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Paolo Di Canio[]

Paolo Di Canio (born July 9, 1968 in Rome) was a gifted goal scorer, a volatile tormentor of referees and a massive fascist.

Gifted goal scorer[]

On his day, Di Canio was a breathtaking footballer and he made his career by scoring lots of great goals for teams that weren’t that good.

After failing to light up Serie A, Paolo truly flourished at Celtic where he netted 15 goals in 37 games.

This was an impressive feat, although diminished slightly by the fact that pudgy Welsh monstrosity John Hartson regularly netted 30 goals a season in the SPL and that anyone with a pair of shin-pads can get a regular game for the likes of Motherwell.

More impressively, Di Canio fired his way into the hearts of the fans at Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham.

Amongst his memorable strikes was the Match of the Day Goal of the Season for 2000 scored for West Ham against Wimbledon – a jumping volley so good that the Dons relocated to Milton Keynes as a sign of respect.[1]

Tormentor of referees[]

When he didn’t score, Di Canio was usually sent off. Like many great players, including Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira and Francis Jeffers, the fiery Roman was hampered by being a bit of a cock.

Amongst his long list of red cards, Di Canio’s masterpiece came while wearing the Sheffield Wednesday shirt against Arsenal on September 26, 1998. Having been sent off for a spat with Martin Keown, Di Canio pushed referee Paul Alcock, who collapsed like a house of cards.

Di Canio was banned for 11 games and fined £10,000 - £1 for each yard Alcock stumbled in his theatrical collapse. Alcock considered legal advice after the game, claiming he was stressed by the incident, but was advised not to be such a dick.[2]


Strangely, Di Canio was the protagonist in a phenomena display of sportsmanship while playing for West Ham against Everton.

Everton ‘keeper Paul Gerrard was lying injured and Di Canio opted to catch the ball from a cross rather than scoring in the empty net.

Although he won a FIFA Fair Play Award, the Italian marksman was jeered mercilessly by sections of Everton’s support who thought he had caught the ball by mistake.

Massive fascist[]

Di Canio was a huge fan of Rome’s second best side Lazio and spent the first and last meaningful years of his career there. He enjoyed a very close relationship with the Ultras largely because of his love of unpopular ideology fascism.

Paolo often greeted the fans with a Roman salute, uncommon since the days of disappointing dictator Benito Mussolini, which landed him in trouble with those who had spent the last 20 years trying to distance Lazio from fascism.

One man who didn’t approve of Di Canio’s antics was goggle-eyed basket case Claudio Lotito – the club’s President. The stormy relationship between the two lunatics would eventually end acrimoniously.

Italian Prime Minister, Milan lover and scourge of modern-day Italy Silvio Berlusconi sided with Di Canio, labelling him: ‘a good lad but a bit of a show-off.’

Di Canio retired in 2008 after accidentally spending a year at Serie C side Cisco Roma in the belief he was still playing for Lazio.