Ex-Gers in Italy and Italian Nightmare

Last updated : 15 October 2002 By Grandmaster Suck

We'll catch up with the news on four ex-Rangers' players later. First there is the game at the San Paolo to discuss.

Italy 1 Yugoslavia 1

The start of something good? Pirlo's performance was excellent, reflecting his play for Milan, but great football from Trapattoni's side remains a dream. In fact, what we are watching is a nightmare. This particular nightmare came in the shape of Yugoslavia, Mijatovic in particular. The 1-1 draw in Napoli could put qualification for Portugal in doubt, it certainly casts question marks over Trapattoni's future. Add this to the World Cup fiasco and he is running out of time. The game started badly and gradually got worse. Trap started with an attacking line up which unfortunately had Doni playing behind the front two.

This guy is an out and out dud. He was the worst player on the park, Trap could have played Del Piero in his position and started Montella and Inzaghi, which is what happened in the second half. Trap's intentions were good but the results were awful. A terrible blunder by Nesta allowed Mijatovic to score.
He tried to protect the ball and let it run out for a bye kick but was outwitted by Mijatovic. Buffon wasn't too clever here either. Anyway, Del Piero equalised with a deflected free-kick 10 minutes later. The highlight of the second half was a miracle save by Buffon, perhaps San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples helped out. This draw satisfies no-one and makes Wednesday's game in Cardiff vital. The Welsh are on a great run but if Italy don't beat them Trap should go. Certainly, he lost key players to injury but the Yugoslavs aren't a great side and neither are Wales.

Eriksson to replace Trap? Heresy in Italy to have a foreigner in charge of the azzurri but who knows?

The team was:

Panucci Nesta Cannavaro Zauri
Pirlo Gattuso Tommasi
Inzaghi Del Piero

Subs used: Montalla (Doni) Ambrosini (Pirlo) Oddo (Zauri)

Ex-Gers in Italy

I think we should look at them in order of success. No need to mention Gattuso, one of an excellent Milan team's first picks and a regular Italian international. How we miss him at Ibrox. Luigi Riccio, now 24, was a useful left-back but has now graduated to midfield. When he left Rangers, he had spells at Beveren, Pistoiese, Ternana and a few months at Ancona. He had offers to play in A but refused them but has now accepted and is playing with Piacenza. He has played in all the league games this season and I'll be keeping an eye on his progress as he has the potential to move onto a bigger team.

Sergio Porrini, despite saying he would stop playing when he left Ibrox, is playing for Unione Sportiva Calcio Alessandria. The small team from Piedmont, in the north-west of Italy, play in Serie C2a. Now 34 years old, Sergio made 23 appearances last season but has yet to play this term. I'll always have fond memories of Porrini. he played in a great Juve team and was an essential part of our 98/99 treble team. He always gave everything and was an example to his team-mates. The fact that some fans gave him a hard-time towards the end of his Rangers career was a disgrace and I hope the guilty parties are thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Last, and certainly least, Marco Negri. He played for Cagliari in Serie B last season, grabbing two goals in four games, proving that the 32 year old marksman still has the ability to put the ball in the net. He was released at the end of the season and was last heard of playing and training with the Disoccupati, a team which consists of unemployed footballers. We'll all have to wonder, was it just the squash accident or was there more to Negri's fall from grace. Certainly, we missed his contribution during the abortive final push for the elusive 10th successive title.

Good luck to Italy in Cardiff on Wednesday and let's hope that Gattuso and Riccio continue to prosper in Serie A.