Playing on the right flank: Italian dictator Mussolini’s great-grandson signs for Lazio as budding star makes name for himself
The great-grandson of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini has signed for the youth ranks of Rome giants Lazio after impressing as a right-back.
Romano Floriani Mussolini, 18, has officially joined the Italian club’s under-19 team after putting in several promising performances in his position on the flank.
Romano Mussolini, bisnieto de Benito, juega en la cantera de la Lazio. Acaba de cumplir los 18 años y juega de lateral:🗣 "En la Lazio me juzgan solo por mi forma de jugar, no por mi apellido. Espero hacer mi debut pronto en el Primavera". pic.twitter.com/DAnipqmWXu— Soy Calcio (@SoyCalcio_) February 3, 2021
Despite his family background, Romano has been described as “humble” by Lazio youth team manager Mauro Bianchessi.
“He’s a humble boy who’s never complained, not even when he didn’t play for two years," the coach said.
“I like him. He’s not a seasoned player yet, but he looks promising. The burdensome surname? I’ve never spoken to his parents, and the only thing that matters is whether a player deserves to play. Nothing else.”
Romano is finishing his final year at the St George British School in Rome, and beyond that will see whether his budding football career can lead him to the Lazio first team and appearances in Serie A, one of the sport’s grandest stages.
However, according to national newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, Romano – who counts ‘Benito’ as among his second names – could find his surname a burden.
“For S.S. Lazio, the name Mussolini is a heavy burden to bear,” the paper wrote, adding that “it’s just a matter of time before someone starts exalting the Duce.”
Romano is the son of former European MP Alessandra Mussolini and is making his way in a club which has been strongly associated with a far-right fanbase down the years.
“I have nothing to comment on,” the mother of the 6ft 1in footballer is reported as telling the local media.
“It’s something I prefer to stay out of. My son wants no sort of meddling in his private life or choices.”
Lazio’s infamous ‘Irriducibili’ hardcore fan group disbanded in 2020 after 33 years, with a statement citing “too much blood, too many banning orders, too many arrests.”
“There is a time for everything, so the curtain closes sooner or later even on those fantastic, glorious stories,” the group added.Also on rt.com ‘I don’t give a damn’ - Italian fans sing fascist chant during Anne Frank diary readings
Incidents involving Lazio fans include a 2017 episode when stickers featuring Anne Frank in the jersey of bitter rivals AS Roma were put up in the city along with anti-Semitic slogans.
In 2019, the club issued ban and letters demanding a total of €50,000 in damages be paid by fans found to have made fascist salutes which earned the club a partial stadium ban in the Europa League.Also on rt.com ‘Charges will be brought’: Lazio demand fans pay for racist behavior