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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Valerio Fiori

Valerio Fiori was born in Rome on April 27, 1969.


Source Wikipedia

He grew up with the small local team Montesacro Lazio, in north-east Rome. He then moved to bigger Roman club Lodigiani in C2, where he made his professional debut (1 game) and then to Lazio in 1986.


He joined Lazio's first team squad in 1987-88 in Serie B but did not play under Eugenio Fascetti who relied on the more experienced Giuliano Terraneo. Lazio however won promotion back to Serie A.


In 1988-89 under Giuseppe Materazzi he played more. He made his debut at 19 against Fiorentina and made 12 league appearances plus 2 in Coppa Italia.


The following year he became Lazio’s first choice keeper. Again, under Materazzi he played 28 league games and 2 in Coppa Italia.


He kept his place in 1990-91 under Dino Zoff and made 34 league appearances and 2 in Coppa Italia.


In 1991- 92, still under the legendary former Italy keeper, Fiori played 32 league games and 3 in Coppa Italia.


In 1992-93 he played less, only 11 league games and 4 in Coppa Italia. He lost his place to Fernando Orsi who was considered more reliable after Fiori had committed a series of errors. A popular TV show "La Gialappa's Band" that mixed sport and comedy started calling him " Saponetta Fiori" (literally soapy Fiori but more like butterfingers).


In 1993, having lost the faith of Lazio and their fans, he moved to Sardinia and joined Cagliari. He played three years for the "Isolani" in Serie A, making 82 league appearances, 7 in Coppa Italia and 10 in Europe.


In 1996 he joined Cesena in Serie B for a year, playing 19 games in total.


He then moved to Fiorentina but played only 1 league game and 3 in Coppa Italia.


The following year he was back in Serie A with Piacenza and played 28 league games plus 1 in Coppa Italia.


At 30 he made a career choice. He joined Milan knowing full well he would be behind at least one other keeper in the hierarchy. He stayed at Milan for 9 years and played only 1 league game plus 1 in Coppa Italia. He was occasionally second keeper but usually third. He however has an enviable trophy winning record with the "Devil", between league titles, Champions Leagues and others.


At Milan he was already preparing for the next stage of his career. He stayed with the "Rossoneri" another 8 years as goalkeeper coach, 2008-2016.


In 2016 he went for the Chinese experience and coached Shenzhen's keepers followed by stints at Deportivo La Coruña, Milan again, Napoli, Genoa, Valencia. He is currently back at Genoa.


As a player he was considered to have a great future as a keeper. He earned 4 caps at U21 level for Italy. His main teams were Lazio and Cagliari, between the posts anyway. He never really fulfilled his potential however.


At Lazio he was a great shot blocker and had excellent reflexes and agility, making him very difficult to beat from the medium and long range. He however, especially in the last couple of years, had an Achilles heel, crosses into the area, particularly low ones. He became increasingly hesitant and was often caught in no man's land. The crowd murmuring every time there was a cross or corner probably didn't help.


He played 130 games for Lazio and is an integral part of the transition from the difficult years to the better times. He was a talented keeper and made some exceptional saves, unfortunately overshadowed by later blunders.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances

Serie A

Coppa Italia

1988-89

14

12

2

1989-90

30

28

2

1990-91

36

34

2

1991-92

35

32

3

1992-93

15

11

4

Total

130

117

13

Sources:




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