was late to become modern, but changes took place there too in the 1995/96 season.

Perhaps as one of the recent cases you remember Mohamed Salah with #74 in Fiorentina, who decided to play with it in memory of the number of people who died in the riots in the Egyptian city of Port Said. Fabio Quagliarella decided to wear #27 in memory of a childhood friend who was murdered in 2001.

And perhaps the most emblematic case is that of Ivan Zamorano, who, after having to come to terms with the fact that Ronaldo has to play with #9 at Inter, decides to wear a shirt with number 1+ as a sign of protest and an ironic interpretation of the events 8. A similar decision was copied by Juan Pablo Sorin in Villarreal, who has the number 1+2 on his back.

Sierra Leonean striker Mohamed Kahlon has played No.2 and No.3 in Italy with Inter and Vicenza, while Marco Fortin made a joke of choosing No.14 because it’s pronounced in English like his last name. All these extravagant players, however, pale in front of the goalkeeper Cristiano Lupatelli, who dressed the team of Chievo in 2001.

In the previous season, he became a champion with Fabio Capello’s Roma, and team captain Francesco Totti described him as one of the biggest freaks he has shared a dressing room with.

Lupatelli switched to Wolves to get more time on the pitch and his new side remained top of the Serie A standings for eight rounds before, against all expectations, his side finished the league in fifth place in the final ranking.

In Chievo, the goalkeeper made his mark, making famous saves at the San Siro in a 3-1 win over Ronaldo and Vieri’s Inter, and even more incredibly, playing out the campaign wearing the No.10. This is the moment to say that as many oddities as there are in Italian football, the #10 is reserved only for the virtuosos of the football field.

On unknown paths, the Perugia-born footballer shattered all traditions and joined the company of the ten geniuses in the league: Beppe Signori (Bologna), Roberto Baggio (Brescia), Clarence Seedorf (Inter), Alessandro del Piero (Juventus). , Hernan Crespo (Lazio), Francesco Totti (Roma) and Rui Costa (Milan).

Maradona, who became a bandit, and decided to kidnap Gianfranco Zola

Reporters at the time were scrambling to find the truth about how a goalkeeper was allowed to wear #10 and what sacrilege it was. For years, Lupatelli explained that he received this number as a reward for participating in a charity auction.

And decades later, younger fans think the pictures of a goalkeeper diving with a ten on his back are either some kind of collage or a picture from a charity match. Finally Lupatelli admits the truth:

“I played bass with friends and they didn’t believe I was that crazy. I’m the first and only one,” he boasts.


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