on 31 March 2016
An incredible story, wonderfully told by Mario Risoli. Many of us know someone who had the raw talent, but not the attitude to make it as a player. In the case of Giorgio Chinaglia - his attitude as a youngster was absolutely shocking. Somehow, though, fate ensured he not only made it, but made it into the big time. This follows his journey and ego from the humblest of football beginnings in Swansea (when they were minnows) to Serie A super-stardom. There are some great anecdotes and his frosty relationship with Pele at Cosmos says a lot about this truculent character, who also played a starring role in the acclaimed film/documentary on Cosmos 'Once In A Lifetime'. Chinaglia died in 2012, but his story is well worth reading. One of the best football biographies I've read.
on 1 January 2001
The book charts the life of Giorgio Chinaglia, born in Carrera, brought up in Cardiff, and eventually made famous in Rome.
In the true spirit of Swansea-Cardiff rivalry I bought the book hoping to laugh myself stupid at the Jacks letting slip a world class player through their fingers, but in true Cardiff City fashion, to be mirrored later in the case of Dean Saunders, it turns out that he Chinaglia was rejected by Cardiff long before he was given the boot by the Swans.
The author is sympathetic to Chinaglia, but the overiding impression that I took from the book was that of a boy who wanted for nothing whilst growing up who turned into a self-centered petulent egoist as an adult.
The author draws mainly on interviews with Chinaglias contempories at Swansea, Lazio, the Italian national side and New York Cosmos, who are all polarised into pro and anti camps, although even his supporters acknowledge his selfishness; there is rarely a middle ground.
If you enjoy sport in South Wales you will probably enjoy it. It's a good but not a great read.