Today is the 53rd birthday of former Juventus, Fiorentina and Italy midfielder Angelo Di Livio.
Nicknamed ‘Soldatino’ or ‘The Little Soldier’ during his playing days, Di Livio was known for his hard work and versatility.
He started his career with hometown club Roma, but failed to make a single appearance and moved on to spells with Reggiana, Nocerina and Perugia.
Di Livio then spent four seasons with Padova, spending the latter two playing alongside a certain Alessandro Del Piero.
In the summer of 1993, both players moved to Juventus, with Di Livio making his Serie A debut at the age of 27 on September 5, away to his first club Roma.
He also set up Del Piero’s first-ever Juve goal in that season, beginning a journey which would take the forward to 290 goals, becoming the Old Lady’s all-time top-scorer.
Despite his relatively limited technical ability, Di Livio’s work rate made him a key part of the Bianconeri side over six seasons in which he won three Scudetti, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League.
In 1999 he moved to Fiorentina, captaining the Viola to the Coppa Italia in 2001 which remains their last major trophy.
However, the Tuscan club collapsed into bankruptcy just a year later, causing a mass exodus of players.
Di Livio, by contrast, opted to stay with the reborn Florentia Viola, the only player to make the drop down to Serie C2.
The reborn club easily won their Serie C2 group, and were immediately promoted to an expanded Serie B on “sporting merit”.
Having won back their old name and badge, Fiorentina won promotion at the first time of asking, with Di Livio scoring four times in 43 appearances.
The veteran stayed for one final Serie A season, making 12 appearances before hanging up his boots as a Viola hero.
Di Livio also made 40 appearances for Italy, winning his final cap against South Korea in the 2002 World Cup at the age of the 35.
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