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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Francesco Colonnese

Francesco Colonnese was born in Potenza, on August 10, 1971. He has always been known as "Ciccio".

Source Lazio Wiki

His first footballing was with small local team Avigliano and then in 1988 he joined main local team Potenza.

 

In 1989 he joined the first team, in Serie C2. He played two seasons, finishing 14th and 10th. His managers were Luciano Aristei and Salvatore Di Somma. He played 39 league games for the Leoni from Basilicata.

 

In 1991 he moved to Sicily and joined Giarre in C1. The Etnei finished 4th under Angelo Orazi and Colonnese played 22 league games.

 

In 1992 he joined Cremonese in Serie B. It was a great year for the "Violini" who won promotion in 2nd place under, former Lazio, Gigi Simoni (1985-86). One of his teammates was former Lazio Gustavo Abel Dezotti (1988-89). They also won the Anglo-Italian Cup beating Derby County 3-1 at Wembley.

 

In 1993-94 in Serie A the Grigiorossi finished a positive 10th. In his two seasons in Cremona, he played 66 league games.

 

In 1994-95 he moved to the capital but to Roma. The manager was Carlo Mazzone and the Giallorossi finished 5th (UEFA Cup). Colonnese only played 5 league games and 2 in Coppa Italia. One of his teammates was, future Lazio and fan, Roberto Muzzi (2003-05).

 

In 1995-96 he moved slightly further south to Naples. The Partenopei's manager was Vujadin Boškov and they finished 10th. Colonnese played 16 league games. A future Lazio connection in the squad was Renato Buso (1996-97).

 

The following season Colonnese stayed with Napoli, first under Gigi Simoni (1-28) and then Vincenzo Montefusco (29-34) and the Azzurri finished 13th. Napoli reached the final of Coppa Italia but lost 1-3 on aggregate to Vicenza. Colonnese played 31 league games and 7 in Coppa Italia.

 

In 1997 he returned to Zeman's Roma but only briefly and before making any appearances he went north and joined Inter.

 

He stayed with the Nerazzurri for three seasons.

 

In his first he was reunited with Gigi Simoni and the "Beneamata" finished 2nd (with huge controversy for refereeing decisions against Juve) and won the UEFA Cup, beating Lazio 3-0 in Paris. He played 21 league games with 1 goal (Empoli), 3 games in Coppa Italia and 5 in the UEFA Cup. One of his teammates was future Lazio legend Diego Simeone (1999-2003)

 

In his second season the manager was Simoni, then Mircea Lucescu (12-26), Luciano Castellini (27-30) and Roy Hodgson. A chaotic season and Inter finished 8th. They reached the Champions League quarter finals but lost 1-3 on aggregate to Manchester United. Colonnese played 28 league games with 1 goal (Bari), 5 games in Coppa Italia and 6 in the Champions League. His teammates included Ousmane Dabo (Lazio 2003-06, 2008-10), Aron Winter (Lazio 1992-96) plus Brazilian great Ronaldo, Andrea Pirlo and Roberto Baggio.

 

In his third and last season the manager was, future World Champion, Marcello Lippi. The Nerazzurri finished 4th (CL after playoff against Parma and were runners up in Coppa Italia (Lazio 1-2 on aggregate). Colonnese played less, only 7 league games and 4 in Coppa Italia. His teammates included, former Lazio, Vladimir Jugovic (1997-98) and Christian Vieri (1998-99) plus, future Lazio, Angelo Peruzzi (2000-07).

 

In 2000 Colonnese joined Italian Champions Lazio. The manager was Sven-Goran Eriksson and then, from January, Dino Zoff. Lazio won the Supercoppa in August beating Inter 4-3 and then finished 3rd in Serie A. Colonnese played 4 league games, 4 in Coppa Italia and 4 in Champions League (out in second group stage).

 

In 2001-02 Zoff stayed on but was replaced by Alberto Zaccheroni after only three games. The Biancocelesti finished 6th (UEFA Cup) after a mediocre season. Colonnese played 8 league games, 1 in Coppa Italia and 2 in Champions League (out in first group stage).

 

In 2002-03 Roberto Mancini returned to Lazio as manager. It was a good year with 4th place in A (Champions League preliminary), a UEFA Cup semi-final (Porto 1-4 aggregate) and Coppa Italia semi-final (Roma 1-3 aggregate). Colonnese played 3 games in Coppa Italia and 3 in the UEFA Cup.

 

In 2003-04 Mancini stayed on. Lazio finished 6th (UEFA Cup) and participated in the Champions League after beating Benfica 4-1 on aggregate (Lazio then went out in the group phase). The real triumph came in Coppa Italia which Lazio won, defeating Juventus 4-2 on aggregate. Colonnese was part of the squad but made no appearances in any competition.

 

In 2004 he left Rome, went up the Cassia and joined Siena in Serie A. The manager was Gigi Simoni and then, from January, Luigi De Canio. The Robur finished 14th. His teammates included former Lazio Enrico Chiesa (2002-03) plus several future managers: Igor Tudor, Davide Nicola, Fabio Pecchia, Roberto D'Aversa. The squad also included Norwegian striker Tore André Flo "Flonaldo" (his teams included Brann, Chelsea, Rangers, Sunderland and after Siena, Leeds United).

 

In 2005-06 Colonnese stayed in Siena and the Bianconeri finished 15th under De Canio with Antonio Conte as his assistant. One match to remember was the 3-2 away win against Roma with all three goals scored by former Lazio players (Paolo Negro, Enrico Chiesa and Colonnese's last minute winner). Negro had joined Siena after 12 seasons with Lazio. Colonnese played 34 league games over his two years in Siena with 1 goal (Roma) and 4 in Coppa Italia.

 

At almost 35 he then retired.

 

At International level he played 4 games for the Italy Olympic team in 1993 at the Mediterranean Games and won 6 caps for Italy U21's, winning the European Championship in France 1994.

 

Since retiring he has stayed in the football world. In 2013-14 he was an assistant to Bortolo Mutti and then Michele Serena at Padova in Serie B (ending in relegation). In 2015-16 he was then assistant manager to Mutti at Livorno in Serie B from November to January and then assistant manager to Christian Panucci, Franco Colomba and finally Ezio Gelain. The Amaranto unsurprisingly were relegated.

 

He has also worked in punditry for various networks and in 2014-15 was part of the national RAI television's historic football program "90’ minuto".

 

Colonnese was a defender who could play both as right full-back and central defender. He was a tough, strong and physical player known for his man-marking abilities. He was nicknamed "Ciccio Colonna", a mix between his surname and colonna (pillar) in reference to his playing style. He played 183 games in Serie A, 37 in Coppa Italia and 20 in Europe. He won a UEFA Cup in 1998 with Inter.

 

At Lazio he played a total of 29 games in four seasons. He won an Italian Supercoppa and a Coppa Italia. In his first two he was a reserve to Alessandro Nesta, Jaap Stam, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Fernando Couto and Paolo Negro. In his second two seasons he played less and less and then not all due to him not signing the "Baraldi Deal", an agreement with the players to receive their wages spread over more years than their contracts were valid for and/or accept payment in Lazio shares, in order to help the club's difficult financial situation. His relationship with Lazio therefore did not end well.


Lazio Career

Season

Total games

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

UEFA Cup

2000-01

12

4

4

4

-

2001-02

11

8

1

2

-

2002-03

6

-

3

-

3

Total

29

12

8

6

3

Sources




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