Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Bald Eagle

Attilio Lombardo. World class. The best player to have ever pulled on a Palace shirt.

A bold statement perhaps, but just take a moment to consider what is being said here. Think back to the day when Palace first announced the signing of our new number 7, Attillio Lombardo. Here is my argument in an effort to support the opening line.

It was Sampdoria where Attilio made his name. He played over 200 times for them scoring 34 goals in a spell that lastest six seasons. He played alongside the likes of Pagliuca, Mancini and Vialli that had plenty of success both in domestic and European competition. He followed Vialli to the then Italian champions Juventus but in hindsight it was not the best move for him. He only made 35 appearances for them in two seasons and scored just 2 goals. But he had some competition for places with Conte and Deschamps vying for the same role. It was not all doom and gloom though as he picked up plenty of medals in his short spell including Serie A and Champions League successes.

Juventus decided to release Lombardo and while I followed Italian football at the time, I never even considered that Palace would be interested in his services. But we were and I was bowled over when the signing was announced that newly promoted Palace had completed the signing. He was already a star but he lit up Selhurst Park with some simply stunning displays. He proved that he was world class. Often a step ahead of his team mates but his experience counted for a lot which gave him the intelligence to bring other players into a game. The goal that he scored at St James Park against Newcastle United will stay in my memory for some time. That was one of his eight goals in the red and blue.

He made just over 40 appearances for Palace. He would have made more if it wasn't for injury and eventually having to let him go just before the ill fated trip through administration. He was an Italian international who ended up being selected for his country again while with Palace because of his dazzling displays. He ended up with 19 caps for the 'azzuri' and had the quality of which I never expected to ever see at Selhurst. He was just a worldwide footballing name and I still have hairs on the back of my neck hearing his name and thinking back to hearing the news of his signing. He did not disappoint, if only there could have been more. But I for one am grateful that he graced us with his presence. It was simply magical.

After leaving Palace in 1999, Attillio went on to play for Lazio before returning to Sampdoria. He was a coach at Manchester City last until he followed Mancini out of the club. He is one of the few players to have won the Serie A title with three different clubs.

No comments:

Post a Comment