Christian “Bobo” Vieri is an Italian former professional footballer who played as a centre forward. Vieri was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living footballers selected by Pelé as a part of FIFA’s centenary celebrations. A prolific goalscorer, for a number of years, he was regarded as one of the best strikers in Europe, leading to him becoming the world’s most expensive player in 1999 when Internazionale paid Lazio £32 million (€43 million) for his services. Something of a footballing nomad, Vieri played for no fewer than 12 clubs throughout his career, mainly in Italy, but also in Spain and France. He started his career with Torino in 1991, but his most notable and successful spells were those at Juventus, Atlético Madrid, Lazio and Inter, clubs with which he won several honours. As well as picking up several winners medals during his career, Vieri also claimed many individual awards including the Pichichi Trophy and Capocannoniere awards for the league’s top scorer in Spain and Italy respectively, and the Serie A Italian Footballer of the Year twice. At international level, Vieri scored 23 goals in 49 appearances for Italy between 1997 and 2005, and is the joint ninth-highest goalscorer for his national team, alongside Francesco Graziani. He is also Italy’s highest ever goalscorer in the FIFA World Cup, along with Roberto Baggio and Paolo Rossi, with a combined nine goals from nine matches at the 1998 and 2002 editions of the tournament; he also took part at Euro 2004.
After three seasons in Serie B, Vieri returned to Serie A for the 1995–96 season, when he joined Atalanta, scoring 9 goals in 21 appearances. His first big move came about when he was spotted by Juventus who signed him from Atalanta for a fee of €2.5 million for the 1996–97 season
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Vieri first big move came about when he was spotted by Juventus who signed him from Atalanta for a fee of €2.5 million for the 1996–97 season. He made 23 appearances and scored 8 goals in Serie A, and six goals in ten matches in Europe, making him joint top scorer for Juventus that season along with Alen Bokšić. He ended his season at Juve by winning the ‘Scudetto and starting in the 3–1 UEFA Champions League final loss to Borussia Dortmund.
Vieri was a complete, quick, prolific and opportunistic striker, with a keen eye for goal. Due to his notable goal-scoring prowess, Vieri is regarded by pundits as one of the greatest Italian strikers of all time and one of the top strikers of his generation. In his prime, his unique and direct offensive style of play, which blended power with pace and a solid technique, led him to be compared to Luigi Riva and Roberto Boninsegna, as well as earning him the nickname of “Il Toro” (“The Bull”). Despite his goalscoring ability, he was also injury prone throughout his career, however, which greatly affected his pace, fitness and mobility in later years. Vieri was predominantly left-footed, although he was capable of scoring with both feet, as well as with his head, and from volleys. He has often been described as a large, old fashioned centre forward, due to his powerful physical presence and outstanding aerial ability; he is the all-time top scorer of headed goals in Italian league history. Despite being primarily a goal-scoring striker, he was also capable of providing assists to teammates, which was aided by his ability to use his strength to hold up the ball and play with his back to goal in order to participate in the build-up of attacking plays. Although he was primarily a goal-area threat, Vieri had an accurate and powerful shot from distance as well as inside the area; he was also an accurate penalty taker.
At Inter, Vieri formed a potentially dangerous partnership with Ronaldo up front, but because of injuries to both players, they were not able to play together often. He was impressive in his first couple of seasons, but constant managerial changes meant that Inter could not challenge for the Scudetto. It was under disciplined Argentinian coach Héctor Cúper, that Vieri and Inter really began to flourish and challenge for honours. Vieri was made the focal point of the attack and scored 22 goals in 25 games in the 2001–02 season as Inter narrowly missed out on the title after their last-day defeat to Lazio.
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Vieri is of Italian and French descent as his mother Nathalie was born and raised in Paris. His father, Roberto, was also a footballer, who played both in Italy and Australia. Christian Vieri’s personal life has been subject to much media attention in Italy. He has been involved in many high-profile relationships, including those with models Elisabetta Canalis, Elena Santarelli, Debora Salvalaggio, Fernanda Lessa, Melissa Satta and Jazzma Kendrick, among others. Vieri has his own fashion label – Sweet Years – which he runs with friend and former Italy and Milan teammate Paolo Maldini. The pair also own a number of restaurants in the city of Milan. He also started another clothing brand (Baci & Abbracci) with close friend and footballer Cristian Brocchi and model Alena Šeredová. Lately he wrote his biography called “Chiamatemi Bomber” (Call me Bomber) full of secrets and Bobo’s funny episodes of his private life.
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In the 2002-2003 season Vieri was Serie A Capocannoniere after scoring 24 goals in 23 appearances. In addition, he scored three goals in Inter’s Champions League campaign and formed a potent partnership with Hernán Crespo. He scored both of Inter’s goals in the quarter-final victory over Valencia. Vieri was injured during the second leg of this game and therefore played no part in the semi-final defeat to city rivals Milan.
In July 2005 Vieri joined Milan A.C. Vieri and Inter came to a mutual agreement to terminate his contract with the club. He was then signed by cross-town rivals Milan, but left the Rossoneri – where he was not a regular starter – after just six months, joining French side Monaco in order to play regularly and gain a place in Italy’s squad for the 2006 World Cup. However, he suffered a serious knee injury while playing for Monaco in 2006, which required extensive surgery and ruled out the possibility of playing in his third consecutive FIFA World Cup.
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Italy played Vieri as a lone striker in the 2002 World Cup, scoring an impressive four goals in four games. He managed a brace in the opening game against Ecuador and scored Italy’s only goal in the 2–1 defeat to Croatia despite having a previous goal incorrectly ruled out for offside. In the round of 16 match against South Korea, he opened the scoring in the 18th minute, scoring a powerful header from a Francesco Totti corner. Italy led the game until the Koreans equalised two minutes before the end. Just one minute after the Korean equaliser, Vieri missed an open goal which would have put Italy in front. Italy were eventually eliminated by South Korea by a golden goal. The only game in which he failed to find the net was against Mexico in a 1–1 draw