Tempers will surely flare this Sunday when Everton and Liverpool clash at Goodison Park, and it is something that this week’s Where are they now? candidate knows all about.
Alessandro Pistone took to the field in seven Merseyside Derbies during his time that the Toffees, though with just one win in that period it’s perhaps one the blue half of the city would rather forget.
Arriving in the north-west for £3m from Newcastle, Pistone was still failing to show the type of consistency that saw him handed the first choice left-back spot at Inter Milan at Roberto Carlos’ expense.
His spell at the club wasn’t a straightforward success. While he achieved cult status to some extent, a combination of injury woes and calamitous displays somewhat tarnished his time at Goodison.
Retiring in 2008, the Italian swapped the ferocious atmosphere of a battle between Everton and Liverpool for a far more controlled and calm environment.
After discarding with his shin pads, Pistone went to work on his poker face, as he took his spot on the Italian circuit at semi-pro level.
A number of competitions in 2009 and 2010 saw the former defender launch himself up to the dizzying heights of 3,778th on the all-time Italian Poker money list.
While the lowly rank may attract a snigger, it is worth remembering Pistone wasn’t a regular at the tables.
He did however win a VIP tournament in December 2009, landing a €2,000 prize for cancer charity ANT Foundation Italy at the expense of a number of other Italian personalities.
These days though, instead of going about his business sat at a table, he is putting food on it.
Taking over the running of Farinami in central Milan, a return to his home city has seen Pistone immerse himself in local specialities.
Celebrating the region’s preferred fayre, his eatery specialises in the dish of Piadina.
Essentially a sandwich-cum-wrap made with flat-bread locals of the Emilia-Romagna region of the country love nothing more than tucking into the favoured lunch-time treat.
From burgers to salmon to mozzarella there isn’t much that you can’t have stuffed into the doughy delight at the cafe a short walk from Milan Centrale station.
A photo posted by Farinami (@farinamipisani) on
Pistone hasn’t completely washed his hands of the beautiful game though.
In September 2013, he returned to the first place he kicked a Premier League football, St James’ Park, to take part in goalkeeper Steve Harper’s testimonial game.
And it seems his quality on the pitch has improved over time, according to these tweets…
I’m sure Alessandro Pistone wasn’t that good 15 years ago
— JB (@JDB92_) September 11, 2013
While the men in charge at Newcastle and Everton may have been tempted to take a punt on him in his latter years based on his performance in the game, Pistone is a man more focused on clean plates than clean sheets these days.
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