Monday Nov 20, 2017  
     
 
  03/05/2011: Stefano Fiore
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Fiore was born on 17 April 1975 in Cosenza, Italy. With his hometown club Cosenza he started his career in 1992. He played only 11 games and scored 1 goal before he moved  to Parma in 1994. His limited playing time with the Gialloblu forced him to move to Padova for the following season, where he scored 1 goal in 24 games. In the 1996-97 season, Fiore moved to Chievo, where his performance was impressive, notching up 2 goals and plenty of assists on his 38 games appearances. This prompted his former club, Parma, to re-sign the midfielder in 1997. For the next 2 seasons the Gialloblu left Fiore mainly on the bench, yet when he was given a chance he looked far more impressive than the aging Dino Baggio.
 
In June 1999 he moved to Udinese, originally a cash plus player deal which Parma would get Stephen Appiah and Márcio Amoroso, for a combined of 90 billion lire transfer fees to Udinese. Fiore priced 15 billion and the rest is in cash.
 
His career improved during the season. In Udinese he scored 9 goals in 33 appearances. His fine form earned him a call to the national side for Euro 2000 at the expense of Dino Baggio, the man who had kept him out of the Parma team for so long. He had a very successful tournament and scored what many regard as the goal of the tournament in the 2-0 victory over Belgium. His fine form continued and he scored 9 goals in 34 games in 2000-01 season.

Fiore with SS Lazio
 
Fiore moved to Lazio in June 2001 along with teammate, Giuliano Giannichedda, for a deal over 80 billion Italian lire. Lazio has spent a lot of transfer budget that season, after earning big revenue from the selling of midfielder Juan Sebastián Verón and Pavel Nedvěd. Besides, Lazio also sold Marcelo Salas to Juventus for cash and Darko Kovačević. Sergio Cragnotti’s spending also captured Jaap Stam to compensate part of the Verón's transfer fees, and signed Gaizka Mendieta from Valencia.
 
Fiore could not find his best form for the Biancocelesti as coach, Alberto Zaccheroni, persisted in playing him as left midfielder. This resulted in Fiore losing his place in the National Team for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan.
 
However, Zaccheroni was dismissed in 2002, and Fiore began to improve with a new coach, Roberto Mancini. Fiore seemed more at ease playing in the centre of midfield and guided Lazio to 4th place in Serie A, thus earning them a place in the following UEFA Champions League season. Fiore was in good form for Lazio the following season, despite the loss of several key players in the summer (and then Dejan Stanković in January 2004) Lazio won the 2003–04 Coppa Italia, in which Fiore was an inspirational player. I could say he won the Coppa Italia, as he was scoring twice against Juventus.

His impressive showings earned him a place on the national side for Euro 2004. However, Fiore was used sparingly by coach Giovanni Trapattoni, who preferred to play the Argentine born winger, Mauro Camoranesi. When he did start, the Azzurri looked a lot more creative, with Fiore nearly scoring from a spectacular volley against Bulgaria in the final group game. Despite the Azzurri winning this match, the damage was done in the 2 previous group games, and Italy exited the tournament early.

He was fast, skilfull and his long shots were threatening most of the time. With Lazio, Fiore has played in 95 games and he scored 17 goals. Most of it are beautiful goals.

Due to the financial problems that Lazio were suffering, Fiore, along with Bernardo Corradi, were offloaded to Spanish outfit, Valencia, where he joined with the Italian coach Claudio Ranieri, signing a 3+1 years contract. Corradi was priced €10M and Fiore for €6.6M and was to compensate the unpaid €16.6M Gaizka Mendieta's remained transfer fees.

Grazie Stefano.

(Ali Alkatiri)
 
 
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