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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Pierluigi Casiraghi

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Pierluigi Casiraghi, known as "Gigi", played for Lazio from 1993 to 1998.

He was born in Monza (Lombardy), on March 4, 1969.


He grew up in his hometown youth sector and in 1985-86 joined the first team squad. His debut came against Fiorentina in a cup game on 21 August, when he came on for the last 20 minutes. His league debut in Serie B was on October 20, 1985, against Arezzo. His first goal came against Pescara on June 1, 1986. He played 14 times that season but Monza had a poor year and were relegated to C1.


In his second season he played more, 25 appearances with 6 goals, plus a brace against Sampdoria in the cup.


The 1987-88 season saw Casiraghi flourish and he scored 12 times as the Brianzoli got promoted back to Serie B.


The following season he paired up with Maurizio Ganz (later to play for Inter and Milan) and with 9 goals helped Monza survive in Serie B. In total at Monza he played 113 games, with 33 goals.


In 1989 came Casiraghi's jump into the big time. He was bought by Juventus for 6.4 billion Lire (approx 3 million Euros). His debut arrived against Bologna on August 27. That year he played 23 times with 6 goals, under manager Dino Zoff. He was also a protagonist in Juventus' 2 Cup triumphs. He scored consistently in the Coppa Italia and got a goal in the UEFA Cup Final against Fiorentina.


His second season in Turin saw the arrival of new manager Luigi Maifredi and by Juventus standards the season was a disaster but Casiraghi continued to perform well.


Things improved in the 1991-92 season with the return of historic and successful manager Giovanni Trapattoni. The zebra's finished in 2nd place and Casiraghi got 7 goals.


The 1992-1993 season started with more competition up front for Casiraghi. Gianluca Vialli (Sampdoria) and Fabrizio Ravanelli (Reggiana) were signed and added to Roberto Baggio and German Andreas Moeller this meant limited playing time for Casiraghi. He played a total of 25 games in all competitions with 5 goals. He was already in the Italy squad so in order to play more regularly and keep his place he decided it was time for a change. At Juventus he played 147 times and scored 36 goals.


At this point of his career Lazio stepped in. He signed for the Romans on 6 August, 1993, initially on loan with a subsequent fee of 10 billion Lire (approx 5 million Euros). He was reunited with manager Zoff and paired up with Beppe Signori, who he helped win the Italian Golden Boot. Casiraghi played 31 games and got 5 goals in the various competitions.


The following season 1994-95 new manager Czech Zdenek Zeman was chosen. He was well known for his attacking philosophy and tactics and in fact the trio of Signori, Alen Boksic and Casiraghi made up a formidable scoring machine. Casiraghi himself got 15 goals in 47 games, including 4 against Fiorentina and a memorable acrobatic beauty against Roma in the derby.


The next season, 1995-96, was even more prolific for Casiraghi with 18 goals in 35 games.


In the 1996-97 season Zeman was sacked and back came Dino Zoff. Casiraghi played 31 times with 11 goals.


In the 1997-98 season, with the advent of new manager, Swedish Sven-Goran Eriksson, and forward Robert Mancini from Sampdoria, Casiraghi played less. He did however score in the derby (3-1) and helped Lazio to the UEFA Cup Final with 4 goals (the final was then lost against Inter in Paris). He played a total of 188 games for Lazio with 56 goals. He scored many memorable goals and won the Coppa Italia in 1998.


At 29 years of age he went for an experience abroad. In the summer of 1998 he joined Chelsea for 5.5 million pounds. In London he teamed up with compatriots Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli and from his Lazio days, Roberto Di Matteo. In his first season Chelsea won the European Super Cup against the mighty Real Madrid. Casiraghi however was not involved. On November 8 disaster had struck. In a game against West-Ham United he badly fractured his leg. Despite several operations he would never play again and at 31 he was finally released by Chelsea and retired. He only played 15 times for the Blues and scored once.


At International level he played 44 times for Italy, scoring 13 goals. He was part of the Italian squad that won a runners-up medal in the USA World Cup in 1994 (defeated by Brazil on penalties).


Since retiring he has gone into management, and between 2006 and 2010 was in charge of the Italy Under 21's (3rd place in Euro 2009 in Sweden). He also managed the Italian Olympic team in Beijing 2008. He has had experiences abroad at Al-Arabi (Qatar) and at Birmingham City (England) as deputy manager.


Before his premature retirement Casiraghi had an excellent career at Juventus and Lazio. He won 2 Italian Cups (Juventus and Lazio), an FA Cup (Chelsea), 2 UEFA Cups (Juventus) and a UEFA Supercup (Chelsea). He also earned a World Cup runners-up medal.


Casiraghi was 1.82 metres tall but he was strong, very strong. At Lazio he was nicknamed Gigi “Tyson” Casiraghi for his sheer physical power. He was a classic centre-forward and a good team player, not being a selfish goal grabber. He was not overly technical but made up for it in strength and acrobatic skills. He was a generous player and opened up space for his teammates. At Lazio Signori in particular thrived from Casiraghi's partnership. He was a favourite at Lazio for his altruism, hard work and unsurprisingly for his goals.


In Rome he will always be remembered for his derby goals, in association with the goal machine Lazio were in those years and linked to their emergence as a trophy winning team.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

1993-94

31 (5)

26 (4)

2

3 (1)

1994-95

47 (15)

34 (12)

6 (3)

7

1995-96

35 (18)

28 (14)

3

4 (4)

1996-97

31 (11)

24 (8)

4 (2)

3 (1)

1997-98

44 (7)

28 (3)

6

10 (4)

Total

188 (56)

140 (41)

21 (5)

27 (10)

Source



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